Piyush Sharma


2021

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CrossVQA: Scalably Generating Benchmarks for Systematically Testing VQA Generalization
Arjun Akula | Soravit Changpinyo | Boqing Gong | Piyush Sharma | Song-Chun Zhu | Radu Soricut
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

One challenge in evaluating visual question answering (VQA) models in the cross-dataset adaptation setting is that the distribution shifts are multi-modal, making it difficult to identify if it is the shifts in visual or language features that play a key role. In this paper, we propose a semi-automatic framework for generating disentangled shifts by introducing a controllable visual question-answer generation (VQAG) module that is capable of generating highly-relevant and diverse question-answer pairs with the desired dataset style. We use it to create CrossVQA, a collection of test splits for assessing VQA generalization based on the VQA2, VizWiz, and Open Images datasets. We provide an analysis of our generated datasets and demonstrate its utility by using them to evaluate several state-of-the-art VQA systems. One important finding is that the visual shifts in cross-dataset VQA matter more than the language shifts. More broadly, we present a scalable framework for systematically evaluating the machine with little human intervention.

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COSMic: A Coherence-Aware Generation Metric for Image Descriptions
Mert Inan | Piyush Sharma | Baber Khalid | Radu Soricut | Matthew Stone | Malihe Alikhani
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

Developers of text generation models rely on automated evaluation metrics as a stand-in for slow and expensive manual evaluations. However, image captioning metrics have struggled to give accurate learned estimates of the semantic and pragmatic success of output text. We address this weakness by introducing the first discourse-aware learned generation metric for evaluating image descriptions. Our approach is inspired by computational theories of discourse for capturing information goals using coherence. We present a dataset of image–description pairs annotated with coherence relations. We then train a coherence-aware metric on a subset of the Conceptual Captions dataset and measure its effectiveness—its ability to predict human ratings of output captions—on a test set composed of out-of-domain images. We demonstrate a higher Kendall Correlation Coefficient for our proposed metric with the human judgments for the results of a number of state-of-the-art coherence-aware caption generation models when compared to several other metrics including recently proposed learned metrics such as BLEURT and BERTScore.

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Quality Estimation for Image Captions Based on Large-scale Human Evaluations
Tomer Levinboim | Ashish V. Thapliyal | Piyush Sharma | Radu Soricut
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Automatic image captioning has improved significantly over the last few years, but the problem is far from being solved, with state of the art models still often producing low quality captions when used in the wild. In this paper, we focus on the task of Quality Estimation (QE) for image captions, which attempts to model the caption quality from a human perspective and *without* access to ground-truth references, so that it can be applied at prediction time to detect low-quality captions produced on *previously unseen images*. For this task, we develop a human evaluation process that collects coarse-grained caption annotations from crowdsourced users, which is then used to collect a large scale dataset spanning more than 600k caption quality ratings. We then carefully validate the quality of the collected ratings and establish baseline models for this new QE task. Finally, we further collect fine-grained caption quality annotations from trained raters, and use them to demonstrate that QE models trained over the coarse ratings can effectively detect and filter out low-quality image captions, thereby improving the user experience from captioning systems.

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Understanding Guided Image Captioning Performance across Domains
Edwin G. Ng | Bo Pang | Piyush Sharma | Radu Soricut
Proceedings of the 25th Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning

Image captioning models generally lack the capability to take into account user interest, and usually default to global descriptions that try to balance readability, informativeness, and information overload. We present a Transformer-based model with the ability to produce captions focused on specific objects, concepts or actions in an image by providing them as guiding text to the model. Further, we evaluate the quality of these guided captions when trained on Conceptual Captions which contain 3.3M image-level captions compared to Visual Genome which contain 3.6M object-level captions. Counter-intuitively, we find that guided captions produced by the model trained on Conceptual Captions generalize better on out-of-domain data. Our human-evaluation results indicate that attempting in-the-wild guided image captioning requires access to large, unrestricted-domain training datasets, and that increased style diversity (even without increasing the number of unique tokens) is a key factor for improved performance.

2020

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Cross-modal Coherence Modeling for Caption Generation
Malihe Alikhani | Piyush Sharma | Shengjie Li | Radu Soricut | Matthew Stone
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

We use coherence relations inspired by computational models of discourse to study the information needs and goals of image captioning. Using an annotation protocol specifically devised for capturing image–caption coherence relations, we annotate 10,000 instances from publicly-available image–caption pairs. We introduce a new task for learning inferences in imagery and text, coherence relation prediction, and show that these coherence annotations can be exploited to learn relation classifiers as an intermediary step, and also train coherence-aware, controllable image captioning models. The results show a dramatic improvement in the consistency and quality of the generated captions with respect to information needs specified via coherence relations.

2019

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Neural Naturalist: Generating Fine-Grained Image Comparisons
Maxwell Forbes | Christine Kaeser-Chen | Piyush Sharma | Serge Belongie
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

We introduce the new Birds-to-Words dataset of 41k sentences describing fine-grained differences between photographs of birds. The language collected is highly detailed, while remaining understandable to the everyday observer (e.g., “heart-shaped face,” “squat body”). Paragraph-length descriptions naturally adapt to varying levels of taxonomic and visual distance—drawn from a novel stratified sampling approach—with the appropriate level of detail. We propose a new model called Neural Naturalist that uses a joint image encoding and comparative module to generate comparative language, and evaluate the results with humans who must use the descriptions to distinguish real images. Our results indicate promising potential for neural models to explain differences in visual embedding space using natural language, as well as a concrete path for machine learning to aid citizen scientists in their effort to preserve biodiversity.

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Decoupled Box Proposal and Featurization with Ultrafine-Grained Semantic Labels Improve Image Captioning and Visual Question Answering
Soravit Changpinyo | Bo Pang | Piyush Sharma | Radu Soricut
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Object detection plays an important role in current solutions to vision and language tasks like image captioning and visual question answering. However, popular models like Faster R-CNN rely on a costly process of annotating ground-truths for both the bounding boxes and their corresponding semantic labels, making it less amenable as a primitive task for transfer learning. In this paper, we examine the effect of decoupling box proposal and featurization for down-stream tasks. The key insight is that this allows us to leverage a large amount of labeled annotations that were previously unavailable for standard object detection benchmarks. Empirically, we demonstrate that this leads to effective transfer learning and improved image captioning and visual question answering models, as measured on publicly-available benchmarks.

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Informative Image Captioning with External Sources of Information
Sanqiang Zhao | Piyush Sharma | Tomer Levinboim | Radu Soricut
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

An image caption should fluently present the essential information in a given image, including informative, fine-grained entity mentions and the manner in which these entities interact. However, current captioning models are usually trained to generate captions that only contain common object names, thus falling short on an important “informativeness” dimension. We present a mechanism for integrating image information together with fine-grained labels (assumed to be generated by some upstream models) into a caption that describes the image in a fluent and informative manner. We introduce a multimodal, multi-encoder model based on Transformer that ingests both image features and multiple sources of entity labels. We demonstrate that we can learn to control the appearance of these entity labels in the output, resulting in captions that are both fluent and informative.

2018

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Conceptual Captions: A Cleaned, Hypernymed, Image Alt-text Dataset For Automatic Image Captioning
Piyush Sharma | Nan Ding | Sebastian Goodman | Radu Soricut
Proceedings of the 56th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

We present a new dataset of image caption annotations, Conceptual Captions, which contains an order of magnitude more images than the MS-COCO dataset (Lin et al., 2014) and represents a wider variety of both images and image caption styles. We achieve this by extracting and filtering image caption annotations from billions of webpages. We also present quantitative evaluations of a number of image captioning models and show that a model architecture based on Inception-ResNetv2 (Szegedy et al., 2016) for image-feature extraction and Transformer (Vaswani et al., 2017) for sequence modeling achieves the best performance when trained on the Conceptual Captions dataset.