Affiliations: Department of Engineering “Enzo Ferrari”, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia
Corresponding author: Marcella Cornia, Department of Engineering “Enzo Ferrari”, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. E-mail: [email protected].
Abstract: Estimating the focus of attention of a person looking at an image or a video is a crucial step which can enhance many vision-based inference mechanisms: image segmentation and annotation, video captioning, autonomous driving are some examples. The early stages of the attentive behavior are typically bottom-up; reproducing the same mechanism means to find the saliency embodied in the images, i.e. which parts of an image pop out of a visual scene. This process has been studied for decades both in neuroscience and in terms of computational models for reproducing the human cortical process. In the last few years, early models have been replaced by deep learning architectures, that outperform any early approach compared against public datasets. In this paper, we discuss the effectiveness of convolutional neural networks (CNNs) models in saliency prediction. We present a set of Deep Learning architectures developed by us, which can combine both bottom-up cues and higher-level semantics, and extract spatio-temporal features by means of 3D convolutions to model task-driven attentive behaviors. We will show how these deep networks closely recall the early saliency models, although improved with the semantics learned from the human ground-truth. Eventually, we will present a use-case in which saliency prediction is used to improve the automatic description of images.
Keywords: Saliency, Human Attention, Neuroscience, Vision, Deep Learning