Zero-Shot Learning Through Cross-Modal Transfer

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 26 (NIPS 2013)

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Richard Socher, Milind Ganjoo, Christopher D. Manning, Andrew Ng


This work introduces a model that can recognize objects in images even if no training data is available for the object class. The only necessary knowledge about unseen categories comes from unsupervised text corpora. Unlike previous zero-shot learning models, which can only differentiate between unseen classes, our model can operate on a mixture of objects, simultaneously obtaining state of the art performance on classes with thousands of training images and reasonable performance on unseen classes. This is achieved by seeing the distributions of words in texts as a semantic space for understanding what objects look like. Our deep learning model does not require any manually defined semantic or visual features for either words or images. Images are mapped to be close to semantic word vectors corresponding to their classes, and the resulting image embeddings can be used to distinguish whether an image is of a seen or unseen class. Then, a separate recognition model can be employed for each type. We demonstrate two strategies, the first gives high accuracy on unseen classes, while the second is conservative in its prediction of novelty and keeps the seen classes' accuracy high.