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Title: Minimising human annotation for scalable person re-identification
Author: Wang, Hanxiao
Awarding Body: Queen Mary University of London
Current Institution: Queen Mary, University of London
Date of Award: 2017
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Among the diverse tasks performed by an intelligent distributed multi-camera surveillance system, person re-identification (re-id) is one of the most essential. Re-id refers to associating an individual or a group of people across non-overlapping cameras at different times and locations, and forms the foundation of a variety of applications ranging from security and forensic search to quotidian retail and health care. Though attracted rapidly increasing academic interests over the past decade, it still remains a non-trivial and unsolved problem for launching a practical reid system in real-world environments, due to the ambiguous and noisy feature of surveillance data and the potentially dramatic visual appearance changes caused by uncontrolled variations in human poses and divergent viewing conditions across distributed camera views. To mitigate such visual ambiguity and appearance variations, most existing re-id approaches rely on constructing fully supervised machine learning models with extensively labelled training datasets which is unscalable for practical applications in the real-world. Particularly, human annotators must exhaustively search over a vast quantity of offline collected data, manually label cross-view matched images of a large population between every possible camera pair. Nonetheless, having the prohibitively expensive human efforts dissipated, a trained re-id model is often not easily generalisable and transferable, due to the elastic and dynamic operating conditions of a surveillance system. With such motivations, this thesis proposes several scalable re-id approaches with significantly reduced human supervision, readily applied to practical applications. More specifically, this thesis has developed and investigated four new approaches for reducing human labelling effort in real-world re-id as follows: Chapter 3 The first approach is affinity mining from unlabelled data. Different from most existing supervised approaches, this work aims to model the discriminative information for reid without exploiting human annotations, but from the vast amount of unlabelled person image data, thus applicable to both semi-supervised and unsupervised re-id. It is non-trivial since the human annotated identity matching correspondence is often the key to discriminative re-id modelling. In this chapter, an alternative strategy is explored by specifically mining two types of affinity relationships among unlabelled data: (1) inter-view data affinity and (2) intra-view data affinity. In particular, with such affinity information encoded as constraints, a Regularised Kernel Subspace Learning model is developed to explicitly reduce inter-view appearance variations and meanwhile enhance intra-view appearance disparity for more discriminative re-id matching. Consequently, annotation costs can be immensely alleviated and a scalable re-id model is readily to be leveraged to plenty of unlabelled data which is inexpensive to collect. Chapter 4 The second approach is saliency discovery from unlabelled data. This chapter continues to investigate the problem of what can be learned in unlabelled images without identity labels annotated by human. Other than affinity mining as proposed by Chapter 3, a different solution is proposed. That is, to discover localised visual appearance saliency of person appearances. Intuitively, salient and atypical appearances of human are able to uniquely and representatively describe and identify an individual, whilst also often robust to view changes and detection variances. Motivated by this, an unsupervised Generative Topic Saliency model is proposed to jointly perform foreground extraction, saliency detection, as well as discriminative re-id matching. This approach completely avoids the exhaustive annotation effort for model training, and thus better scales to real-world applications. Moreover, its automatically discovered re-id saliency representations are shown to be semantically interpretable, suitable for generating useful visual analysis for deployable user-oriented software tools. Chapter 5 The third approach is incremental learning from actively labelled data. Since learning from unlabelled data alone yields less discriminative matching results, and in some cases there will be limited human labelling resources available for re-id modelling, this chapter thus investigate the problem of how to maximise a model's discriminative capability with minimised labelling efforts. The challenges are to (1) automatically select the most representative data from a vast number of noisy/ambiguous unlabelled data in order to maximise model discrimination capacity; and (2) incrementally update the model parameters to accelerate machine responses and reduce human waiting time. To that end, this thesis proposes a regression based re-id model, characterised by its very fast and efficient incremental model updates. Furthermore, an effective active data sampling algorithm with three novel joint exploration-exploitation criteria is designed, to make automatic data selection feasible with notably reduced human labelling costs. Such an approach ensures annotations to be spent only on very few data samples which are most critical to model's generalisation capability, instead of being exhausted by blindly labelling many noisy and redundant training samples. Chapter 6 The last technical area of this thesis is human-in-the-loop learning from relevance feedback. Whilst former chapters mainly investigate techniques to reduce human supervision for model training, this chapter motivates a novel research area to further minimise human efforts spent in the re-id deployment stage. In real-world applications where camera network and potential gallery size increases dramatically, even the state-of-the-art re-id models generate much inferior re-id performances and human involvements at deployment stage is inevitable. To minimise such human efforts and maximise re-id performance, this thesis explores an alternative approach to re-id by formulating a hybrid human-computer learning paradigm with humans in the model matching loop. Specifically, a Human Verification Incremental Learning model is formulated which does not require any pre-labelled training data, therefore scalable to new camera pairs; Moreover, the proposed model learns cumulatively from human feedback to provide an instant improvement to re-id ranking of each probe on-the-fly, thus scalable to large gallery sizes. It has been demonstrated that the proposed re-id model achieves significantly superior re-id results whilst only consumes much less human supervision effort. For facilitating a holistic understanding about this thesis, the main studies are summarised and framed into a graphical abstract.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Electronic Engineering and Computer Science ; person re-identification ; Surveillance systems ; machine learning