Fine-grained Late-interaction Multi-modal Retrieval for Retrieval Augmented Visual Question Answering

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

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Weizhe Lin, Jinghong Chen, Jingbiao Mei, Alexandru Coca, Bill Byrne


Knowledge-based Visual Question Answering (KB-VQA) requires VQA systems to utilize knowledge from external knowledge bases to answer visually-grounded questions. Retrieval-Augmented Visual Question Answering (RA-VQA), a strong framework to tackle KB-VQA, first retrieves related documents with Dense Passage Retrieval (DPR) and then uses them to answer questions. This paper proposes Fine-grained Late-interaction Multi-modal Retrieval (FLMR) which significantly improves knowledge retrieval in RA-VQA. FLMR addresses two major limitations in RA-VQA's retriever: (1) the image representations obtained via image-to-text transforms can be incomplete and inaccurate and (2) similarity scores between queries and documents are computed with one-dimensional embeddings, which can be insensitive to finer-grained similarities.FLMR overcomes these limitations by obtaining image representations that complement those from the image-to-text transform using a vision model aligned with an existing text-based retriever through a simple alignment network. FLMR also encodes images and questions using multi-dimensional embeddings to capture finer-grained similarities between queries and documents. FLMR significantly improves the original RA-VQA retriever's PRRecall@5 by approximately 8\%. Finally, we equipped RA-VQA with two state-of-the-art large multi-modal/language models to achieve $\sim62$% VQA score in the OK-VQA dataset.