Synthetic Petri Dish: A Novel Surrogate Model for Rapid Architecture Search
Abstract: Neural Architecture Search (NAS) explores a large space of architectural motifs -- a compute-intensive process that often involves ground-truth evaluation of each motif by instantiating it within a large network, and training and evaluating the network with thousands of domain-specific data samples. Inspired by how biological motifs such as cells are sometimes extracted from their natural environment and studied in an artificial Petri dish setting, this paper proposes the Synthetic Petri Dish model for evaluating architectural motifs. In the Synthetic Petri Dish, architectural motifs are instantiated in very small networks and evaluated using very few learned synthetic data samples (to effectively approximate performance in the full problem). The relative performance of motifs in the Synthetic Petri Dish can substitute for their ground-truth performance, thus accelerating the most expensive step of NAS. Unlike other neural network-based prediction models that parse the structure of the motif to estimate its performance, the Synthetic Petri Dish predicts motif performance by training the actual motif in an artificial setting, thus deriving predictions from its true intrinsic properties. Experiments in this paper demonstrate that the Synthetic Petri Dish can therefore predict the performance of new motifs with significantly higher accuracy, especially when insufficient ground truth data is available. Our hope is that this work can inspire a new research direction in studying the performance of extracted components of models in an alternative controlled setting.
Super-BPD: Super Boundary-to-Pixel Direction for Fast Image Segmentation
Abstract: Image segmentation is a fundamental vision task and a crucial step for many applications. In this paper, we propose a fast image segmentation method based on a novel super boundary-to-pixel direction (super-BPD) and a customized segmentation algorithm with super-BPD. Precisely, we define BPD on each pixel as a two-dimensional unit vector pointing from its nearest boundary to the pixel. In the BPD, nearby pixels from different regions have opposite directions departing from each other, and adjacent pixels in the same region have directions pointing to the other or each other (i.e., around medial points). We make use of such property to partition an image into super-BPDs, which are novel informative superpixels with robust direction similarity for fast grouping into segmentation regions. Extensive experimental results on BSDS500 and Pascal Context demonstrate the accuracy and efficiency of the proposed super-BPD in segmenting images. In practice, the proposed super-BPD achieves comparable or superior performance with MCG while running at ~25fps vs. 0.07fps. Super-BPD also exhibits a noteworthy transferability to unseen scenes. The code is publicly available at this https URL.