skip to main content

This content will become publicly available on July 18, 2024

Title: A Symmetric Dual Encoding Dense Retrieval Framework for Knowledge-Intensive Visual Question Answering
Knowledge-Intensive Visual Question Answering (KI-VQA) refers to answering a question about an image whose answer does not lie in the image. This paper presents a new pipeline for KI-VQA tasks, consisting of a retriever and a reader. First, we introduce DEDR, a symmetric dual encoding dense retrieval framework in which documents and queries are encoded into a shared embedding space using uni-modal (textual) and multi-modal encoders. We introduce an iterative knowledge distillation approach that bridges the gap between the representation spaces in these two encoders. Extensive evaluation on two well-established KI-VQA datasets, i.e., OK-VQA and FVQA, suggests that DEDR outperforms state-of-the-art baselines by 11.6% and 30.9% on OK-VQA and FVQA, respectively. Utilizing the passages retrieved by DEDR, we further introduce MM-FiD, an encoder-decoder multi-modal fusion-in-decoder model, for generating a textual answer for KI-VQA tasks. MM-FiD encodes the question, the image, and each retrieved passage separately and uses all passages jointly in its decoder. Compared to competitive baselines in the literature, this approach leads to 5.5% and 8.5% improvements in terms of question-answering accuracy on OK-VQA and FVQA, respectively.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Proceeding of the 46th International ACM SIGIR Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval (SIGIR 2023)
Page Range / eLocation ID:
110 to 120
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Outside-knowledge visual question answering (OKVQA) requires the agent to comprehend the image, make use of relevant knowledge from the entire web, and digest all the information to answer the question. Most previous works address the problem by first fusing the image and question in the multi-modal space, which is inflexible for further fusion with a vast amount of external knowledge. In this paper, we call for an alternative paradigm for the OK-VQA task, which transforms the image into plain text, so that we can enable knowledge passage retrieval, and generative question-answering in the natural language space. This paradigm takes advantage of the sheer volume of gigantic knowledge bases and the richness of pretrained language models. A Transform-Retrieve-Generate framework (TRiG) framework is proposed, which can be plug-and-played with alternative image-to-text models and textual knowledge bases. Experimental results show that our TRiG framework outperforms all state-of-the-art supervised methods by at least 11.1% absolute margin. 
    more » « less
  2. This paper studies a category of visual question answering tasks, in which accessing external knowledge is necessary for answering the questions. This category is called outside-knowledge visual question answering (OK-VQA). A major step in developing OKVQA systems is to retrieve relevant documents for the given multimodal query. Current state-of-the-art dense retrieval model for this task uses an asymmetric architecture with a multi-modal query encoder and a uni-modal document encoder. Such an architecture requires a large amount of training data for effective performance. We propose an automatic data generation pipeline for pre-training passage retrieval models for OK-VQA tasks. The proposed approach leads to 26.9% Precision@5 improvements compared to the current state-of-the-art. Additionally, the proposed pre-training approach exhibits a good ability in zero-shot retrieval scenarios. 
    more » « less
  3. Paragraph-style image captions describe diverse aspects of an image as opposed to the more common single-sentence captions that only provide an abstract description of the image. These paragraph captions can hence contain substantial information of the image for tasks such as visual question answering. Moreover, this textual information is complementary with visual information present in the image because it can discuss both more abstract concepts and more explicit, intermediate symbolic information about objects, events, and scenes that can directly be matched with the textual question and copied into the textual answer (i.e., via easier modality match). Hence, we propose a combined Visual and Textual Question Answering (VTQA) model which takes as input a paragraph caption as well as the corresponding image, and answers the given question based on both inputs. In our model, the inputs are fused to extract related information by cross-attention (early fusion), then fused again in the form of consensus (late fusion), and finally expected answers are given an extra score to enhance the chance of selection (later fusion). Empirical results show that paragraph captions, even when automatically generated (via an RL-based encoder-decoder model), help correctly answer more visual questions. Overall, our joint model, when trained on the Visual Genome dataset, significantly improves the VQA performance over a strong baseline model. 
    more » « less
  4. Visual Question Answering (VQA) is a fundamental task in computer vision and natural language process fields. Although the “pre-training & finetuning” learning paradigm significantly improves the VQA performance, the adversarial robustness of such a learning paradigm has not been explored. In this paper, we delve into a new problem: using a pre-trained multimodal source model to create adversarial image-text pairs and then transferring them to attack the target VQA models. Correspondingly, we propose a novel VQATTACK model, which can iteratively generate both im- age and text perturbations with the designed modules: the large language model (LLM)-enhanced image attack and the cross-modal joint attack module. At each iteration, the LLM-enhanced image attack module first optimizes the latent representation-based loss to generate feature-level image perturbations. Then it incorporates an LLM to further enhance the image perturbations by optimizing the designed masked answer anti-recovery loss. The cross-modal joint attack module will be triggered at a specific iteration, which updates the image and text perturbations sequentially. Notably, the text perturbation updates are based on both the learned gradients in the word embedding space and word synonym-based substitution. Experimental results on two VQA datasets with five validated models demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed VQATTACK in the transferable attack setting, compared with state-of-the-art baselines. This work revealsa significant blind spot in the “pre-training & fine-tuning” paradigm on VQA tasks. The source code can be found in the link

    more » « less
  5. Visual question answering (VQA) requires systems to perform concept-level reasoning by unifying unstructured (e.g., the context in question and answer; “QA context”) and structured (e.g., knowledge graph for the QA context and scene; “concept graph”) multimodal knowledge. Existing works typically combine a scene graph and a concept graph of the scene by connecting corresponding visual nodes and concept nodes, then incorporate the QA context representation to perform question answering. However, these methods only perform a unidirectional fusion from unstructured knowledge to structured knowledge, limiting their potential to capture joint reasoning over the heterogeneous modalities of knowledge. To perform more expressive reasoning, we propose VQA-GNN, a new VQA model that performs bidirectional fusion between unstructured and structured multimodal knowledge to obtain unified knowledge representations. Specifically, we inter-connect the scene graph and the concept graph through a super node that represents the QA context, and introduce a new multimodal GNN technique to perform inter-modal message passing for reasoning that mitigates representational gaps between modalities. On two challenging VQA tasks (VCR and GQA), our method outperforms strong baseline VQA methods by 3.2% on VCR (Q-AR) and 4.6% on GQA, suggesting its strength in performing concept-level reasoning. Ablation studies further demonstrate the efficacy of the bidirectional fusion and multimodal GNN method in unifying unstructured and structured multimodal knowledge. 
    more » « less