Welcome to the Video, Image, and Sound Analysis Lab (VISAL) at the City University of Hong Kong! The lab is directed by Dr. Antoni Chan in the Department of Computer Science.

Our main research activities include:

  • Computer Vision, Surveillance
  • Machine Learning, Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Audition, Music Information Retrieval
  • Eye Gaze Analysis

For more information about our current research, please visit the projects and publication pages.

Opportunities for graduate students and research assistants – if you are interested in joining the lab, please check this information.

Latest News [more]

  • [Nov 1, 2018]

    Congratulations to Lei for defending her thesis!

  • [Jun 28, 2016]

    Congratulations to Sijin for defending his thesis!

  • [Jun 25, 2016]

    Congratulations to Adeel for winning a “Best Research Paper Award 2013/14” from the Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan for his TPAMI 2013 paper!

  • [Apr 26, 2016]

    Congratulations to Huy for defending his Thesis!

Recent Publications [more]

Recent Project Pages [more]

Beyond Counting: Comparisons of Density Maps for Crowd Analysis Tasks – Counting, Detection, and Tracking

For crowded scenes, the accuracy of object-based computer vision methods declines when the images are low-resolution and objects have severe occlusions. Taking counting methods for example, almost all the recent state-of-the-art counting methods bypass explicit detection and adopt regression-based methods to directly count the objects of interest. Among regression-based methods, density map estimation, where the number of objects inside a subregion is the integral of the density map over that subregion, is especially promising because it preserves spatial information, which makes it useful for both counting and localization (detection and tracking). With the power of deep convolutional neural networks (CNNs) the counting performance has improved steadily. The goal of this paper is to evaluate density maps generated by density estimation methods on a variety of crowd analysis tasks, including counting, detection, and tracking.Most existing CNN methods produce density maps with resolution that is smaller than the original images, due to the downsample strides in the convolution/pooling operations. To produce an original-resolution density map, we also evaluate a classical CNN that uses a sliding window regressor to predict the density for every pixel in the image. We also consider a fully convolutional (FCNN) adaptation, with skip connections from lower convolutional layers to compensate for loss in spatial information during upsampling. In our experiments, we found that the lower-resolution density maps sometimes have better counting performance. In contrast, the original-resolution density maps improved localization tasks, such as detection and tracking, compared to bilinear upsampling the lower-resolution density maps. Finally, we also propose several metrics for measuring the quality of a density map, and relate them to experiment results on counting and localization.

 Selected Publications



Incorporating Side Information by Adaptive Convolution


Computer vision tasks often have side information available that is helpful to solve the task. For example, for crowd counting, the camera perspective (e.g., camera angle and height) gives a clue about the appearance and scale of people in the scene. While side information has been shown to be useful for counting systems using traditional hand-crafted features, it has not been fully utilized in counting systems based on deep learning. In order to incorporate the available side information, we propose an adaptive convolutional neural network (ACNN), where the convolution filter weights adapt to the current scene context via the side information. In particular, we model the filter weights as a low-dimensional manifold within the high-dimensional space of filter weights. The filter weights are generated using a learned “filter manifold” sub-network, whose input is the side information. With the help of side information and adaptive weights, the ACNN can disentangle the variations related to the side information, and extract discriminative features related to the current context (e.g. camera perspective, noise level, blur kernel parameters). We demonstrate the effectiveness of ACNN incorporating side information on 3 tasks: crowd counting, corrupted digit recognition, and image deblurring. Our experiments show that ACNN improves the performance compared to a plain CNN with a similar number of parameters. Since existing crowd counting datasets do not contain ground-truth side information, we collect a new dataset with the ground-truth camera angle and height as the side information.

Selected Publications



Crowd Counting by Adaptively Fusing Predictions from an Image Pyramid

Because of the powerful learning capability of deep neural networks, counting performance via density map estimation has improved significantly during the past several years. However, it is still very challenging due to severe occlusion, large scale variations, and perspective distortion. Scale variations (from image to image) coupled with perspective distortion (within one image) result in huge scale changes of the object size. Earlier methods based on convolutional neural networks (CNN) typically did not handle this scale variation explicitly, until Hydra-CNN and MCNN. MCNN uses three columns, each with different filter sizes, to extract features at different scales. In this paper, in contrast to using filters of different sizes, we utilize an image pyramid to deal with scale variations. It is more effective and efficient to resize the input fed into the network, as compared to using larger filter sizes. Secondly, we adaptively fuse the predictions from different scales (using adaptively changing per-pixel weights), which makes our method adapt to scale changes within an image. The adaptive fusing is achieved by generating an across-scale attention map, which softly selects a suitable scale for each pixel, followed by a 1×1 convolution. Extensive experiments on three popular datasets show very compelling results.

Selected Publications



Pyramid counting demos/results (BMVC paper)