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Oral Session

Oral 2B Objects/ Neuroscience/Vision

La Nouvelle Orleans Ballroom A-C (level 2)

Tue 12 Dec. 13:40 - 13:55 PST

Rotating Features for Object Discovery

Sindy Löwe · Phillip Lippe · Francesco Locatello · Max Welling

The binding problem in human cognition, concerning how the brain represents and connects objects within a fixed network of neural connections, remains a subject of intense debate. Most machine learning efforts addressing this issue in an unsupervised setting have focused on slot-based methods, which may be limiting due to their discrete nature and difficulty to express uncertainty. Recently, the Complex AutoEncoder was proposed as an alternative that learns continuous and distributed object-centric representations. However, it is only applicable to simple toy data. In this paper, we present Rotating Features, a generalization of complex-valued features to higher dimensions, and a new evaluation procedure for extracting objects from distributed representations. Additionally, we show the applicability of our approach to pre-trained features. Together, these advancements enable us to scale distributed object-centric representations from simple toy to real-world data. We believe this work advances a new paradigm for addressing the binding problem in machine learning and has the potential to inspire further innovation in the field.

Tue 12 Dec. 13:55 - 14:10 PST

Linguistic Binding in Diffusion Models: Enhancing Attribute Correspondence through Attention Map Alignment

Royi Rassin · Eran Hirsch · Daniel Glickman · Shauli Ravfogel · Yoav Goldberg · Gal Chechik

Text-conditioned image generation models often generate incorrect associations between entities and their visual attributes. This reflects an impaired mapping between linguistic binding of entities and modifiers in the prompt and visual binding of the corresponding elements in the generated image. As one example, a query like ``a pink sunflower and a yellow flamingo'' may incorrectly produce an image of a yellow sunflower and a pink flamingo. To remedy this issue, we propose SynGen, an approach which first syntactically analyses the prompt to identify entities and their modifiers, and then uses a novel loss function that encourages the cross-attention maps to agree with the linguistic binding reflected by the syntax. Specifically, we encourage large overlap between attention maps of entities and their modifiers, and small overlap with other entities and modifier words. The loss is optimized during inference, without retraining or fine-tuning the model. Human evaluation on three datasets, including one new and challenging set, demonstrate significant improvements of SynGen compared with current state of the art methods. This work highlights how making use of sentence structure during inference can efficiently and substantially improve the faithfulness of text-to-image generation.

Tue 12 Dec. 14:10 - 14:25 PST

Additive Decoders for Latent Variables Identification and Cartesian-Product Extrapolation

Sébastien Lachapelle · Divyat Mahajan · Ioannis Mitliagkas · Simon Lacoste-Julien

We tackle the problems of latent variables identification and "out-of-support'' image generation in representation learning. We show that both are possible for a class of decoders that we call additive, which are reminiscent of decoders used for object-centric representation learning (OCRL) and well suited for images that can be decomposed as a sum of object-specific images. We provide conditions under which exactly solving the reconstruction problem using an additive decoder is guaranteed to identify the blocks of latent variables up to permutation and block-wise invertible transformations. This guarantee relies only on very weak assumptions about the distribution of the latent factors, which might present statistical dependencies and have an almost arbitrarily shaped support. Our result provides a new setting where nonlinear independent component analysis (ICA) is possible and adds to our theoretical understanding of OCRL methods. We also show theoretically that additive decoders can generate novel images by recombining observed factors of variations in novel ways, an ability we refer to as Cartesian-product extrapolation. We show empirically that additivity is crucial for both identifiability and extrapolation on simulated data.

Tue 12 Dec. 14:25 - 14:40 PST

Emergence of Shape Bias in Convolutional Neural Networks through Activation Sparsity

Tianqin Li · Ziqi Wen · Yangfan Li · Tai Sing Lee

Current deep-learning models for object recognition are known to be heavily biased toward texture. In contrast, human visual systems are known to be biased toward shape and structure. What could be the design principles in human visual systems that led to this difference? How could we introduce more shape bias into the deep learning models? In this paper, we report that sparse coding, a ubiquitous principle in the brain, can in itself introduce shape bias into the network. We found that enforcing the sparse coding constraint using a non-differential Top-K operation can lead to the emergence of structural encoding in neurons in convolutional neural networks, resulting in a smooth decomposition of objects into parts and subparts and endowing the networks with shape bias. We demonstrated this emergence of shape bias and its functional benefits for different network structures with various datasets. For object recognition convolutional neural networks, the shape bias leads to greater robustness against style and pattern change distraction. For the image synthesis generative adversary networks, the emerged shape bias leads to more coherent and decomposable structures in the synthesized images. Ablation studies suggest that sparse codes tend to encode structures, whereas the more distributed codes tend to favor texture. Our code is host at the github repository: