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Hashing as Tie-Aware Learning to Rank

K. He, F. Cakir, S. Bargal, S. Sclaroff. CVPR 2018

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Hashing, or learning binary embeddings of data, is frequently used in nearest neighbor retrieval. In this paper, we develop learning to rank formulations for hashing, aimed at directly optimizing ranking-based evaluation metrics such as Average Precision (AP) and Normalized Discounted Cumulative Gain (NDCG). We first observe that the integer-valued Hamming distance often leads to tied rankings, and propose to use tie-aware versions of AP and NDCG to evaluate hashing for retrieval. Then, to optimize tie-aware ranking metrics, we derive their continuous relaxations, and perform gradient-based optimization with deep neural networks. Our results establish the new state-of-the-art for image retrieval by Hamming ranking in common benchmarks.