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Large Scale Fine-Grained Categorization and Domain-Specific Transfer Learning

Yin Cui
Andrew Howard
Serge Belongie
CVPR (2018)


Transferring the knowledge learned from large scale datasets (e.g., ImageNet) via fine-tuning offers an effective solution for domain-specific fine-grained visual categorization (FGVC) tasks (e.g., recognizing bird species or car make & model). In such scenarios, data annotation often calls for specialized domain knowledge and thus difficult to scale. In this work, we first tackle a problem in large scale FGVC. Our method won first place in iNaturalist 2017 large scale species classification challenge. Central to the success of our approach is a training scheme that uses higher image resolution and deals with the long-tailed distribution of training data. Next, we study transfer learning via fine-tuning from large scale datasets to small scale, domainspecific FGVC datasets. We propose a measure to estimate domain similarity via Earth Mover’s Distance and demonstrate that transfer learning benefits from pre-training on a source domain that is similar to the target domain by this measure. Our proposed transfer learning outperforms ImageNet pre-training and obtains state-of-the-art results on multiple commonly used FGVC datasets.