Many-to-Many High Order Matching. Applications to Tracking and Object Segmentation

September 28, 2012 at 12:30 pm by

Place: Large Lecture Room
Feature matching is a fundamental problem in Computer Vision, having multiple applications such as tracking, image classification and retrieval, shape recognition and stereo fusion. In numerous domains, it is useful to represent the local structure of the matching features to increase the matching accuracy or to make the correspondence invariant to certain transformations (affine, homography, etc. . . ). However, encoding this knowledge requires complicating the model by establishing high-order relationships between the model elements, and therefore increasing the complexity of the optimization problem.


The importance of many-to-many matching is sometimes dismissed in the literature. Most methods are restricted to perform one-to-one matching, and are usually validated on synthetic, or non-realistic datasets. In a real challenging environment, with scale, pose and illumination variations of the object of interest, as well as the presence of occlusions, clutter, and noisy observations, many-to-many matching is necessary to achieve satisfactory results. As a consequence, finding the most likely many-to-many correspondence often involves a challenging combinatorial optimization process.


In this work, we design and demonstrate matching algorithms that compute many-to-many correspondences, applied to several challenging problems. Our goal is to make use of high-order representations to improve the expressive power of the matching, at the same time that we make feasible the process of inference or optimization of such models. We effectively use graphical models as our preferred representation because they provide an elegant probabilistic framework to tackle structured prediction problems.


We introduce a matching-based tracking algorithm which performs matching between frames of a video sequence in order to solve the difficult problem of headlight tracking at night-time. We also generalise this algorithm to solve the problem of data association applied to various tracking scenarios. We demonstrate the effectiveness of such approach in real video sequences and we show that our tracking algorithm can be used to improve the accuracy of a headlight classification system.


In the second part of this work, we move from single (point) matching to dense (region) matching and we introduce a new hierarchical image representation. We make use of such model to develop a high-order many-to-many matching between pairs of images. We show that the use of high-order models in comparison to simpler models improves not only the accuracy of the results, but also the convergence speed of the inference algorithm.


Finally, we keep exploiting the idea of region matching to design a fully unsupervised image co-segmentation algorithm that is able to perform competitively with state-of-the-art supervised methods. Our method also overcomes the typical drawbacks of some of the past works, such as avoiding the necessity of variate appearances on the image backgrounds. The region matching in this case is applied to effectively exploit inter-image information. We also extend this work to perform co-segmentation of videos, being the first time that such problem is addressed, as a way to perform video object segmentation.

Thesis Jose Carlos Rubio