Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 33 (NeurIPS 2020)
Yunhang Shen, Rongrong Ji, Zhiwei Chen, Yongjian Wu, Feiyue Huang
Weakly supervised object detection (WSOD) has attracted extensive research attention due to its great flexibility of exploiting large-scale dataset with only image-level annotations for detector training. Despite its great advance in recent years, WSOD still suffers limited performance, which is far below that of fully supervised object detection (FSOD). As most WSOD methods depend on object proposal algorithms to generate candidate regions and are also confronted with challenges like low-quality predicted bounding boxes and large scale variation. In this paper, we propose a unified WSOD framework, termed UWSOD, to develop a high-capacity general detection model with only image-level labels, which is self-contained and does not require external modules or additional supervision. To this end, we exploit three important components, i.e., object proposal generation, bounding-box fine-tuning and scale-invariant features. First, we propose an anchor-based self-supervised proposal generator to hypothesize object locations, which is trained end-to-end with supervision created by UWSOD for both objectness classification and regression. Second, we develop a step-wise bounding-box fine-tuning to refine both detection scores and coordinates by progressively select high-confidence object proposals as positive samples, which bootstraps the quality of predicted bounding boxes. Third, we construct a multi-rate resampling pyramid to aggregate multi-scale contextual information, which is the first in-network feature hierarchy to handle scale variation in WSOD. Extensive experiments on PASCAL VOC and MS COCO show that the proposed UWSOD achieves competitive results with the state-of-the-art WSOD methods while not requiring external modules or additional supervision. Moreover, the upper-bound performance of UWSOD with class-agnostic ground-truth bounding boxes approaches Faster R-CNN, which demonstrates UWSOD has fully-supervised-level capacity.