Media Analytics

Read our publications from our Media Analytics team who are overcoming fundamental challenges in computer vision and are addressing critical needs in mobility, security, safety and socially relevant AI. Our team solves fundamental challenges in computer vision, with a focus on understanding and interaction in 3D scenes, representation learning in visual and multimodal data, learning across domains and tasks, as well as responsible AI. Our technological breakthroughs contribute to socially-relevant solutions that address key enterprise needs in mobility, safety and smart spaces.


Improving Language-Based Object Detection by Explicit Generation of Negative Examples

The recent progress in language-based object detection with an open-vocabulary can be largely attributed to finding better ways of leveraging large-scale data with free-form text annotations. Training from image captions with grounded bounding boxes (ground truth or pseudo-labeled) enable the models to reason over an open-vocabulary and understand object descriptions in free-form text. In this work, we investigate the role of negative captions for training such language-based object detectors. While the fixed label space in standard object detection datasets clearly defines the set of negative classes, the free-form text used for language-based detection makes the space of potential negatives virtually infinite in size. We propose to leverage external knowledge bases and large-language-models to automatically generate contradictions for each caption in the training dataset. Furthermore, we leverage image-generate tools to create corresponding negative images to the contradicting caption. Such automatically generated data constitute hard negative examples for language-based detection and improve the model when trained from. Our experiments demonstrate the benefits of the automatically generated training data on two complex benchmarks.

Exploring Question Decomposition for Zero-Shot VQA

Visual question answering (VQA) has traditionally been treated as a single-step task where each question receives the same amount of effort, unlike natural human question-answering strategies. We explore a question decomposition strategy for VQA to overcome this limitation. We probe the ability of recently developed large vision-language models to use human-written decompositions and produce their own decompositions of visual questions, finding they are capable of learning both tasks from demonstrations alone. However, we show that naive application of model-written decompositions can hurt performance. We introduce a model-driven selective decomposition approach for second-guessing predictions and correcting errors, and validate its effectiveness on eight VQA tasks across three domains, showing consistent improvements in accuracy, including improvements of >20% on medical VQA datasets and boosting the zero-shot performance of BLIP-2 above chance on a VQA reformulation of the challenging Winoground task. Project Site:

DP-Mix: Mixup-based Data Augmentation for Differentially Private Learning

Data augmentation techniques, such as image transformations and combinations, are highly effective at improving the generalization of computer vision models, especially when training data is limited. However, such techniques are fundamentally incompatible with differentially private learning approaches, due to the latter’s built-in assumption that each training image’s contribution to the learned model is bounded. In this paper, we investigate why naive applications of multi-sample data augmentation techniques, such as mixup, fail to achieve good performance and propose two novel data augmentation techniques specifically designed for the constraints of differentially private learning. Our first technique, DP-Mix_Self, achieves SoTA classification performance across a range of datasets and settings by performing mixup on self-augmented data. Our second technique, DP-Mix_Diff, further improves performance by incorporating synthetic data from a pre-trained diffusion model into the mixup process. We open-source the code at

Controllable Safety-Critical Closed-Loop Traffic Simulation via Guided Diffusion

Evaluating the performance of autonomous vehicle planning algorithms necessitates simulating long-tail traffic scenarios. Traditional methods for generating safety-critical scenarios often fall short in realism and controllability. Furthermore, these techniques generally neglect the dynamics of agent interactions. To mitigate these limitations, we introduce a novel closed-loop simulation framework rooted in guided diffusion models. Our approach yields two distinct advantages: 1) the generation of realistic long-tail scenarios that closely emulate real-world conditions, and 2) enhanced controllability, enabling more comprehensive and interactive evaluations. We achieve this through novel guidance objectives that enhance road progress while lowering collision and off-road rates. We develop a novel approach to simulate safety-critical scenarios through an adversarial term in the denoising process, which allows the adversarial agent to challenge a planner with plausible maneuvers, while all agents in the scene exhibit reactive and realistic behaviors. We validate our framework empirically using the NuScenes dataset, demonstrating improvements in both realism and controllability. These findings affirm that guided diffusion models provide a robust and versatile foundation for safety-critical, interactive traffic simulation, extending their utility across the broader landscape of autonomous driving. For additional resources and demonstrations, visit our project page at

OpEnCam: Optical Encryption Camera

Lensless cameras multiplex the incoming light before it is recorded by the sensor. This ability to multiplex the incoming light has led to the development of ultra-thin, high-speed, and single-shot 3D imagers. Recently, there have been various attempts at demonstrating another useful aspect of lensless cameras – their ability to preserve the privacy of a scene by capturing encrypted measurements. However, existing lensless camera designs suffer numerous inherent privacy vulnerabilities. To demonstrate this, we develop the first comprehensive attack model for encryption cameras, and propose OpEnCam — a novel lensless OPtical ENcryption CAmera design that overcomes these vulnerabilities. OpEnCam encrypts the incoming light before capturing it using the modulating ability of optical masks. Recovery of the original scene from an OpEnCam measurement is possible only if one has access to the camera’s encryption key, defined by the unique optical elements of each camera. Our OpEnCam design introduces two major improvements over existing lensless camera designs – (a) the use of two co-axially located optical masks, one stuck to the sensor and the other a few millimeters above the sensor and (b) the design of mask patterns, which are derived heuristically from signal processing ideas. We show, through experiments, that OpEnCam is robust against a range of attack types while still maintaining the imaging capabilities of existing lensless cameras. We validate the efficacy of OpEnCam using simulated and real data. Finally, we built and tested a prototype in the lab for proof-of-concept.

LLM-ASSIST: Enhancing Closed-Loop Planning with Language-Based Reasoning

Although planning is a crucial component of the autonomous driving stack, researchers have yet to develop robust planning algorithms that are capable of safely handling the diverse range of possible driving scenarios. Learning-based planners suffer from overfitting and poor long-tail performance. On the other hand, rule-based planners generalize well, but might fail to handle scenarios that require complex driving maneuvers. To address these limitations, we investigate the possibility of leveraging the common-sense reasoning capabilities of Large Language Models (LLMs) such as GPT4 and Llama2 to generate plans for self-driving vehicles. In particular, we develop a novel hybrid planner that leverages a conventional rule-based planner in conjunction with an LLM-based planner. Guided by commonsense reasoning abilities of LLMs, our approach navigates complex scenarios which existing planners struggle with, produces well-reasoned outputs while also remaining grounded through working alongside the rule-based approach. Through extensive evaluation on the nuPlan benchmark, we achieve state-of-the-art performance, outperforming all existing pure learning- and rule-based methods across most metrics. Our code will be available at

LDP-Feat: Image Features with Local Differential Privacy

Modern computer vision services often require users to share raw feature descriptors with an untrusted server. This presents an inherent privacy risk, as raw descriptors may be used to recover the source images from which they were extracted. To address this issue, researchers recently proposed privatizing image features by embedding them within an affine subspace containing the original feature as well as adversarial feature samples. In this paper, we propose two novel inversion attacks to show that it is possible to (approximately) recover the original image features from these embeddings, allowing us to recover privacy-critical image content. In light of such successes and the lack of theoretical privacy guarantees afforded by existing visual privacy methods, we further propose the first method to privatize image features via local differential privacy, which, unlike prior approaches, provides a guaranteed bound for privacy leakage regardless of the strength of the attacks. In addition, our method yields strong performance in visual localization as a downstream task while enjoying the privacy guarantee.

Efficient Controllable Multi-Task Architectures

We aim to train a multi-task model such that users can adjust the desired compute budget and relative importance of task performances after deployment, without retraining. This enables optimizing performance for dynamically varying user needs, without heavy computational overhead to train and save models for various scenarios. To this end, we propose a multi-task model consisting of a shared encoder and task-specific decoders where both encoder and decoder channel widths are slimmable. Our key idea is to control the task importance by varying the capacities of task-specific decoders, while controlling the total computational cost by jointly adjusting the encoder capacity. This improves overall accuracy by allowing a stronger encoder for a given budget, increases control over computational cost, and delivers high-quality slimmed sub-architectures based on user’s constraints. Our training strategy involves a novel `Configuration-Invariant Knowledge Distillation’ loss that enforces backbone representations to be invariant under different runtime width configurations to enhance accuracy. Further, we present a simple but effective search algorithm that translates user constraints to runtime width configurations of both the shared encoder and task decoders, for sampling the sub-architectures. The key rule for the search algorithm is to provide a larger computational budget to the higher preferred task decoder, while searching a shared encoder configuration that enhances the overall MTL performance. Various experiments on three multi-task benchmarks (PASCALContext, NYUDv2, and CIFAR100-MTL) with diverse backbone architectures demonstrate the advantage of our approach. For example, our method shows a higher controllability by 33.5% in the NYUD-v2 dataset over prior methods, while incurring much less compute cost.

OmniLabel: A Challenging Benchmark for Language-Based Object Detection

Language-based object detection is a promising direction towards building a natural interface to describe objects in images that goes far beyond plain category names. While recent methods show great progress in that direction, proper evaluation is lacking. With OmniLabel, we propose a novel task definition, dataset, and evaluation metric. The task subsumes standard and open-vocabulary detection as well as referring expressions. With more than 30K unique object descriptions on over 25K images, OmniLabel provides a challenge benchmark with diverse and complex object descriptions in a naturally open-vocabulary setting. Moreover, a key differentiation to existing benchmarks is that our object descriptions can refer to one, multiple or even no object, hence, providing negative examples in free-form text. The proposed evaluation handles the large label space and judges performance via a modified average precision metric, which we validate by evaluating strong language-based baselines. OmniLabel indeed provides a challenging test bed for future research on language-based detection.

Domain Generalization Guided by Gradient Signal to Noise Ratio of Parameters

Overfitting to the source domain is a common issue in gradient-based training of deep neural networks. To compensate for the over-parameterized models, numerous regularization techniques have been introduced such as those based on dropout. While these methods achieve significant improvements on classical benchmarks such as ImageNet, their performance diminishes with the introduction of domain shift in the test set i.e. when the unseen data comes from a significantly different distribution. In this paper, we move away from the classical approach of Bernoulli sampled dropout mask construction and propose to base the selection on gradient-signal-to-noise ratio (GSNR) of network’s parameters. Specifically, at each training step, parameters with high GSNR will be discarded. Furthermore, we alleviate the burden of manually searching for the optimal dropout ratio by leveraging a meta-learning approach. We evaluate our method on standard domain generalization benchmarks and achieve competitive results on classification and face anti-spoofing problems.