Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 35 (NeurIPS 2022) Main Conference Track
Muhammad Ferjad Naeem, Yongqin Xian, Luc V Gool, Federico Tombari
Despite the tremendous progress in zero-shot learning (ZSL), the majority of existing methods still rely on human-annotated attributes, which are difficult to annotate and scale. An unsupervised alternative is to represent each class using the word embedding associated with its semantic class name. However, word embeddings extracted from pre-trained language models do not necessarily capture visual similarities, resulting in poor zero-shot performance. In this work, we argue that online textual documents e.g., Wikipedia, contain rich visual descriptions about object classes, therefore can be used as powerful unsupervised side information for ZSL. To this end, we propose I2DFormer, a novel transformer-based ZSL framework that jointly learns to encode images and documents by aligning both modalities in a shared embedding space. In order to distill discriminative visual words from noisy documents, we introduce a new cross-modal attention module that learns fine-grained interactions between image patches and document words. Consequently, our I2DFormer not only learns highly discriminative document embeddings that capture visual similarities but also gains the ability to localize visually relevant words in image regions. Quantitatively, we demonstrate that our I2DFormer significantly outperforms previous unsupervised semantic embeddings under both zero-shot and generalized zero-shot learning settings on three public datasets. Qualitatively, we show that our method leads to highly interpretable results where document words can be grounded in the image regions.