Trevor Darrell


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Modular Visual Question Answering via Code Generation
Sanjay Subramanian | Medhini Narasimhan | Kushal Khangaonkar | Kevin Yang | Arsha Nagrani | Cordelia Schmid | Andy Zeng | Trevor Darrell | Dan Klein
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

We present a framework that formulates visual question answering as modular code generation. In contrast to prior work on modular approaches to VQA, our approach requires no additional training and relies on pre-trained language models (LMs), visual models pre-trained on image-caption pairs, and fifty VQA examples used for in-context learning. The generated Python programs invoke and compose the outputs of the visual models using arithmetic and conditional logic. Our approach improves accuracy on the COVR dataset by at least 3% and on the GQA dataset by 2% compared to the few-shot baseline that does not employ code generation.

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Scaling Vision-Language Models with Sparse Mixture of Experts
Sheng Shen | Zhewei Yao | Chunyuan Li | Trevor Darrell | Kurt Keutzer | Yuxiong He
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

The field of natural language processing (NLP) has made significant strides in recent years, particularly in the development of large-scale vision-language models (VLMs). These models aim to bridge the gap between text and visual information, enabling a more comprehensive understanding of multimedia data. However, as these models become larger and more complex, they also become more challenging to train and deploy. One approach to addressing this challenge is the use of sparsely-gated mixture-of-experts (MoE) techniques, which divide the model into smaller, specialized sub-models that can jointly solve a task. In this paper, we explore the effectiveness of MoE in scaling vision-language models, demonstrating its potential to achieve state-of-the-art performance on a range of benchmarks over dense models of equivalent computational cost. Our research offers valuable insights into stabilizing the training of MoE models, understanding the impact of MoE on model interpretability, and balancing the trade-offs between compute performance when scaling VLMs. We hope our work will inspire further research into the use of MoE for scaling large-scale vision-language models and other multimodal machine learning applications.

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From Wrong To Right: A Recursive Approach Towards Vision-Language Explanation
Jiaxin Ge | Sanjay Subramanian | Trevor Darrell | Boyi Li
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Addressing the challenge of adapting pre-trained vision-language models for generating insightful explanations for visual reasoning tasks with limited annotations, we present ReVisE: a Recursive Visual Explanation algorithm. Our method iteratively computes visual features (conditioned on the text input), an answer, and an explanation, to improve the explanation quality step by step until the answer converges. We find that this multi-step approach guides the model to correct its own answers and outperforms single-step explanation generation. Furthermore, explanations generated by ReVisE also serve as valuable annotations for few-shot self-training. Our approach outperforms previous methods while utilizing merely 5% of the human-annotated explanations across 10 metrics, demonstrating up to a 4.2 and 1.3 increase in BLEU-1 score on the VCR and VQA-X datasets, underscoring the efficacy and data-efficiency of our method.

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CLAIR: Evaluating Image Captions with Large Language Models
David Chan | Suzanne Petryk | Joseph Gonzalez | Trevor Darrell | John Canny
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

The evaluation of machine-generated image captions poses an interesting yet persistent challenge. Effective evaluation measures must consider numerous dimensions of similarity, including semantic relevance, visual structure, object interactions, caption diversity, and specificity. Existing highly-engineered measures attempt to capture specific aspects, but fall short in providing a holistic score that aligns closely with human judgments. Here, we propose CLAIR, a novel method that leverages the zero-shot language modeling capabilities of large language models (LLMs) to evaluate candidate captions. In our evaluations, CLAIR demonstrates a stronger correlation with human judgments of caption quality compared to existing measures. Notably, on Flickr8K-Expert, CLAIR achieves relative correlation improvements over SPICE of 39.6% and over image-augmented methods such as RefCLIP-S of 18.3%. Moreover, CLAIR provides noisily interpretable results by allowing the language model to identify the underlying reasoning behind its assigned score.

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Incorporating Structured Representations into Pretrained Vision & Language Models Using Scene Graphs
Roei Herzig | Alon Mendelson | Leonid Karlinsky | Assaf Arbelle | Rogerio Feris | Trevor Darrell | Amir Globerson
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Vision and language models (VLMs) have demonstrated remarkable zero-shot (ZS) performance in a variety of tasks. However, recent works have shown that even the best VLMs struggle to capture aspects of compositional scene understanding, such as object attributes, relations, and action states. In contrast, obtaining structured annotations, such as scene graphs (SGs), that could improve these models is time-consuming and costly, and thus cannot be used on a large scale. Here we ask whether small SG datasets can provide sufficient information for enhancing structured understanding of pretrained VLMs. We show that it is indeed possible to improve VLMs when learning from SGs by integrating components that incorporate structured information into both visual and textual representations. For the visual side, we incorporate a special “SG Component” in the image transformer trained to predict SG information, while for the textual side, we utilize SGs to generate fine-grained captions that highlight different compositional aspects of the scene. Our method improves the performance of several popular VLMs on multiple VL datasets with only a mild degradation in ZS capabilities.


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ReCLIP: A Strong Zero-Shot Baseline for Referring Expression Comprehension
Sanjay Subramanian | William Merrill | Trevor Darrell | Matt Gardner | Sameer Singh | Anna Rohrbach
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Training a referring expression comprehension (ReC) model for a new visual domain requires collecting referring expressions, and potentially corresponding bounding boxes, for images in the domain. While large-scale pre-trained models are useful for image classification across domains, it remains unclear if they can be applied in a zero-shot manner to more complex tasks like ReC. We present ReCLIP, a simple but strong zero-shot baseline that repurposes CLIP, a state-of-the-art large-scale model, for ReC. Motivated by the close connection between ReC and CLIP’s contrastive pre-training objective, the first component of ReCLIP is a region-scoring method that isolates object proposals via cropping and blurring, and passes them to CLIP. However, through controlled experiments on a synthetic dataset, we find that CLIP is largely incapable of performing spatial reasoning off-the-shelf. We reduce the gap between zero-shot baselines from prior work and supervised models by as much as 29% on RefCOCOg, and on RefGTA (video game imagery), ReCLIP’s relative improvement over supervised ReC models trained on real images is 8%.

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Voxel-informed Language Grounding
Rodolfo Corona | Shizhan Zhu | Dan Klein | Trevor Darrell
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

Natural language applied to natural 2D images describes a fundamentally 3D world. We present the Voxel-informed Language Grounder (VLG), a language grounding model that leverages 3D geometric information in the form of voxel maps derived from the visual input using a volumetric reconstruction model. We show that VLG significantly improves grounding accuracy on SNARE, an object reference game task. At the time of writing, VLG holds the top place on the SNARE leaderboard, achieving SOTA results with a 2.0% absolute improvement.

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G3: Geolocation via Guidebook Grounding
Grace Luo | Giscard Biamby | Trevor Darrell | Daniel Fried | Anna Rohrbach
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

We demonstrate how language can improve geolocation: the task of predicting the location where an image was taken. Here we study explicit knowledge from human-written guidebooks that describe the salient and class-discriminative visual features humans use for geolocation. We propose the task of Geolocation via Guidebook Grounding that uses a dataset of StreetView images from a diverse set of locations and an associated textual guidebook for GeoGuessr, a popular interactive geolocation game. Our approach predicts a country for each image by attending over the clues automatically extracted from the guidebook. Supervising attention with country-level pseudo labels achieves the best performance. Our approach substantially outperforms a state-of-the-art image-only geolocation method, with an improvement of over 5% in Top-1 accuracy. Our dataset and code can be found at

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Disentangled Action Recognition with Knowledge Bases
Zhekun Luo | Shalini Ghosh | Devin Guillory | Keizo Kato | Trevor Darrell | Huijuan Xu
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Action in video usually involves the interaction of human with objects. Action labels are typically composed of various combinations of verbs and nouns, but we may not have training data for all possible combinations. In this paper, we aim to improve the generalization ability of the compositional action recognition model to novel verbs or novel nouns that are unseen during training time, by leveraging the power of knowledge graphs. Previous work utilizes verb-noun compositional action nodes in the knowledge graph, making it inefficient to scale since the number of compositional action nodes grows quadratically with respect to the number of verbs and nouns. To address this issue, we propose our approach: Disentangled Action Recognition with Knowledge-bases (DARK), which leverages the inherent compositionality of actions. DARK trains a factorized model by first extracting disentangled feature representations for verbs and nouns, and then predicting classification weights using relations in external knowledge graphs. The type constraint between verb and noun is extracted from external knowledge bases and finally applied when composing actions. DARK has better scalability in the number of objects and verbs, and achieves state-of-the-art performance on the Charades dataset. We further propose a new benchmark split based on the Epic-kitchen dataset which is an order of magnitude bigger in the numbers of classes and samples, and benchmark various models on this benchmark.

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Twitter-COMMs: Detecting Climate, COVID, and Military Multimodal Misinformation
Giscard Biamby | Grace Luo | Trevor Darrell | Anna Rohrbach
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Detecting out-of-context media, such as “miscaptioned” images on Twitter, is a relevant problem, especially in domains of high public significance. In this work we aim to develop defenses against such misinformation for the topics of Climate Change, COVID-19, and Military Vehicles. We first present a large-scale multimodal dataset with over 884k tweets relevant to these topics. Next, we propose a detection method, based on the state-of-the-art CLIP model, that leverages automatically generated hard image-text mismatches. While this approach works well on our automatically constructed out-of-context tweets, we aim to validate its usefulness on data representative of the real world. Thus, we test it on a set of human-generated fakes, created by mimicking in-the-wild misinformation. We achieve an 11% detection improvement in a high precision regime over a strong baseline. Finally, we share insights about our best model design and analyze the challenges of this emerging threat.

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Exposing the Limits of Video-Text Models through Contrast Sets
Jae Sung Park | Sheng Shen | Ali Farhadi | Trevor Darrell | Yejin Choi | Anna Rohrbach
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Recent video-text models can retrieve relevant videos based on text with a high accuracy, but to what extent do they comprehend the semantics of the text? Can they discriminate between similar entities and actions? To answer this, we propose an evaluation framework that probes video-text models with hard negatives. We automatically build contrast sets, where true textual descriptions are manipulated in ways that change their semantics while maintaining plausibility. Specifically, we leverage a pre-trained language model and a set of heuristics to create verb and person entity focused contrast sets. We apply these in the multiple choice video to-text classification setting. We test the robustness of recent methods on the proposed automatic contrast sets, and compare them to additionally collected human-generated counterparts, to assess their effectiveness. We see that model performance suffers across all methods, erasing the gap between recent CLIP-based methods vs. the earlier methods.


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Modular Networks for Compositional Instruction Following
Rodolfo Corona | Daniel Fried | Coline Devin | Dan Klein | Trevor Darrell
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Standard architectures used in instruction following often struggle on novel compositions of subgoals (e.g. navigating to landmarks or picking up objects) observed during training. We propose a modular architecture for following natural language instructions that describe sequences of diverse subgoals. In our approach, subgoal modules each carry out natural language instructions for a specific subgoal type. A sequence of modules to execute is chosen by learning to segment the instructions and predicting a subgoal type for each segment. When compared to standard, non-modular sequence-to-sequence approaches on ALFRED, a challenging instruction following benchmark, we find that modularization improves generalization to novel subgoal compositions, as well as to environments unseen in training.

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NewsCLIPpings: Automatic Generation of Out-of-Context Multimodal Media
Grace Luo | Trevor Darrell | Anna Rohrbach
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Online misinformation is a prevalent societal issue, with adversaries relying on tools ranging from cheap fakes to sophisticated deep fakes. We are motivated by the threat scenario where an image is used out of context to support a certain narrative. While some prior datasets for detecting image-text inconsistency generate samples via text manipulation, we propose a dataset where both image and text are unmanipulated but mismatched. We introduce several strategies for automatically retrieving convincing images for a given caption, capturing cases with inconsistent entities or semantic context. Our large-scale automatically generated the NewsCLIPpings Dataset: (1) demonstrates that machine-driven image repurposing is now a realistic threat, and (2) provides samples that represent challenging instances of mismatch between text and image in news that are able to mislead humans. We benchmark several state-of-the-art multimodal models on our dataset and analyze their performance across different pretraining domains and visual backbones.


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Are You Looking? Grounding to Multiple Modalities in Vision-and-Language Navigation
Ronghang Hu | Daniel Fried | Anna Rohrbach | Dan Klein | Trevor Darrell | Kate Saenko
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Vision-and-Language Navigation (VLN) requires grounding instructions, such as “turn right and stop at the door”, to routes in a visual environment. The actual grounding can connect language to the environment through multiple modalities, e.g. “stop at the door” might ground into visual objects, while “turn right” might rely only on the geometric structure of a route. We investigate where the natural language empirically grounds under two recent state-of-the-art VLN models. Surprisingly, we discover that visual features may actually hurt these models: models which only use route structure, ablating visual features, outperform their visual counterparts in unseen new environments on the benchmark Room-to-Room dataset. To better use all the available modalities, we propose to decompose the grounding procedure into a set of expert models with access to different modalities (including object detections) and ensemble them at prediction time, improving the performance of state-of-the-art models on the VLN task.


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Localizing Moments in Video with Temporal Language
Lisa Anne Hendricks | Oliver Wang | Eli Shechtman | Josef Sivic | Trevor Darrell | Bryan Russell
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Localizing moments in a longer video via natural language queries is a new, challenging task at the intersection of language and video understanding. Though moment localization with natural language is similar to other language and vision tasks like natural language object retrieval in images, moment localization offers an interesting opportunity to model temporal dependencies and reasoning in text. We propose a new model that explicitly reasons about different temporal segments in a video, and shows that temporal context is important for localizing phrases which include temporal language. To benchmark whether our model, and other recent video localization models, can effectively reason about temporal language, we collect the novel TEMPOral reasoning in video and language (TEMPO) dataset. Our dataset consists of two parts: a dataset with real videos and template sentences (TEMPO - Template Language) which allows for controlled studies on temporal language, and a human language dataset which consists of temporal sentences annotated by humans (TEMPO - Human Language).

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Object Hallucination in Image Captioning
Anna Rohrbach | Lisa Anne Hendricks | Kaylee Burns | Trevor Darrell | Kate Saenko
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Despite continuously improving performance, contemporary image captioning models are prone to “hallucinating” objects that are not actually in a scene. One problem is that standard metrics only measure similarity to ground truth captions and may not fully capture image relevance. In this work, we propose a new image relevance metric to evaluate current models with veridical visual labels and assess their rate of object hallucination. We analyze how captioning model architectures and learning objectives contribute to object hallucination, explore when hallucination is likely due to image misclassification or language priors, and assess how well current sentence metrics capture object hallucination. We investigate these questions on the standard image captioning benchmark, MSCOCO, using a diverse set of models. Our analysis yields several interesting findings, including that models which score best on standard sentence metrics do not always have lower hallucination and that models which hallucinate more tend to make errors driven by language priors.


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Multimodal Compact Bilinear Pooling for Visual Question Answering and Visual Grounding
Akira Fukui | Dong Huk Park | Daylen Yang | Anna Rohrbach | Trevor Darrell | Marcus Rohrbach
Proceedings of the 2016 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

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Learning to Compose Neural Networks for Question Answering
Jacob Andreas | Marcus Rohrbach | Trevor Darrell | Dan Klein
Proceedings of the 2016 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies


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Who is “You”? Combining Linguistic and Gaze Features to Resolve Second-Person References in Dialogue
Matthew Frampton | Raquel Fernández | Patrick Ehlen | Mario Christoudias | Trevor Darrell | Stanley Peters
Proceedings of the 12th Conference of the European Chapter of the ACL (EACL 2009)