Alignment efficient image-sentence retrieval considering transferable cross-modal representation learning

Yang Yang, Jinyi Guo, Guangyu Li, Lanyu Li, Wenjie Li, Jian Yang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Traditional image-sentence cross-modal retrieval methods usually aim to learn consistent representations of heterogeneous modalities, thereby to search similar instances in one modality according to the query from another modality in result. The basic assumption behind these methods is that parallel multi-modal data (i.e., different modalities of the same example are aligned) can be obtained in prior. In other words, the image-sentence cross-modal retrieval task is a supervised task with the alignments as ground-truths. However, in many real-world applications, it is difficult to realign a large amount of parallel data for new scenarios due to the substantial labor costs, leading the non-parallel multi-modal data and existing methods cannot be used directly. On the other hand, there actually exists auxiliary parallel multi-modal data with similar semantics, which can assist the non-parallel data to learn the consistent representations. Therefore, in this paper, we aim at “Alignment Efficient Image-Sentence Retrieval” (AEIR), which recurs to the auxiliary parallel image-sentence data as the source domain data, and takes the non-parallel data as the target domain data. Unlike single-modal transfer learning, AEIR learns consistent image-sentence cross-modal representations of target domain by transferring the alignments of existing parallel data. Specifically, AEIR learns the image-sentence consistent representations in source domain with parallel data, while transferring the alignment knowledge across domains by jointly optimizing a novel designed cross-domain cross-modal metric learning based constraint with intra-modal domain adversarial loss. Consequently, we can effectively learn the consistent representations for target domain considering both the structure and semantic transfer. Furthermore, extensive experiments on different transfer scenarios validate that AEIR can achieve better retrieval results comparing with the baselines.

Original languageEnglish
Article number181335
Pages (from-to)1-15
JournalFrontiers of Computer Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024


  • image-sentence retrieval
  • semantic transfer
  • structure transfer
  • transfer learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


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