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On taxonomies for multi-class image categorization

: Binder, A.; Müller, K.-R.; Kawanabe, M.


International Journal of Computer Vision 99 (2012), No.3, pp.281-301
ISSN: 0920-5691
ISSN: 1573-1405
Journal Article
Fraunhofer FIRST ()

We study the problem of classifying images into a given, pre-determined taxonomy. This task can be elegantly translated into the structured learning framework. However, despite its power, structured learning has known limits in scalability due to its high memory requirements and slow training process. We propose an efficient approximation of the structured learning approach by an ensemble of local support vector machines (SVMs) that can be trained efficiently with standard techniques. A first theoretical discussion and experiments on toy-data allow to shed light onto why taxonomy-based classification can outperform taxonomy-free approaches and why an appropriately combined ensemble of local SVMs might be of high practical use. Further empirical results on subsets of Caltech256 and VOC2006 data indeed show that our local SVM formulation can effectively exploit the taxonomy structure and thus outperforms standard multi-class classification algorithms while it achieves on par results with taxonomy-based structured algorithms at a significantly decreased computing time.