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Free-Form Region Description with Second-Order Pooling

Free-Form Region Description with Second-Order Pooling Semantic segmentation and object detection are nowadays dominated by methods operating on regions obtained as a result of a bottom-up grouping process (segmentation) but use feature extractors developed for recognition on fixed-form (e.g. rectangular) patches, with full images as a special case. This is most likely suboptimal. In this paper we focus on feature extraction and description over free-form regions and study the relationship with their fixed-form counterparts. Our main contributions are novel pooling techniques that capture the second-order statistics of local descriptors inside such free-form regions. We introduce second-order generalizations of average and max-pooling that together with appropriate non-linearities, derived from the mathematical structure of their embedding space, lead to state-of-the-art recognition performance in semantic segmentation experiments without any type of local feature coding. In contrast, we show that codebook-based local feature coding is more important when feature extraction is constrained to operate over regions that include both foreground and large portions of the background, as typical in image classification settings, whereas for high-accuracy localization setups, second-order pooling over free-form regions produces results superior to those of the winningsystems in the contemporary semantic segmentation challenges, with models that are much faster in both training and testing.

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