Matching Words and Pictures

Kobus Barnard, Pinar Duygulu, David Forsyth, Nando De Freitas, David M. Blei, Michael I. Jordan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1287 Scopus citations


We present a new approach for modeling multi-modal data sets, focusing on the specific case of segmented images with associated text. Learning the joint distribution of image regions and words has many applications. We consider in detail predicting words associated with whole images (auto-annotation) and corresponding to particular image regions (region naming). Auto-annotation might help organize and access large collections of images. Region naming is a model of object recognition as a process of translating image regions to words, much as one might translate from one language to another. Learning the relationships between image regions and semantic correlates (words) is an interesting example of multi-modal data mining, particularly because it is typically hard to apply data mining techniques to collections of images. We develop a number of models for the joint distribution of image regions and words, including several which explicitly learn the correspondence between regions and words. We study multi-modal and correspondence extensions to Hofmann's hierarchical clustering/aspect model, a translation model adapted from statistical machine translation (Brown et al.), and a multi-modal extension to mixture of latent Dirichlet allocation (MoM-LDA). All models are assessed using a large collection of annotated images of real scenes. We study in depth the difficult problem of measuring performance. For the annotation task, we look at prediction performance on held out data. We present three alternative measures, oriented toward different types of task. Measuring the performance of correspondence methods is harder, because one must determine whether a word has been placed on the right region of an image. We can use annotation performance as a proxy measure, but accurate measurement requires hand labeled data, and thus must occur on a smaller scale. We show results using both an annotation proxy, and manually labeled data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1107-1135
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Machine Learning Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 15 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Statistics and Probability


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