CSE 152: Introduction to Computer Vision Homework 4: Deep Learning solved




This project is an introduction to deep learning tools for computer vision.
we will design and train deep convolutional networks for scene recognition using
the MatConvNet toolbox.
In the project, we will train a deep convolutional network to recognize scenes.
The starter code provides a simple network architecture (which does not work
that well), and we will add jittering, normalization, regularization, and more
layers to increase recognition accuracy to 50, 60, or perhaps 70%.
1 Starter Code Outline
The following is an outline of the stencil code:
• part1.m. The top level function for training a deep network from scratch
for scene recognition. If you run this starter code unmodified, then it will
train a simple network that achieves only 25% accuracy.
part1.m calls:
– part1 setup data.m . Loads the 15 scene database into MatConvNet
imdb format.
– part1 cnn init.m. Initializes the convolutional neural network by
specifying the various layers which perform convolution, max pooling, non-linearities, normalization, regularization, and the final loss
– part1 get batch() (defined inside part1.m) This operates on each
batch of training images to be passed into the network during training. This is where you can ”jitter” your training data.
The network training will be performed by cnn train.m, which in turn calls
vl simplenn.m. You will not need to modify those functions for this homework.
2 Part 0: Setup
There are two approaches to installing MatConvNet. One is to manually install
everything yourself. This is probably the more tedious option, so let’s avoid that
if possible. The first three lines of part0.m should perform all of the MatConvNet
installation automatically (if all goes well). So as a first attempt, try to run the
part0.m script and hope that everything works.
part0.m will perform installation and run a simple MatConvNet test case,
which involves downloading a pre-trained CNN for classification and running it
on a test image. Before you proceed to step 1, you should verify your MatConvNet installation by making sure you can run part0.m correctly.
(It might take a while to download the 233MB VGG-F network used in the
2.1 Manual installation
Hopefully part0.m will succeed in installing MatConvNet on its own. But if
installation fails, you may need to download MatConvNet yourself. You must
separately download MatConvNet 1.0 beta 16. (Click here for a direct link
to beta 16.) Note that the homework depends on having this version of MatConvNet, so you should install this one; any other versions are not ocially
MatConvNet isn’t precompiled like VLFeat, so we compiled it for you.
Here are the mex files for CPU-only usage for 64bit Windows, MacOS, and
Linux: MatConvNet64mex.zip (.5 MB). The files go in [MatConvNetPath]/matlab/mex/.
Once you have performed the installation, comment out the three installation
lines at the top of part0.m and again confirm that you can run the pre-trained
CNN correctly (by running part0.m to completion).
2.2 Troubleshooting
If you encounter errors trying to run part0.m, make sure:
1. You have MatConvNet 1.0 beta 16 (not a later version).
2. You download imagenet-vgg-f.mat from the link in part0.m and not from
MatConvNet (because it was changed for beta 17 and it is not backwards
3. If you encounter the error “Error using mex; No supported compiler was
found,” visit https://www.mathworks.com/support/compilers.html to
to make sure that the correct compilers are installed. Also if necessary, run
“mex -setup C++” to ensure that MEX is configured for C++ compilation
not for C.
4. Your mex files are in the correct location [MatConvNetPath]/matlab/mex/.
If you encounter errors about invalid mex files in Windows you may be
missing Visual C++ Redistributable Packages. If you encounter an error
about about labindex being undefined you may be missing the Parallel
Computing Toolbox for Matlab.
5. If you are missing the Parallel Computing Toolbox, you can go to the
Home tab on the bar at the top of MATLAB and click Add-Ons > Get
Add-Ons. Do a search for “parallel,” click on the Parallel Computing
Toolbox, and choose the option to (sign in and) install.
Before we start building our own deep convolutional networks, it might be
useful to have a look at MatConvNet’s tutorial (here). In particular, you should
be able to understand Part 1 of the tutorial. In addition to the examples shown
in parts 3 and 4 of the tutorial, MatConvNet has example code (here) for
training networks to recognize the MNIST and CIFAR datasets. Your project
follows the same outline as those examples. Feel free to take a look at that code
for inspiration. You can run the example code to watch the training process
for MNIST and CIFAR. Training will take about 5 and 15 minutes for those
datasets, respectively.
Compiling MatConvNet with GPU support is more complex and not needed
for this project.
3 Part 1: Training a deep neural network
In this part, we will run part1.m to do end-to-end learning by a neural network,
in which a highly non-linear representation is learned for our data to maximize
our objective (in this case, 15-way classification accuracy).
First, let’s take a look at the network architecture used in this experiment.
Here is the code from part1 cnn init.m that specifies the network structure:
Let’s make sure we understand what’s going on here. This simple baseline
network has 4 layers: a convolutional layer, followed by a max pool layer, followed by a rectified linear layer, followed by another convolutional layer. This
last convolutional layer might be called a “fully connected” or “fc” layer because
its output has a spatial resolution of 1×1. Equivalently, every unit in the output
of that layer is a function of the entire previous layer (thus “fully connected”).
But mathematically, there’s not really any di↵erence from “convolutional” layers
so we specify them in the same way in MatConvNet.
Let’s look at the first convolutional layer. The “weights” are the filters
being learned. They are initialized with random numbers from a Gaussian
distribution. The inputs to randn(9,9,1,10) mean the filters have a 9×9 spatial
resolution, span 1 filter depth (because the input images are grayscale), and
that there are 10 filters. The network also learns a bias or constant o↵set to
associate with the output of each filter. This is what zeros(1,10) initializes.
The next layer is a max pooling layer. It will take a max over a 7×7 sliding window and then subsample the resulting image / map with a stride of 7.
Thus the max pooling layer will decrease the spatial resolution by a factor of 7
according to the stride parameter. The filter depth will remain the same (10).
There are other pooling possibilities (e.g. average pooling) but we will only use
max pooling in this project.
The next layer is the non-linearity. Any values in the feature map from the
max pooling layer which are negative will be set to 0. There are other nonlinearity possibilities (e.g. sigmoid) but we will use only ReLU in this project.
Note that the pool layer and ReLU layer have no learned parameters associated with them.
Finally, we have the last layer which is convolutional (but might be called
”fully connected” because it happens to reduce the spatial resolution to 1×1).
The filters learned at this layer operate on the rectified, subsampled, maxpooled
filter responses from the first layer. The output of this layer must be 1×1 spatial
resolution (or ”data size”) and it must have a filter depth of 15 (corresponding
to the 15 categories of the 15 scene database). This is achieved by initializing
the weights with randn(8,8,10,15). 8×8 is the spatial resolution of the filters. 10
is the number of filter dimensions that each of these filters take as input and 15
is the number of dimensions out. 10 is highlighted in green to emphasize that it
must be the same in those 3 places – if the first convolutional layer has weights
for 10 filters, it must also have o↵sets for 10 filters, and the next convolutional
layer must take as input 10 filter dimensions.
At the top of our network we add one more layer which is only used for
training. This is the “loss” layer. There are many possible loss functions but
we will use the ”softmax” loss for this project. This loss function will measure
how badly the network is doing for any input (i.e. how di↵erent its final layer
activations are from the ground truth, where ground truth in our case is category membership). The network weights will update, through backpropagation,
based on the derivative of the loss function. With each training batch the network weights will take a tiny gradient descent step in the direction that should
decrease the loss function (but isn’t actually guaranteed to, because the steps
are of some finite length, or because dropout will turn o↵ part of the network).
How did we know to make the final layer filters have a spatial resolution of
8×8? It’s not obvious because we don’t directly specify output resolution. Instead it is derived from the input image resolution and the filter widths, padding,
and strides of the previous layers. Luckily MatConvNet provides a visualization
function vl simplenn display to help us figure this out. Here is what it looks
like if we specify the net as shown above and then call vl simplenn display(net,
‘inputSize’, [64 64 1 50]).
If the last convolutional layer had a filter size of 6×6 that would lead to a
“data size” in the network visualization of 3×3 and we would know we need to
change things (subsample more in previous layers or create wider filters in the
final layer). In general it is not at all obvious what the right network architecture
is. It takes a lot of tricks to design the right network and training strategy for
optimal performance.
We just said the network has 4 real layers but this visualization shows 6.
That’s because it includes a layer 0 which is the input image and a layer 5 which
is the loss layer. For each layer this visualization shows several useful attributes.
“data size” is the spatial resolution of the feature maps at each level. In this
network and most deep networks this will decrease as you move up the network.
“data depth” is the number of channels or filters in each layer. This will tend
to increase as you move up a network. “rf size” is the receptive field size. That
is how large an area in the original image a particular network unit is sensitive
to. This will increase as you move up the network. Finally this visualization
shows us that the network has 10,000 free parameters, the vast majority of them
associated with the last convolutional layer.
OK, now we understand a bit about the network. Let’s analyze its performance. After 30 training epochs (30 passes through the training data) Matlab’s
Figure 1 should look like this:
The left pane shows the training error (blue) and validation error (dashed
orange) across training epochs. Each training epoch is a pass over the entire
training set of 1500 images broken up into “batches” of 50 training instances.
The code shu✏es the order of the training instances randomly each epoch. When
the network makes mistakes, it incurs a “loss” and backpropagation updates the
weights of the network in a direction that should decrease the loss. Therefore
the blue line should more or less decrease monotonically. On the other hand,
the orange dashed line is the error incurred on the held out test set. The figure
refers to it as “val” or “validation”. In a realistic recognition scenario we might
have three sets of data: train, validation, and test. We would use validation
to assess how well our training is working and to know when to stop training
and then we would test on a completely held out test set. For this project
the validation set is our test set. We’re trying to maximize performance on the
validation set and that’s it. The pass through the validation set does not change
the network weights in any way. The pass through the validation set is also 3
times faster than the training pass because it does not have the “backwards”
pass to update network weights.
The right pane shows the training and testing accuracy on the train and
test (val) data sets across the same training epochs. It shows top 1 error – how
often the highest scoring guess is wrong – and top 5 error – how often all of the
5 highest scoring guesses are wrong. We’re interested in top 1 error, specifically
the top 1 error on the held out validation / test set.
In this experiment, the training and test top 1 error started out around 93%
which is exactly what we would expect. If you have 15 categories and you make
a random guess on each test case, you will be wrong 93% of the time. As the
training progressed and the network weights moved away from their random
initialization, accuracy increased.
Note that the areas circled in green corresponding to the first 8 training
epochs. During these epochs, the training and validation error were decreasing
which is exactly what we want to see. Beyond that point the error on the training
dataset kept decreasing, but the validation error did not. Our lowest error on
the validation/test set is around 75% (or 25% accuracy). We are overfitting to
our training data. This is hard to avoid with a small training set. In fact, if we
let this experiment run for 200 epochs we see that it is possible for the training
accuracy to become perfect with no appreciable increase in test accuracy:
Now, we are going to take several steps to improve the performance of our
convolutional network. The modifications we make in Part 1 will familiarize you
with the building blocks of deep learning that can lead to impressive performance
with enough training data. In the end, you might decide that this isn’t any
simpler than hand-designing a feature. Also, with the relatively small amount
of training data in the 15 scene database, it is very hard to outperform hand-
crafted features.
Learning rate. Before we start making changes, there is a very important
learning parameter that you might need to tune any time you change the network
or the data being input to the network. The learning rate (set by default as
opts.LearningRate = 0.0001 in part1.m) determines the size of the gradient
descent steps taken by the network weights. If things aren’t working, try making
it much smaller or larger (e.g. by factors of 10). If the objective remains exactly
constant over the first dozen epochs, the learning rate might have been too
high and “broken” some aspect of the network. If the objective spikes or even
becomes NaN then the learning rate may also be too large. However, a very
small learning rate requires many training epochs.
3.1 Problem 1: We don’t have enough training data. Let’s
If you left-right flip (mirror) an image of a scene, it never changes categories. A
kitchen doesn’t become a forest when mirrored. This isn’t true in all domains
– a “d” becomes a “b” when mirrored, so you can’t “jitter” digit recognition
training data in the same way. But we can synthetically increase our amount of
training data by left-right mirroring training images during the learning process.
The learning process calls getBatch() in part1.m each time it wants training
or testing images. Modify getBatch() to randomly flip some of the images (or
entire batches). Useful functions: rand and fliplr.
You can try more elaborate forms of jittering – zooming in a random amount,
rotating a random amount, taking a random crop, etc. Mirroring helps quite
a bit on its own, though, and is easy to implement. You should see a roughly
10% increase in accuracy by adding mirroring.
After you implement mirroring, you should notice that your training error
doesn’t drop as quickly. That’s actually a good thing, because it means the
network isn’t overfitting to the 1,500 original training images as much (because
it sees 3,000 training images now, although they’re not as good as 3,000 truly
independent samples). Because the training and test errors fall more slowly,
you may need more training epochs or you may try modifying the learning rate.
3.2 Problem 2: The images aren’t zero-centered.
One simple trick which can help a lot is to subtract the mean from every image. Modify part1 setup data.m so that it computes the mean image and then
subtracts the mean from all images before returning imdb. It would arguably
be more proper to only compute the mean from the training images (since the
test/validation images should be strictly held out) but it won’t make much of
a di↵erence. After doing this you should see another 15% or so increase in
3.3 Problem 3: Our network isn’t regularized.
If you train your network (especially for more than the default 30 epochs) you’ll
see that the training error can decrease to zero while the val top1 error hovers
at 40% to 50%. The network has learned weights which can perfectly recognize
the training data, but those weights don’t generalize to held out test data. The
best regularization would be more training data but we don’t have that. Instead
we will use dropout regularization. We add a dropout layer to our convolutional
net as follows:
What does dropout regularization do? It randomly turns o↵ network connections at training time to fight overfitting. This prevents a unit in one layer
from relying too strongly on a single unit in the previous layer. Dropout regularization can be interpreted as simultaneously training many “thinned” versions
of your network. At test test, all connections are restored which is analogous to
taking an average prediction over all of the “thinned” networks. You can see a
more complete discussion of dropout regularization in this paper.
The dropout layer has only one free parameter – the dropout rate – the
proportion of connections that are randomly deleted. The default of 0.5 should
be fine. Insert a dropout layer between your convolutional layers. In particular,
insert it directly before your last convolutional layer. Your test accuracy should
increase by another 10%. Your train accuracy should decrease much more slowly.
That’s to be expected: you’re making life much harder for the training algorithm
by cutting out connections randomly.
If you increase the number of training epochs (and maybe decrease the learning rate) you should be able to achieve 60% test accuracy (40% top1 val) or
slightly better at this point. Notice how much more structured the learned
filters are at this point compared to the initial network before we made improvements:
3.4 Problem 4: Our network isn’t deep.
Let’s take a moment to reflect on what our convolutional network is actually
doing. We learn filters which seem to be looking for horizontal edges, vertical
edges, and parallel edges. Some of the filters have diagonal orientations and
some seem to be looking for high frequencies or center-surround. This learned
filter bank is applied to each input image, the maximum response from each
7×7 block is taken by the max pooling, and then the rectified linear layer zeros
out negative values. The fully connected layer sees a 10 channel image with 8×8
spatial resolution. It learns 15 linear classifiers (a linear filter with a learned
threshold is basically a linear classifier) on this 8×8 filter response map.
Our convolutional network to this point isn’t “deep”. It has two layers
with learned weights. Contrast this with the example networks for MNIST and
CIFAR in MatConvNet which contain 4 and 5 layers, respectively. AlexNet and
VGG-F contain 8 layers. The VGG “very deep” networks contain 16 and 19
layers. ResNet contains up to 150 layers.
One quite unsatisfying aspect of our current network architecture is that the
max-pooling operation covers a window of 7×7 and then is subsampled with a
stride of 7. That seems overly lossy and deep networks usually do not subsample
by more than a factor of 2 or 3 each layer.
Let’s make our network deeper by adding an additional convolutional layer
in part1 cnn init.m. In fact, we probably don’t want to add just a convolutional
layer, but another max-pool layer and ReLU layer, as well. For example, you
might insert a convolutional layer after the existing ReLU layer with a 5×5
spatial support followed by a max-pool over a 3×3 window with a stride of
2. You can reduce the max-pool window in the previous layer, adjust padding,
and reduce the spatial resolution of the final layer until vl simplenn display(net,
’inputSize’, [64 64 1 50]), which is called at the end of part1 cnn init() shows
that your network’s final layer (not counting the softmax) has a data size of 1
and a data depth of 15. You also need to make sure that the data depth output
by any channel matches the data depth input to the following channel. For
instance, maybe your new convolutional layer takes in the 10 channels of the
first layer but outputs 15 channels. The final layer would then need to have its
weights initialized accordingly to account for the fact that it operates on a 15
channel image instead of a 10 channel image.
We leave it up to you to decide the specifics of your slightly deeper network:
filter depth, padding, max-pooling, stride, etc. The network will probably take
longer to train because it will have more parameters and deeper networks take
longer to converge. You might need to use more training epochs, but even then
it will be dicult to outperform your shallow network. It is not required that
your deeper network increases accuracy over the shallow network. As long as
you can achieve less than 45% top1 validation error for some epoch (over the
entire validation set, not just for one batch) with a deeper network which uses
mirroring to jitter, zero-centers the images as they are loaded, and regularizes
the network with a dropout layer you will receive full credit for this part.
See the next section for a full description of the code and performance re-
quirements for this homework.
4 Requirements (100 points total)
4.1 Code (5 pts for implementing each piece)
For full credit, you must implement some form of jittering (as per problem 1),
some form of normalization (as per problem 2), some form of dropout regularization (as per problem 3), and a deeper network (as per problem 4).
4.2 Network Performance (45 pts for meeting overall benchmark, 20 pts for meeting deeper network benchmark)
Note: when we talk about validation error below, we mean the error
across the entire validation set, not the error for one batch (as printed
in the big log during training). In other words, we care about the
valtop1e orange plot in the error graph, and the “Lowest validation
error is” value printed at the end of training. Feel free to modify
cnn train.m to print info.val.error periodically throughout training,
although this is in no way required.
Report your best top1 validation accuracy and include the error graph for it.
If your best top1 validation accuracy does not use a deeper network, also report
your best top1 validation accuracy for the deeper network and include the error
graph for the deeper network variant.
For full credit, you must achieve sub-40% top1 validation error in some epoch
for any network/training configuration, and sub-45% top1 validation error in
some epoch for a deeper network.
Your network must be trained from scratch by you, using the data we provide. If you make any modifications or add any extensions past the minimum
requirements of problems 1 through 4, document them in your writeup. However, it is possible to meet these performance requirements just by implementing
problems 1 through 4 well.
4.3 Writeup Questions (5 pts apiece)
Also answer the following questions in your writeup.
1. Explain why subtracting the mean from our images improves the performance of our neural network.
2. Describe the role that pooling plays in the convolutional neural network.
How does pooling change the number of parameters in the network, and
what e↵ects does this have?
3. What issues might arise in using sigmoids as activation functions? How
does the rectified linear unit function address these issues? Can you describe problems that may arise with using ReLU?
5 Extra Credit
For every extra 5% of error you knock o↵ past 40% top1 validation error, you
will receive four extra credit points. For example, if you achieve sub-35% error,
e.g. 34.8% error, you will receive four extra credit points. If you somehow
achieve sub-20% error, you will receive 16 extra credit points. Again, you must
train from scratch and stick to the data we provide. You must also document
the extensions you make in your writeup (and show the e↵ects they had on the
results, e.g. by showing the performance graphs with and without the extension),
and make sure that we can reproduce your results if we run your code.
Note that this is very hard, and trying to improve accuracy on this assignment is probably not the most e↵ective way to raise your grade in this class
(studying for the final is likely a better use of your time).
If you decide to pursue this, here are some potential avenues of improvement:
• If you look at MatConvNet’s ImageNet examples you can see that the
learning rate isn’t constant during training. You can specify learning
rate as pts.learningRate = logspace(-3, -5, 120) to have it change from
.001 to .00001 over 120 training epochs, for instance. This can improve
performance slightly.
• You can try increasing the filter depth of the network. The example networks for MNIST, CIFAR, and ImageNet have 20, 32, and 64 filters in
the first layer and it tends to increase as you go up the network. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to help too much in our case probably because
of lack of training data.
• The MNIST, CIFAR, and ImageNet examples in MatConvNet show numerous advanced strategies: Use of normalization layers, variable learning rate per layer (the two elements of the per-layer learning rate in
cnn cifar init.m are the relative learning rates for the filters and the bias
terms), use of average pooling instead of max pooling for some layers, skipping ReLU layers between some convolutional layers, initializing weights
with distributions other than randn, more dramatic jittering, etc.
• The more free parameters your network has the more prone to overfitting
it is. Multiple dropout layers can help fight back against this, but will
slow down training considerably.
• One obvious limitation of our network is that it operates on 64×64 images
when the scene images are generally closer to 256×256. We’re definitely
losing valuable texture information by working at low resolution. Luckily,
it is not necessarily slow to work with the higher resolution images if you
put a greater-than-one stride in your first convolutional layer. The VGGF network adopts this strategy. You can see in cnn imagenet init.m that
its first layer uses 11×11 filters with a stride of 4. This is 1/16th as many
evaluations as a stride of 1.
• The images can be normalized more strongly (e.g., making them have unit
standard deviation) but this did not help in my experiments.
• You can try alternate loss layers at the top of your network. E.g. net.layersend+1
= struct(‘name’, ‘hinge loss’, ‘type’, ‘loss’, ‘loss’, ‘mhinge’)
for hinge loss.
• You can train the VGG-F network from scratch on the 15 scene database.
You can call cnn imagenet init.m to get a randomly initialized VGG-F
and train it just like your other networks. It works better than I would
expect considering how little training data we have.