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In the real visual world, the number of categories a classifier needs to discriminate is on the order of hundreds or thousands. For example, the SUN dataset  contains 899 scene categories and ImageNet  has 15,589 synsets. Designing a multiclass classifier that is both accurate and fast at test time is an extremely important problem in both machine learning and computer vision communities. To achieve a good trade-off between accuracy and speed, we adopt the relaxed hierarchy structure from , where a set of binary classifiers are organized in a tree or DAG (directed acyclic graph) structure. At each node, classes are colored into positive and negative groups which are separated by a binary classifier while a subset of confusing classes is ignored. We color the classes and learn the induced binary classifier simultaneously using a unified and principled max-margin optimization. We provide an analysis on generalization error to justify our design. Our method has been tested on both Caltech-256 (object recognition)  and the SUN dataset (scene classification) , and shows significant improvement over existing methods.
Date of Conference: 6-13 Nov. 2011