This is my first machine intelligence model. It looks good so far!


There are many images on the internet. A lot of people upload selfie-images to Instagram every day.   There are also many text data on the internet because Not only professionals writers but many people express their opinions on blogs and tweets. No one can see every image and text on the internet as it is a huge volume. In addition, images and texts sometimes have a relationship to each other. For example, people upload images and put explanations of them. Therefore I am always wondering how we can analyze both images and text at once.  There are several methods to do that. I choose image-captioning model out of these methods as it is easy to understand how it works.


1. What is an image-captioning model?

Before I start the project on image captioning, I performed computer vision projects and Natural language projects independently.  Computer vision means to classify cats and dogs or detect a specific type of cars and distinguish each of them from other types of cars. I also develop natural language models such as sentiment analysis of movie reviews. Image-captioning model is a kind of combined model of “computer vision and natural language model”.  Let us see the chart below.


A computer takes a picture as input. Then the encoder extracts features from the picture that is taken.  “feature” means the characteristics of an object”. Based on these features, the decoder generates sentences which describes what the picture tells us. This is how our “image-captioning” model works.


2. How can we find the template of “image captioning model” and modify it?

I found a good framework to develop our image-captioning models. It is “colab” provided by Google. Although it is free to use, there are many templates to start with the projects and GPU is available in it for research/interaction usages. It can provide us with a computational power to be required for developing image-captioning models. I found the original template of image-captioning in colab. The template is awesome as “the attention mechanism” is implemented. It uses inceptionV3 as an encoder and GRU as a decoder. But I would like to try other methods. I modify this template a little to change from inceptionV3 to densenet121 and from GRU to LSTM.  Let us see how it works on my experiment!


3. The results after 3-hour-training

Here is one of the outputs from my experiment of our image-captioning model. It says “a couple of two sugar covered in chocolate frosting are laid on top of a wooden table”. Although it is not perfect, it works very well.  When we input more data and computation time, it should be more accurate.



This is the first step toward machine intelligence.  Of course, it is a long way to go.  But the combined images and texts, I believe we can develop many cool applications in the future. In addition, I found that “the attention mechanism” is very powerful to extract relevant information. I would like to focus on this mechanism to improve our algorithms going forward. Stay tuned!


(1) Olah&Carter, “Attention and Augmented Recurrent Neural Networks“, Distill, 2016.


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