Improved Deep Metric Learning with Multi-class N-pair Loss Objective

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 29 (NIPS 2016)

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Kihyuk Sohn


Deep metric learning has gained much popularity in recent years, following the success of deep learning. However, existing frameworks of deep metric learning based on contrastive loss and triplet loss often suffer from slow convergence, partially because they employ only one negative example while not interacting with the other negative classes in each update. In this paper, we propose to address this problem with a new metric learning objective called multi-class N-pair loss. The proposed objective function firstly generalizes triplet loss by allowing joint comparison among more than one negative examples – more specifically, N-1 negative examples – and secondly reduces the computational burden of evaluating deep embedding vectors via an efficient batch construction strategy using only N pairs of examples, instead of (N+1)×N. We demonstrate the superiority of our proposed loss to the triplet loss as well as other competing loss functions for a variety of tasks on several visual recognition benchmark, including fine-grained object recognition and verification, image clustering and retrieval, and face verification and identification.