The Application of Two-level Attention Models in Deep Convolutional Neural Network for Fine-grained Image Classification

Research paper by Tianjun Xiao, Yichong Xu, Kuiyuan Yang, Jiaxing Zhang, Yuxin Peng, Zheng Zhang

Indexed on: 24 Nov '14Published on: 24 Nov '14Published in: Computer Science - Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition


Fine-grained classification is challenging because categories can only be discriminated by subtle and local differences. Variances in the pose, scale or rotation usually make the problem more difficult. Most fine-grained classification systems follow the pipeline of finding foreground object or object parts (where) to extract discriminative features (what). In this paper, we propose to apply visual attention to fine-grained classification task using deep neural network. Our pipeline integrates three types of attention: the bottom-up attention that propose candidate patches, the object-level top-down attention that selects relevant patches to a certain object, and the part-level top-down attention that localizes discriminative parts. We combine these attentions to train domain-specific deep nets, then use it to improve both the what and where aspects. Importantly, we avoid using expensive annotations like bounding box or part information from end-to-end. The weak supervision constraint makes our work easier to generalize. We have verified the effectiveness of the method on the subsets of ILSVRC2012 dataset and CUB200_2011 dataset. Our pipeline delivered significant improvements and achieved the best accuracy under the weakest supervision condition. The performance is competitive against other methods that rely on additional annotations.