Object-Aware Cropping for Self-Supervised Learning

12/01/2021
by   Shlok Mishra, et al.
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A core component of the recent success of self-supervised learning is cropping data augmentation, which selects sub-regions of an image to be used as positive views in the self-supervised loss. The underlying assumption is that randomly cropped and resized regions of a given image share information about the objects of interest, which the learned representation will capture. This assumption is mostly satisfied in datasets such as ImageNet where there is a large, centered object, which is highly likely to be present in random crops of the full image. However, in other datasets such as OpenImages or COCO, which are more representative of real world uncurated data, there are typically multiple small objects in an image. In this work, we show that self-supervised learning based on the usual random cropping performs poorly on such datasets. We propose replacing one or both of the random crops with crops obtained from an object proposal algorithm. This encourages the model to learn both object and scene level semantic representations. Using this approach, which we call object-aware cropping, results in significant improvements over scene cropping on classification and object detection benchmarks. For example, on OpenImages, our approach achieves an improvement of 8.8 cropping using MoCo-v2 based pre-training. We also show significant improvements on COCO and PASCAL-VOC object detection and segmentation tasks over the state-of-the-art self-supervised learning approaches. Our approach is efficient, simple and general, and can be used in most existing contrastive and non-contrastive self-supervised learning frameworks.

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