S$^2$FPR: Crowd Counting via Self-Supervised Coarse to Fine Feature Pyramid Ranking

Jiaqi Gao, Zhizhong Huang, Yiming Lei, James Z. Wang, Fei-yue Wang, Junping Zhang

Most conventional crowd counting methods utilize a fully-supervised learning framework to learn a mapping between scene images and crowd density maps. Under the circumstances of such fully-supervised training settings, a large quantity of expensive and time-consuming pixel-level annotations are required to generate density maps as the supervision. One way to reduce costly labeling is to exploit self-structural information and inner-relations among unlabeled images. Unlike the previous methods utilizing these relations and structural information from the original image level, we explore such self-relations from the latent feature spaces because it can extract more abundant relations and structural information. Specifically, we propose S$^2$FPR which can extract structural information and learn partial orders of coarse-to-fine pyramid features in the latent space for better crowd counting with massive unlabeled images. In addition, we collect a new unlabeled crowd counting dataset (FUDAN-UCC) with 4,000 images in total for training. One by-product is that our proposed S$^2$FPR method can leverage numerous partial orders in the latent space among unlabeled images to strengthen the model representation capability and reduce the estimation errors for the crowd counting task. Extensive experiments on four benchmark datasets, i.e. the UCF-QNRF, the ShanghaiTech PartA and PartB, and the UCF-CC-50, show the effectiveness of our method compared with previous semi-supervised methods. The source code and dataset are available at https://github.com/bridgeqiqi/S2FPR.

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