Five Papers From The Computer Vision Group Accepted To ICCV 2023

Research papers from the Computer Vision Group were accepted to the International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV ’23), the premiere international conference that includes computer vision workshops and tutorials.


ViperGPT: Visual Inference via Python Execution for Reasoning
Dídac Surís Columbia University, Sachit Menon Columbia University, Carl Vondrick Columbia University

Answering visual queries is a complex task that requires both visual processing and reasoning. End-to-end models, the dominant approach for this task, do not explicitly differentiate between the two, limiting interpretability and generalization. Learning modular programs presents a promising alternative, but has proven challenging due to the difficulty of learning both the programs and modules simultaneously. We introduce ViperGPT, a framework that leverages code-generation models to compose vision-and-language models into subroutines to produce a result for any query. ViperGPT utilizes a provided API to access the available modules, and composes them by generating Python code that is later executed. This simple approach requires no further training, and achieves state-of-the-art results across various complex visual tasks.


Zero-1-to-3: Zero-shot One Image to 3D Object
Ruoshi Liu Columbia University, Rundi Wu Columbia University, Basile Van Hoorick Columbia University, Pavel Tokmakov Toyota Research Institute, Sergey Zakharov Toyota Research Institute, Carl Vondrick Columbia University

We introduce Zero-1-to-3, a framework for changing the camera viewpoint of an object given just a single RGB image. To perform novel view synthesis in this under-constrained setting, we capitalize on the geometric priors that large-scale diffusion models learn about natural images. Our conditional diffusion model uses a synthetic dataset to learn controls of the relative camera viewpoint, which allow new images to be generated of the same object under a specified camera transformation. Even though it is trained on a synthetic dataset, our model retains a strong zero-shot generalization ability to out-of-distribution datasets as well as in-the-wild images, including impressionist paintings. Our viewpoint-conditioned diffusion approach can further be used for the task of 3D reconstruction from a single image. Qualitative and quantitative experiments show that our method significantly outperforms state-of-the-art single-view 3D reconstruction and novel view synthesis models by leveraging Internet-scale pre-training.


Muscles in Action
Mia Chiquier Columbia University, Carl Vondrick Columbia University

Human motion is created by, and constrained by, our muscles. We take a first step at building computer vision methods that represent the internal muscle activity that causes motion. We present a new dataset, Muscles in Action (MIA), to learn to incorporate muscle activity into human motion representations. The dataset consists of 12.5 hours of synchronized video and surface electromyography (sEMG) data of 10 subjects performing various exercises. Using this dataset, we learn a bidirectional representation that predicts muscle activation from video, and conversely, reconstructs motion from muscle activation. We evaluate our model on in-distribution subjects and exercises, as well as on out-of-distribution subjects and exercises. We demonstrate how advances in modeling both modalities jointly can serve as conditioning for muscularly consistent motion generation. Putting muscles into computer vision systems will enable richer models of virtual humans, with applications in sports, fitness, and AR/VR.


SurfsUp: Learning Fluid Simulation for Novel Surfaces
Arjun Mani Columbia University, Ishaan Preetam Chandratreya Columbia University, Elliot Creager University of Toronto, Carl Vondrick Columbia University, Richard Zemel Columbia University

Modeling the mechanics of fluid in complex scenes is vital to applications in design, graphics, and robotics. Learning-based methods provide fast and differentiable fluid simulators, however most prior work is unable to accurately model how fluids interact with genuinely novel surfaces not seen during training. We introduce SURFSUP, a framework that represents objects implicitly using signed distance functions (SDFs), rather than an explicit representation of meshes or particles. This continuous representation of geometry enables more accurate simulation of fluid-object interactions over long time periods while simultaneously making computation more efficient. Moreover, SURFSUP trained on simple shape primitives generalizes considerably out-of-distribution, even to complex real-world scenes and objects. Finally, we show we can invert our model to design simple objects to manipulate fluid flow.


Landscape Learning for Neural Network Inversion
Ruoshi Liu Columbia University, Chengzhi Mao Columbia University, Purva Tendulkar Columbia University, Hao Wang Rutgers University, Carl Vondrick Columbia University

Many machine learning methods operate by inverting a neural network at inference time, which has become a popular technique for solving inverse problems in computer vision, robotics, and graphics. However, these methods often involve gradient descent through a highly non-convex loss landscape, causing the optimization process to be unstable and slow. We introduce a method that learns a loss landscape where gradient descent is efficient, bringing massive improvement and acceleration to the inversion process. We demonstrate this advantage on a number of methods for both generative and discriminative tasks, including GAN inversion, adversarial defense, and 3D human pose reconstruction.


AI Learns to Predict Human Behavior from Videos

Assistant Professor Carl Vondrick, Didac Souris, and Ruoshi Liu developed a computer vision algorithm for predicting human interactions and body language in video, a capability that could have applications for assistive technology, autonomous vehicles, and collaborative robots.

Carl Vondrick Wins NSF CAREER Award

Assistant Professor Carl Vondrick has won the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development award for his proposal program to develop machine perception systems that robustly detect and track objects even when they disappear from sight, thereby enabling machines to build spatial awareness of their surroundings.