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In-Person Oral presentation / top 25% paper

ImageNet-X: Understanding Model Mistakes with Factor of Variation Annotations

Badr Youbi Idrissi · Diane Bouchacourt · Randall Balestriero · Ivan Evtimov · Caner Hazirbas · Nicolas Ballas · Pascal Vincent · Michal Drozdzal · David Lopez-Paz · Mark Ibrahim



Deep learning vision systems are widely deployed across applications where reliability is critical. However, even today's best models can fail to recognize an object when its pose, lighting, or background varies. While existing benchmarks surface examples challenging for models, they do not explain why such mistakes arise. To address this need, we introduce ImageNet-X—a set of sixteen human annotations of factors such as pose, background, or lighting the entire ImageNet-1k validation set as well as a random subset of 12k training images. Equipped with ImageNet-X, we investigate 2,200 current recognition models and study the types of mistakes as a function of model’s (1) architecture, e.g. transformer vs. convolutional, (2) learning paradigm, e.g. supervised vs. self-supervised, and (3) training procedures, e.g., data augmentation. Regardless of these choices, we find models have consistent failure modes across ImageNet-X categories. We also find that while data augmentation can improve robustness to certain factors, they induce spill-over effects to other factors. For example, color-jitter augmentation improves robustness to color and brightness, but surprisingly hurts robustness to pose. Together, these insights suggest to advance the robustness of modern vision models, future research should focus on collecting additional data and understanding data augmentation schemes. Along with these insights, we release a toolkit based on ImageNet-X to spur further study into the mistakes image recognition systems make.

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