Deep Ordinal Regression Forests

08/07/2020 ∙ by Haiping Zhu, et al. ∙ 28

Ordinal regression is a type of regression techniques used for predicting an ordinal variable. Recent methods formulate an ordinal regression problem as a series of binary classification problems. Such methods cannot ensure the global ordinal relationship is preserved since the relationships among different binary classifiers are neglected. We propose a novel ordinal regression approach called Deep Ordinal Regression Forests (DORFs), which is constructed with the differentiable decision trees for obtaining precise and stable global ordinal relationships. The advantages of the proposed DORFs are twofold. First, instead of learning a series of binary classifiers independently, the proposed method learns an ordinal distribution for ordinal regression. Second, the differentiable decision trees can be trained together with the ordinal distribution in an end-to-end manner. The effectiveness of the proposed DORFs is verified on two ordinal regression tasks, i.e., facial age estimation and image aesthetic assessment, showing significant improvements and better stability over the state-of-the-art ordinal regression methods.

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