Efficient Nearest Neighbor Classification Using a Cascade of Approximate Similarity Measures
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Nearest neighbor classification using shape context can yield highly accurate results in a number of recognition problems. Unfortunately, the approach can be too slow for practical applications, and thus approximation strategies are needed to make shape context practical. This paper proposes a method for efficient and accurate nearest neighbor classification in non-Euclidean spaces, such as the space induced by the shape context measure. First, a method is introduced for constructing a Euclidean embedding that is optimized for nearest neighbor classification accuracy. Using that embedding, multiple approximations of the underlying non-Euclidean similarity measure are obtained, at different levels of accuracy and efficiency. The approximations are automatically combined to form a cascade classifier, which applies the slower approximations only to the hardest cases. Unlike typical cascade-of-classifiers approaches, that are applied to binary classification problems, our method constructs a cascade for a multiclass problem. Experiments with a standard shape data set indicate that a two-to-three order of magnitude speed up is gained over the standard shape context classifier, with minimal losses in classification accuracy.