SOD-MTGAN: Small object detection via multi-task generative adversarial network

Yancheng Bai, Yongqiang Zhang*, Mingli Ding, Bernard Ghanem

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

103 Scopus citations


Object detection is a fundamental and important problem in computer vision. Although impressive results have been achieved on large/medium sized objects in large-scale detection benchmarks (e.g. the COCO dataset), the performance on small objects is far from satisfactory. The reason is that small objects lack sufficient detailed appearance information, which can distinguish them from the background or similar objects. To deal with the small object detection problem, we propose an end-to-end multi-task generative adversarial network (MTGAN). In the MTGAN, the generator is a super-resolution network, which can up-sample small blurred images into fine-scale ones and recover detailed information for more accurate detection. The discriminator is a multi-task network, which describes each super-resolved image patch with a real/fake score, object category scores, and bounding box regression offsets. Furthermore, to make the generator recover more details for easier detection, the classification and regression losses in the discriminator are back-propagated into the generator during training. Extensive experiments on the challenging COCO dataset demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method in restoring a clear super-resolved image from a blurred small one, and show that the detection performance, especially for small sized objects, improves over state-of-the-art methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationComputer Vision – ECCV 2018 - 15th European Conference, 2018, Proceedings
EditorsVittorio Ferrari, Cristian Sminchisescu, Yair Weiss, Martial Hebert
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9783030012601
StatePublished - 2018
Event15th European Conference on Computer Vision, ECCV 2018 - Munich, Germany
Duration: Sep 8 2018Sep 14 2018

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume11217 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference15th European Conference on Computer Vision, ECCV 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018.


  • COCO
  • Generative adversarial network
  • Multi-task
  • Small object detection
  • Super-resolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


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