Thursday, September 9, 2010 - Beta

screenshotAs digital information is increasingly becoming multimodal, the days of single-language text-only retrieval are numbered. Take as an example Wikipedia where a single topic may be covered in several languages and include non-textual media such as image, sound, and video. Moreover, non-textual media may be annotated with text in several languages in a variety of metadata fields such as object caption, description, comment, and filename. Current search engines usually focus on limited numbers of modalities at a time, e.g.\ English text queries on English text or maybe on textual annotations of other media as well, not making use of all information available. Final rankings are usually results of fusion of individual modalities, a task which is tricky at best especially when noisy or incomplete modalities are involved.


In this web site we present the experimental multimodal search engine, which allows multimedia and multilingual queries in a single search and makes use of the total available information in a multimodal collection. All modalities are indexed separately and searched in parallel, and results can be fused with different methods depending on

  • the noise and completeness characteristics of the modalities in a collection,
  • whether the user is in a need of initial precision or high recall.

Beyond fusion, we also provide 2-stage retrieval by first thresholding the results obtained by secondary modalities, targeting recall, and then re-ranking the results based on the primary modality.

The engine demonstrates the feasibility of the proposed architecture and methods on the ImageCLEF 2010 Wikipedia collection. The primary modality is image, consisting of 237434 items, associated with noisy and incomplete user-supplied textual annotations and the Wikipedia articles containing the images. Associated modalities are written in any combination of English, German, French, or any other unidentified language.


structure The web application is developed in the C#/.NET Framework 4.0 and requires a fairly modern browser as the underlying technologies which are employed for the interface are HTML, CSS and JavaScript (AJAX). The user provides image and text queries through the web interface which are dispatched in parallel to the associated databases. Retrieval results are obtained from each of the databases, fused into a single listing, and presented to the user.

Users can supply no, single, or multiple query images in a single search, resulting in 2*i active image modalities, where i is the number of query images. Similarly, users can supply no text query or queries in any combination of the 3 languages, resulting in5*l active text modalities, where l is the number query languages: each supplied language results to 4 modalities, one per field, plus the name modality which we are matching with any language. The current beta version assumes that the user provides multilingual queries for a single search, while operationally query translation may be done automatically.

The results from each modality are fused by one of the supported methods. Fusion consists of two components: score normalization and combination. We provide two linear normalization methods, MinMax and Z-score, the ranked-based Borda Count in linear and non-linear forms, and the non-linear KIACDF.

We are currently planning controlled experiments in order to obtain a more concrete comparative evaluation of the effectiveness of the implemented methods. For enhancing efficiency, the multiple indices may easily be moved to different hosts.

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