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Improved Probabilistic Image-Text Representations

Sanghyuk Chun

Halle B #282
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Tue 7 May 7:30 a.m. PDT — 9:30 a.m. PDT


Image-Text Matching (ITM) task, a fundamental vision-language (VL) task, suffers from the inherent ambiguity arising from multiplicity and imperfect annotations. Deterministic functions are not sufficiently powerful to capture ambiguity, prompting the exploration of probabilistic embeddings to tackle the challenge. However, the existing probabilistic ITM approach encounters two key shortcomings; the burden of heavy computations due to the Monte Carlo approximation, and the loss saturation issue in the face of abundant false negatives. To overcome the issues, this paper presents an improved Probabilistic Cross-Modal Embeddings (named PCME++) by introducing a new probabilistic distance with a closed-form solution. In addition, two optimization techniques are proposed to enhance PCME++ further: first, the incorporation of pseudo-positives to prevent the negative effect under massive false negatives; second, mixed sample data augmentation for probabilistic matching. Experimental results on MS-COCO Caption and two extended benchmarks, CxC and ECCV Caption, demonstrate the effectiveness of PCME++ compared to state-of-the-art ITM methods. The robustness of PCME++ is also evaluated under noisy image-text correspondences. In addition, the potential applicability of PCME++ in automatic prompt-filtering for zero-shot classification is shown. The code is available at

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