Recently, Visual Question Answering (VQA) has emerged as one of the most significant tasks in multimodal learning as it requires understanding both visual and textual modalities. Existing methods mainly rely on extracting image and question features to learn their joint feature embedding via multimodal fusion or attention mechanism. Some recent studies utilize external VQA-independent models to detect candidate entities or attributes in images, which serve as semantic knowledge complementary to the VQA task. However, these candidate entities or attributes might be unrelated to the VQA task and have limited semantic capacities. To better utilize semantic knowledge in images, we propose a novel framework to learn visual relation facts for VQA. Specifically, we build up a Relation-VQA (R-VQA) dataset based on the Visual Genome dataset via a semantic similarity module, in which each data consists of an image, a corresponding question, a correct answer and a supporting relation fact. A well-defined relation detector is then adopted to predict visual question-related relation facts. We further propose a multi-step attention model composed of visual attention and semantic attention sequentially to extract related visual knowledge and semantic knowledge. We conduct comprehensive experiments on the two benchmark datasets, demonstrating that our model achieves state-of-the-art performance and verifying the benefit of considering visual relation facts.
Visual-semantic embedding enables various tasks such as image-text retrieval, image captioning, and visual question answering. The key to successful visual-semantic embedding is to express visual and textual data properly by accounting for their intricate relationship. While previous studies have achieved much advance by encoding the visual and textual data into a joint space where similar concepts are closely located, they often represent data by a single vector ignoring the presence of multiple important components in an image or text. Thus, in addition to the joint embedding space, we propose a novel multi-head self-attention network to capture various components of visual and textual data by attending to important parts in data. Our approach achieves the new state-of-the-art results in image-text retrieval tasks on MS-COCO and Flicker30K datasets. Through the visualization of the attention maps that capture distinct semantic components at multiple positions in the image and the text, we demonstrate that our method achieves an effective and interpretable visual-semantic joint space.
In order to answer semantically-complicated questions about an image, a Visual Question Answering (VQA) model needs to fully understand the visual scene in the image, especially the interactive dynamics between different objects. We propose a Relation-aware Graph Attention Network (ReGAT), which encodes each image into a graph and models multi-type inter-object relations via a graph attention mechanism, to learn question-adaptive relation representations. Two types of visual object relations are explored: (i) Explicit Relations that represent geometric positions and semantic interactions between objects; and (ii) Implicit Relations that capture the hidden dynamics between image regions. Experiments demonstrate that ReGAT outperforms prior state-of-the-art approaches on both VQA 2.0 and VQA-CP v2 datasets. We further show that ReGAT is compatible to existing VQA architectures, and can be used as a generic relation encoder to boost the model performance for VQA.
Visual question answering (VQA) demands simultaneous comprehension of both the image visual content and natural language questions. In some cases, the reasoning needs the help of common sense or general knowledge which usually appear in the form of text. Current methods jointly embed both the visual information and the textual feature into the same space. However, how to model the complex interactions between the two different modalities is not an easy task. In contrast to struggling on multimodal feature fusion, in this paper, we propose to unify all the input information by natural language so as to convert VQA into a machine reading comprehension problem. With this transformation, our method not only can tackle VQA datasets that focus on observation based questions, but can also be naturally extended to handle knowledge-based VQA which requires to explore large-scale external knowledge base. It is a step towards being able to exploit large volumes of text and natural language processing techniques to address VQA problem. Two types of models are proposed to deal with open-ended VQA and multiple-choice VQA respectively. We evaluate our models on three VQA benchmarks. The comparable performance with the state-of-the-art demonstrates the effectiveness of the proposed method.
It is always well believed that modeling relationships between objects would be helpful for representing and eventually describing an image. Nevertheless, there has not been evidence in support of the idea on image description generation. In this paper, we introduce a new design to explore the connections between objects for image captioning under the umbrella of attention-based encoder-decoder framework. Specifically, we present Graph Convolutional Networks plus Long Short-Term Memory (dubbed as GCN-LSTM) architecture that novelly integrates both semantic and spatial object relationships into image encoder. Technically, we build graphs over the detected objects in an image based on their spatial and semantic connections. The representations of each region proposed on objects are then refined by leveraging graph structure through GCN. With the learnt region-level features, our GCN-LSTM capitalizes on LSTM-based captioning framework with attention mechanism for sentence generation. Extensive experiments are conducted on COCO image captioning dataset, and superior results are reported when comparing to state-of-the-art approaches. More remarkably, GCN-LSTM increases CIDEr-D performance from 120.1% to 128.7% on COCO testing set.
Answering visual questions need acquire daily common knowledge and model the semantic connection among different parts in images, which is too difficult for VQA systems to learn from images with the only supervision from answers. Meanwhile, image captioning systems with beam search strategy tend to generate similar captions and fail to diversely describe images. To address the aforementioned issues, we present a system to have these two tasks compensate with each other, which is capable of jointly producing image captions and answering visual questions. In particular, we utilize question and image features to generate question-related captions and use the generated captions as additional features to provide new knowledge to the VQA system. For image captioning, our system attains more informative results in term of the relative improvements on VQA tasks as well as competitive results using automated metrics. Applying our system to the VQA tasks, our results on VQA v2 dataset achieve 65.8% using generated captions and 69.1% using annotated captions in validation set and 68.4% in the test-standard set. Further, an ensemble of 10 models results in 69.7% in the test-standard split.
Most existing works in visual question answering (VQA) are dedicated to improving the accuracy of predicted answers, while disregarding the explanations. We argue that the explanation for an answer is of the same or even more importance compared with the answer itself, since it makes the question and answering process more understandable and traceable. To this end, we propose a new task of VQA-E (VQA with Explanation), where the computational models are required to generate an explanation with the predicted answer. We first construct a new dataset, and then frame the VQA-E problem in a multi-task learning architecture. Our VQA-E dataset is automatically derived from the VQA v2 dataset by intelligently exploiting the available captions. We have conducted a user study to validate the quality of explanations synthesized by our method. We quantitatively show that the additional supervision from explanations can not only produce insightful textual sentences to justify the answers, but also improve the performance of answer prediction. Our model outperforms the state-of-the-art methods by a clear margin on the VQA v2 dataset.
We propose the inverse problem of Visual question answering (iVQA), and explore its suitability as a benchmark for visuo-linguistic understanding. The iVQA task is to generate a question that corresponds to a given image and answer pair. Since the answers are less informative than the questions, and the questions have less learnable bias, an iVQA model needs to better understand the image to be successful than a VQA model. We pose question generation as a multi-modal dynamic inference process and propose an iVQA model that can gradually adjust its focus of attention guided by both a partially generated question and the answer. For evaluation, apart from existing linguistic metrics, we propose a new ranking metric. This metric compares the ground truth question's rank among a list of distractors, which allows the drawbacks of different algorithms and sources of error to be studied. Experimental results show that our model can generate diverse, grammatically correct and content correlated questions that match the given answer.
We propose an architecture for VQA which utilizes recurrent layers to generate visual and textual attention. The memory characteristic of the proposed recurrent attention units offers a rich joint embedding of visual and textual features and enables the model to reason relations between several parts of the image and question. Our single model outperforms the first place winner on the VQA 1.0 dataset, performs within margin to the current state-of-the-art ensemble model. We also experiment with replacing attention mechanisms in other state-of-the-art models with our implementation and show increased accuracy. In both cases, our recurrent attention mechanism improves performance in tasks requiring sequential or relational reasoning on the VQA dataset.
Visual Question Answering (VQA) has attracted attention from both computer vision and natural language processing communities. Most existing approaches adopt the pipeline of representing an image via pre-trained CNNs, and then using the uninterpretable CNN features in conjunction with the question to predict the answer. Although such end-to-end models might report promising performance, they rarely provide any insight, apart from the answer, into the VQA process. In this work, we propose to break up the end-to-end VQA into two steps: explaining and reasoning, in an attempt towards a more explainable VQA by shedding light on the intermediate results between these two steps. To that end, we first extract attributes and generate descriptions as explanations for an image using pre-trained attribute detectors and image captioning models, respectively. Next, a reasoning module utilizes these explanations in place of the image to infer an answer to the question. The advantages of such a breakdown include: (1) the attributes and captions can reflect what the system extracts from the image, thus can provide some explanations for the predicted answer; (2) these intermediate results can help us identify the inabilities of both the image understanding part and the answer inference part when the predicted answer is wrong. We conduct extensive experiments on a popular VQA dataset and dissect all results according to several measurements of the explanation quality. Our system achieves comparable performance with the state-of-the-art, yet with added benefits of explainability and the inherent ability to further improve with higher quality explanations.
Neural network models recently proposed for question answering (QA) primarily focus on capturing the passage-question relation. However, they have minimal capability to link relevant facts distributed across multiple sentences which is crucial in achieving deeper understanding, such as performing multi-sentence reasoning, co-reference resolution, etc. They also do not explicitly focus on the question and answer type which often plays a critical role in QA. In this paper, we propose a novel end-to-end question-focused multi-factor attention network for answer extraction. Multi-factor attentive encoding using tensor-based transformation aggregates meaningful facts even when they are located in multiple sentences. To implicitly infer the answer type, we also propose a max-attentional question aggregation mechanism to encode a question vector based on the important words in a question. During prediction, we incorporate sequence-level encoding of the first wh-word and its immediately following word as an additional source of question type information. Our proposed model achieves significant improvements over the best prior state-of-the-art results on three large-scale challenging QA datasets, namely NewsQA, TriviaQA, and SearchQA.