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  1. Object proposal generation serves as a standard pre-processing step in Vision-Language (VL) tasks (image captioning, visual question answering, etc.). The performance of object proposals generated for VL tasks is currently evaluated across all available annotations, a protocol that we show is misaligned - higher scores do not necessarily correspond to improved performance on downstream VL tasks. Our work serves as a study of this phenomenon and explores the effectiveness of semantic grounding to mitigate its effects. To this end, we propose evaluating object proposals against only a subset of available annotations, selected by thresholding an annotation importance score. Importance of object annotations to VL tasks is quantified by extracting relevant semantic information from text describing the image. We show that our method is consistent and demonstrates greatly improved alignment with annotations selected by image captioning metrics and human annotation when compared against existing techniques. Lastly, we compare current detectors used in the Scene Graph Generation (SGG) benchmark as a use case, which serves as an example of when traditional object proposal evaluation techniques are misaligned. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 4, 2025
  2. We investigate knowledge retrieval with multi-modal queries, i.e. queries containing information split across image and text inputs, a challenging task that differs from previous work on cross-modal retrieval. We curate a new dataset called ReMuQ for benchmarking progress on this task. ReMuQ requires a system to retrieve knowledge from a large corpus by integrating contents from both text and image queries. We introduce a retriever model “ReViz” that can directly process input text and images to retrieve relevant knowledge in an end-to-end fashion without being dependent on intermediate modules such as object detectors or caption generators. We introduce a new pretraining task that is effective for learning knowledge retrieval with multimodal queries and also improves performance on downstream tasks. We demonstrate superior performance in retrieval on two datasets (ReMuQ and OK-VQA) under zero-shot settings as well as further improvements when finetuned on these datasets. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2024
  3. Actions’ play a vital role in how humans interact with the world. Thus, autonomous agents that would assist us in everyday tasks also require the capability to perform ‘Reasoning about Actions & Change’ (RAC). This has been an important research direction in Artificial Intelligence (AI) in general, but the study of RAC with visual and linguistic inputs is relatively recent. The CLEVR_HYP is one such testbed for hypothetical vision-language reasoning with actions as the key focus. In this work, we propose a novel learning strategy that can improve reasoning about the effects of actions. We implement an encoder-decoder architecture to learn the representation of actions as vectors. We combine the aforementioned encoder-decoder architecture with existing modality parsers and a scene graph question answering model to evaluate our proposed system on the CLEVR_HYP dataset. We conduct thorough experiments to demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed approach and discuss its advantages over previous baselines in terms of performance, data efficiency, and generalization capability. 
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  4. Recent studies demonstrated the vulnerability of control policies learned through deep reinforcement learning against adversarial attacks, raising concerns about the application of such models to risk-sensitive tasks such as autonomous driving. Threat models for these demonstrations are limited to (1) targeted attacks through real-time manipulation of the agent's observation, and (2) untargeted attacks through manipulation of the physical environment. The former assumes full access to the agent's states/observations at all times, while the latter has no control over attack outcomes. This paper investigates the feasibility of targeted attacks through visually learned patterns placed on physical objects in the environment, a threat model that combines the practicality and effectiveness of the existing ones. Through analysis, we demonstrate that a pre-trained policy can be hijacked within a time window, e.g., performing an unintended self-parking, when an adversarial object is present. To enable the attack, we adopt an assumption that the dynamics of both the environment and the agent can be learned by the attacker. Lastly, we empirically show the effectiveness of the proposed attack on different driving scenarios, perform a location robustness test, and study the tradeoff between the attack strength and its effectiveness Code is available at https://github.com/ASU-APG/ Targeted-Physical-Adversarial-Attacks-on-AD 
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  5. Generative models are now capable of synthesizing images, speeches, and videos that are hardly distinguishable from authentic contents. Such capabilities cause concerns such as malicious impersonation and IP theft. This paper investigates a solution for model attribution, i.e., the classification of synthetic contents by their source models via watermarks embedded in the contents. Building on past success of model attribution in the image domain, we discuss algorithmic improvements for generating user-end speech models that empirically achieve high attribution accuracy, while maintaining high generation quality. We show the tradeoff between attributability and generation quality under a variety of attacks on generated speech signals attempting to remove the watermarks, and the feasibility of learning robust watermarks against these attacks. 
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