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Towards Optimal Deep Hashing via Policy Gradient

Xin Yuan, Liangliang Ren, Jiwen Lu, and Jie Zhou. ECCV 2018

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ECCV Deep Learning

In this paper, we propose a simple yet effective relaxation free method to learn more effective binary codes via policy gradient for scalable image search. While a variety of deep hashing methods have been proposed in recent years, most of them are confronted by the dilemma to obtain optimal binary codes in a truly end-to-end manner with nonsmooth sign activations. Unlike existing methods which usually employ a general relaxation framework to adapt to the gradient-based algorithms, our approach formulates the non-smooth part of the hashing network as sampling with a stochastic policy, so that the retrieval performance degradation caused by the relaxation can be avoided. Specifically, our method directly generates the binary codes and maximizes the expectation of rewards for similarity preservation, where the network can be trained directly via policy gradient. Hence, the differentiation challenge for discrete optimization can be naturally addressed, which leads to effective gradients and binary codes. Extensive experimental results on three benchmark datasets validate the effectiveness of the proposed method.