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Canonical Capsules: Unsupervised Capsules in Canonical Pose

Weiwei Sun
Boyang Deng
Soroosh Yazdani
Geoffrey Everest Hinton
Kwang Moo Yi
Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS) (2021)


We propose an unsupervised capsule architecture for 3D point clouds. We compute capsule decompositions of objects through permutation-equivariant attention, and self-supervise the process by training with pairs of randomly rotated objects. Our key idea is to aggregate the attention masks into semantic keypoints, and use these to supervise a decomposition that satisfies the capsule invariance/equivariance properties. This not only enables the training of a semantically consistent decomposition, but also allows us to learn a canonicalization operation that enables object-centric reasoning. In doing so, we require neither classification labels nor manually-aligned training datasets to train. Yet, by learning an object-centric representation in an unsupervised manner, our method outperforms the state-of-the-art on 3D point cloud reconstruction, registration, and unsupervised classification. We will release the code and dataset to reproduce our results as soon as the paper is published.