We develop a fine-grained image classifier using a general deep convolutional neural network (DCNN). We improve the fine-grained image classification accuracy of a DCNN model from the following two aspects. First, to better model the h-level hierarchical label structure of the fine-grained image classes contained in the given training data set, we introduce h fully connected (fc) layers to replace the top fc layer of a given DCNN model and train them with the cascaded softmax loss. Second, we propose a novel loss function, namely, generalized large-margin (GLM) loss, to make the given DCNN model explicitly explore the hierarchical label structure and the similarity regularities of the fine-grained image classes. The GLM loss explicitly not only reduces between-class similarity and within-class variance of the learned features by DCNN models but also makes the subclasses belonging to the same coarse class be more similar to each other than those belonging to different coarse classes in the feature space. Moreover, the proposed fine-grained image classification framework is independent and can be applied to any DCNN structures. Comprehensive experimental evaluations of several general DCNN models (AlexNet, GoogLeNet and VGG) using three benchmark data sets (Stanford car, fine-grained visual classification-aircraft and CUB-200-2011) for the fine-grained image classification task demonstrate the effectiveness of our method.
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