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Tracking Without Re-recognition in Humans and Machines
Drew Linsley · Girik Malik · Junkyung Kim · Lakshmi Narasimhan Govindarajan · Ennio Mingolla · Thomas Serre

Fri Dec 10 08:30 AM -- 10:00 AM (PST) @

Imagine trying to track one particular fruitfly in a swarm of hundreds. Higher biological visual systems have evolved to track moving objects by relying on both their appearance and their motion trajectories. We investigate if state-of-the-art spatiotemporal deep neural networks are capable of the same. For this, we introduce PathTracker, a synthetic visual challenge that asks human observers and machines to track a target object in the midst of identical-looking "distractor" objects. While humans effortlessly learn PathTracker and generalize to systematic variations in task design, deep networks struggle. To address this limitation, we identify and model circuit mechanisms in biological brains that are implicated in tracking objects based on motion cues. When instantiated as a recurrent network, our circuit model learns to solve PathTracker with a robust visual strategy that rivals human performance and explains a significant proportion of their decision-making on the challenge. We also show that the success of this circuit model extends to object tracking in natural videos. Adding it to a transformer-based architecture for object tracking builds tolerance to visual nuisances that affect object appearance, establishing the new state of the art on the large-scale TrackingNet challenge. Our work highlights the importance of understanding human vision to improve computer vision.

Author Information

Drew Linsley (Brown University)

We need artificial vision to create intelligent machines that can reason about the world, but existing artificial vision systems cannot solve many of the visual challenges that we encounter and routinely solve in our daily lives. I look to biological vision to inspire new solutions to challenges faced by artificial vision. I do this by testing complementary hypotheses that connect computational theory with systems- and cognitive-neuroscience level experimental research: - Computational challenges for artificial vision can be identified through systematic comparisons with biological vision, and solved with algorithms inspired by those of biological vision. - Improved algorithms for artificial vision will lead to better methods for gleaning insight from large-scale experimental data, and better models for understanding the relationship between neural computation and perception.

Girik Malik (Northeastern University)
Junkyung Kim (DeepMind)
Lakshmi Narasimhan Govindarajan (Brown University)
Ennio Mingolla (Northeastern University)
Thomas Serre (Brown University)

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