Joint Modeling of Visual Objects and Relations for Scene Graph Generation

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 (NeurIPS 2021)

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Minghao Xu, Meng Qu, Bingbing Ni, Jian Tang


An in-depth scene understanding usually requires recognizing all the objects and their relations in an image, encoded as a scene graph. Most existing approaches for scene graph generation first independently recognize each object and then predict their relations independently. Though these approaches are very efficient, they ignore the dependency between different objects as well as between their relations. In this paper, we propose a principled approach to jointly predict the entire scene graph by fully capturing the dependency between different objects and between their relations. Specifically, we establish a unified conditional random field (CRF) to model the joint distribution of all the objects and their relations in a scene graph. We carefully design the potential functions to enable relational reasoning among different objects according to knowledge graph embedding methods. We further propose an efficient and effective algorithm for inference based on mean-field variational inference, in which we first provide a warm initialization by independently predicting the objects and their relations according to the current model, followed by a few iterations of relational reasoning. Experimental results on both the relationship retrieval and zero-shot relationship retrieval tasks prove the efficiency and efficacy of our proposed approach.