Bilinear classifiers for visual recognition

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 22 (NIPS 2009)

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Hamed Pirsiavash, Deva Ramanan, Charless Fowlkes


We describe an algorithm for learning bilinear SVMs. Bilinear classifiers are a discriminative variant of bilinear models, which capture the dependence of data on multiple factors. Such models are particularly appropriate for visual data that is better represented as a matrix or tensor, rather than a vector. Matrix encodings allow for more natural regularization through rank restriction. For example, a rank-one scanning-window classifier yields a separable filter. Low-rank models have fewer parameters and so are easier to regularize and faster to score at run-time. We learn low-rank models with bilinear classifiers. We also use bilinear classifiers for transfer learning by sharing linear factors between different classification tasks. Bilinear classifiers are trained with biconvex programs. Such programs are optimized with coordinate descent, where each coordinate step requires solving a convex program - in our case, we use a standard off-the-shelf SVM solver. We demonstrate bilinear SVMs on difficult problems of people detection in video sequences and action classification of video sequences, achieving state-of-the-art results in both.