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Front Psychol. 2014 May 20;5:417. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00417. eCollection 2014.

A Bayesian generative model for learning semantic hierarchies.

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Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
Department of Computer Science, University of Washington Seattle, WA, USA.
Department of Computer Science, Stanford University Stanford, CA, USA.


Building fine-grained visual recognition systems that are capable of recognizing tens of thousands of categories, has received much attention in recent years. The well known semantic hierarchical structure of categories and concepts, has been shown to provide a key prior which allows for optimal predictions. The hierarchical organization of various domains and concepts has been subject to extensive research, and led to the development of the WordNet domains hierarchy (Fellbaum, 1998), which was also used to organize the images in the ImageNet (Deng et al., 2009) dataset, in which the category count approaches the human capacity. Still, for the human visual system, the form of the hierarchy must be discovered with minimal use of supervision or innate knowledge. In this work, we propose a new Bayesian generative model for learning such domain hierarchies, based on semantic input. Our model is motivated by the super-subordinate organization of domain labels and concepts that characterizes WordNet, and accounts for several important challenges: maintaining context information when progressing deeper into the hierarchy, learning a coherent semantic concept for each node, and modeling uncertainty in the perception process.


Bayesian inference; Bayesian models of cognition; hierarchical clustering; non-parametric Bayes; semantics

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