Multi-Object Representation Learning via Feature Connectivity and Object-Centric Regularization

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Alex Foo, Wynne Hsu, Mong Li Lee


Discovering object-centric representations from images has the potential to greatly improve the robustness, sample efficiency and interpretability of machine learning algorithms. Current works on multi-object images typically follow a generative approach that optimizes for input reconstruction and fail to scale to real-world datasets despite significant increases in model capacity. We address this limitation by proposing a novel method that leverages feature connectivity to cluster neighboring pixels likely to belong to the same object. We further design two object-centric regularization terms to refine object representations in the latent space, enabling our approach to scale to complex real-world images. Experimental results on simulated, real-world, complex texture and common object images demonstrate a substantial improvement in the quality of discovered objects compared to state-of-the-art methods, as well as the sample efficiency and generalizability of our approach. We also show that the discovered object-centric representations can accurately predict key object properties in downstream tasks, highlighting the potential of our method to advance the field of multi-object representation learning.