Equivariant Networks for Hierarchical Structures

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 33 (NeurIPS 2020)

AuthorFeedback »Bibtex »MetaReview »Paper »Review »Supplemental »


Renhao Wang, Marjan Albooyeh, Siamak Ravanbakhsh


While using invariant and equivariant maps, it is possible to apply deep learning to a range of primitive data structures, a formalism for dealing with hierarchy is lacking. This is a significant issue because many practical structures are hierarchies of simple building blocks; some examples include sequences of sets, graphs of graphs, or multiresolution images. Observing that the symmetry of a hierarchical structure is the ``wreath product'' of symmetries of the building blocks, we express the equivariant map for the hierarchy using an intuitive combination of the equivariant linear layers of the building blocks. More generally, we show that any equivariant map for the hierarchy has this form. To demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach to model design, we consider its application in the semantic segmentation of point-cloud data. By voxelizing the point cloud, we impose a hierarchy of translation and permutation symmetries on the data and report state-of-the-art on {semantic3d}, {s3dis}, and {vkitti}, that include some of the largest real-world point-cloud benchmarks.