Space-Time Correspondence as a Contrastive Random Walk

NeurIPS 2020

This paper proposes a simple self-supervised approach for learning representations for visual correspondence from raw video. We cast correspondence as link prediction in a space-time graph constructed from a video. In this graph, the nodes are patches sampled from each frame, and nodes adjacent in time can share a directed edge. We learn a node embedding in which pairwise similarity defines transition probabilities of a random walk. Prediction of long-range correspondence is efficiently computed as a walk along this graph. The embedding learns to guide the walk by placing high probability along paths of correspondence. Targets are formed without supervision, by cycle-consistency: we train the embedding to maximize the likelihood of returning to the initial node when walking along a graph constructed from a `palindrome' of frames. We demonstrate that the approach allows for learning representations from large unlabeled video. Despite its simplicity, the method outperforms the self-supervised state-of-the-art on a variety of label propagation tasks involving objects, semantic parts, and pose. Moreover, we show that self-supervised adaptation at test-time and edge dropout improve transfer for object-level correspondence. Speakers: Allan A. Jabri, Andrew Owens, Alexei A. Efros