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The appearance of an attribute can vary considerably from class to class (e.g., a "fluffy" dog vs. a "fluffy" towel), making standard class-independent attribute models break down. Yet, training object-specific models for each attribute can be impractical, and defeats the purpose of using attributes to bridge category boundaries. We propose a novel form of transfer learning that addresses this dilemma. We develop a tensor factorization approach which, given a sparse set of class-specific attribute classifiers, can infer new ones for object-attribute pairs unobserved during training. For example, even though the system has no labeled images of striped dogs, it can use its knowledge of other attributes and objects to tailor "stripedness" to the dog category. With two large-scale datasets, we demonstrate both the need for category-sensitive attributes as well as our method's successful transfer. Our inferred attribute classifiers perform similarly well to those trained with the luxury of labeled class-specific instances, and much better than those restricted to traditional modes of transfer.
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