Transitivity Recovering Decompositions: Interpretable and Robust Fine-Grained Relationships

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

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ABHRA CHAUDHURI, Massimiliano Mancini, Zeynep Akata, Anjan Dutta


Recent advances in fine-grained representation learning leverage local-to-global (emergent) relationships for achieving state-of-the-art results. The relational representations relied upon by such methods, however, are abstract. We aim to deconstruct this abstraction by expressing them as interpretable graphs over image views. We begin by theoretically showing that abstract relational representations are nothing but a way of recovering transitive relationships among local views. Based on this, we design Transitivity Recovering Decompositions (TRD), a graph-space search algorithm that identifies interpretable equivalents of abstract emergent relationships at both instance and class levels, and with no post-hoc computations. We additionally show that TRD is provably robust to noisy views, with empirical evidence also supporting this finding. The latter allows TRD to perform at par or even better than the state-of-the-art, while being fully interpretable. Implementation is available at