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I am trying to implement bilinear interpolation as described in the paper Spatial Tranformer Networks by Jaderberg et. al (see link to paper). They describe bilinear interpolation in Equation 5 as:

$$ V_i^c = \sum_{n}^{H}\sum_{m}^{W} U_{nm}^c \max(0,1-|x_i^s - m|)\cdot\max(0,1-|y_i^s - n|), $$ where:

  • $V_i^c$ is the resulting pixel value in the new image
  • $H$ and $W$ are the height and width of the original image (or feature map) in pixels
  • $c$ refers to the channel (e.g. RGB)
  • $(x_i^s, y_i^s)$ are the coordinates where the original image is sampled (where the image is normalized such that $-1 \le x_i^s, y_i^s\le 1$)
  • $U_{nm}^c$ is defined as the pixel value at location $(n,m)$ in channel $c$.

I am having trouble interpreting the variables $n$ and $m$. Are these

  • coordinates in the normalized image (i.e. $-1 \le n, m\le 1$, where you would sum $n$ from $n=-1$ to $H=1$ in steps of the normalized resolution, e.g. steps of $1/100$ for an image that is 100 px in height)
  • or are these row and column values (e.g. you sum $n$ from $n=0$ to $n=100$ for an image that is 100px in height)?

I have tried out both to do downsampling of an image, but don't get consistent results.

If someone can help me out interpreting this, I would appreciate it very much.

Below I have included what I understand of bilinear interpolation. Maybe that someone can help me out based on this.


In the below figure, a single channel feature map (or image) with one channel is displayed that consists of four pixels with values $ U_{nm} $, where $ n $ and $ m $ are the coordinates of the center of the pixels, i.e. $ m,n \in \{-0.5, 0.5\} $. If we index $ m $ and $ n $ as $ m_k, n_k $, with $ k \in [1,4] $, we can also index the pixel values as $ U_{n_km_k} $. The values of all four pixels can be reduced to a single value $ V $ at position $ (x_i^s, y_i^s) $ by applying bilinear interpolation. Bilinear Interpolation

The procedure can be divided into three linear interpolations. First the value $ U_1' $ at position $ (x_{U_1'}, y_{U_1'}) $ can be computed by interpolating the values $ U_{n_1m_1} $ and $ U_{n_2m_2} $: \begin{equation} U_1' = \Delta x_2\ U_{n_1m_1} + \Delta x_1\ U_{n_2m_2}. \end{equation} As the sum of $ \Delta x_1 $ and $ \Delta x_2 $ is equal to one, due to normalization of the axes, the above equation can be rewritten as: \begin{equation} U_1' = (1-\Delta x_1) U_{n_1m_1} + (1-\Delta x_2) U_{n_2m_2}. \end{equation} The terms $ \Delta x_1 $ and $ \Delta x_2 $ can be expressed as: \begin{align} \Delta x_1 = |x_i^s - {m_1}|\\ \Delta x_2 = |x_i^s - {m_2}|, \end{align} which, substituted into the equation for $U_1'$ yields: \begin{equation} U_1' = U_{n_1m_1}(1-|x_i^s - {m_1}|) + U_{n_2m_2}(1-|x_i^s - {m_2}|). \end{equation}

Similarly the value for $ U_2' $ can be computed: \begin{equation} U_2' = U_{n_3m_3}(1-|x_i^s - {m_3}|) + U_{n_4m_4}(1-|x_i^s - {m_4}|). \end{equation}

Once $ U_1' $ and $ U_2' $ have been computed, $ V $ can be determined by linearly interpolating $ U_1' $ and $ U_2' $: \begin{equation} V = U_1'(1-\Delta y_1) + U_2'(1-\Delta y_2) . \end{equation} The values for $ \Delta y_1 $ and $ \Delta y_2 $ can be expressed as follows: \begin{align} \Delta y_1 = |y_i^s - y_{U_1'}| = |y_i^s - {n_1}| = |y_i^s - {n_2}|\\ \Delta y_2 = |y_i^s - y_{U_2'}| = |y_i^s - {n_3}| = |y_i^s - {n_4}| . \end{align}

Substituting the above equations and those of $\Delta x_1$ and $\Delta x_2$ into the equation for $V$ yields: \begin{equation} \begin{split} V &= U_{n_1m_1}\cdot (1-|x_i^s - {m_1}|) \cdot (1-|y_i^s - {n_1}|) \\ &+ U_{n_2m_2}\cdot (1-|x_i^s - {m_2}|) \cdot (1-|y_i^s - {n_2}|) \\ &+ U_{n_3m_3}\cdot (1-|x_i^s - {m_3}|) \cdot (1-|y_i^s - {n_3}|) \\ &+ U_{n_4m_4}\cdot (1-|x_i^s - {m_4}|) \cdot (1-|y_i^s - {n_4}|), \end{split} \end{equation} which can be written more compactly as: \begin{equation} \begin{split} V &= \sum_{k=1}^{4} U_{n_km_k} \cdot (1-|x_i^s - {m_k}|) \cdot (1-|y_i^s - {n_k}|)\\ &=\sum_{n}^{H}\sum_{m}^{W} U_{nm} \cdot (1-|x_i^s - {m}|) \cdot (1-|y_i^s - {n}|). \end{split} \end{equation}


Edit to clarify my comment to @D.W.

Initially I also thought that $n$ and $m$ are row and column indices as you normally do a summation over integer values. Also the summation is up to $H$ and $W$, respectively, which are the # of rows and # of columns. So it seems logical to think that $\sum_{n=1}^{H = \#rows}\sum_{m=1}^{W = \#columns}$, with $n=1,2,3,...,H $ and $m=1,2,3,...,W$.

However, when you apply it in this way, the terms within the summation will always be zero. This is because of the condition $-1 \le x_i^s, y_i^s \le 1$. Taking the example in the figure where $(x_i^s, y_i^s) = (-0,25, 0,25)$, we have: \begin{equation} \begin{split} V &= \sum_{n}^{H}\sum_{m}^{W} U_{nm}\cdot \max(0, 1-|x_i^s-m|)\cdot \max(0, 1-|y_i^s-n|) \\ &= U_{11}\cdot \max(0, 1-|-0.25-1|)\cdot \max(0, 1-|0.25-1|)\\ &+ U_{12}\cdot \max(0, 1-|-0.25-2|)\cdot \max(0, 1-|0.25-1|)\\ &+ U_{21}\cdot \max(0, 1-|-0.25-1|)\cdot \max(0, 1-|0.25-2|)\\ &+ U_{22}\cdot \max(0, 1-|-0.25-2|)\cdot \max(0, 1-|0.25-2|)\\ &= U_{11}\cdot 0 + U_{12}\cdot 0 + U_{21}\cdot 0 + U_{22}\cdot 0= 0 \end{split} \end{equation} When you have $n$ go from $n=0$ to $H-1$ (and similarly for $m$), it does work in this (simple) example, which would lead to concluding that $n$ and $m$ should start from zero.

However, when you try to apply this to an image which is larger than 2x2 pixels, you get a similar problem than the one for $n=1, ..., H$, i.e. all elements within the summation will be zero when $n>0$ and $m>0$.

To clarify this, look at the below image. Here the original image is an 8x8 image with pixels depicted by black squares. We wish to downsample the image to a 6x6 image, depicted by the dashed red squares. If we want to compute the value of the pixel marked by the pink star with coordinates $(x_1^s, y_1^s) = (-0.833, 0.833)$, we would have: \begin{equation} \begin{split} V_{1} &= \sum_{n}^{H}\sum_{m}^{W} U_{nm}\cdot \max(0, 1-|x_1^s-m|)\cdot \max(0, 1-|y_1^s-n|) \\ &= U_{00}\cdot \max(0, 1-|-0.833-0|)\cdot \max(0, 1-|0.833-0|)\\ &+ U_{01}\cdot \max(0, 1-|-0.833-1|)\cdot \max(0, 1-|0.833-0|)\\ &+ U_{02}\cdot \max(0, 1-|-0.833-2|)\cdot \max(0, 1-|0.833-0|)\\ &+ ...\\ &+ U_{10}\cdot \max(0, 1-|-0.833-0|)\cdot \max(0, 1-|0.833-1|)\\ &+ U_{11}\cdot \max(0, 1-|-0.833-1|)\cdot \max(0, 1-|0.833-1|)\\ &+ ...\\ &+ U_{77}\cdot \max(0, 1-|-0.833-7|)\cdot \max(0, 1-|0.833-7|)\\ &= U_{00}\cdot 0.167^2 + U_{10}\cdot 0.167\cdot 0.833, \end{split} \end{equation} which is only a function of $U_{00}$ and $U_{10}$ and not of $U_{00}$, $U_{01}$, $U_{10}$ and $U_{11}$ as one would reason.

If we look at the blue star with coordinates $(x_{49}^s, y_{49}^s) = (0.833, -0.833)$ and apply the same equation, we have: \begin{equation} \begin{split} V_{49} &= \sum_{n}^{H}\sum_{m}^{W} U_{nm}\cdot \max(0, 1-|x_{49}^s-m|)\cdot \max(0, 1-|y_{49}^s-n|) \\ &= U_{00}\cdot \max(0, 1-|0.833-0|)\cdot \max(0, 1-|-0.833-0|)\\ &+ U_{01}\cdot \max(0, 1-|0.833-1|)\cdot \max(0, 1-|-0.833-0|)\\ &+ U_{02}\cdot \max(0, 1-|0.833-2|)\cdot \max(0, 1-|-0.833-0|)\\ &+ ...\\ &+ U_{10}\cdot \max(0, 1-|0.833-0|)\cdot \max(0, 1-|-0.833-1|)\\ &+ U_{11}\cdot \max(0, 1-|0.833-1|)\cdot \max(0, 1-|-0.833-1|)\\ &+ ...\\ &+ U_{77}\cdot \max(0, 1-|0.833-7|)\cdot \max(0, 1-|-0.833-7|)\\ &= U_{00}\cdot 0.167^2 + U_{01}\cdot 0.833\cdot 0.167, \end{split} \end{equation} which again is only function of $U_{00}$ and $U_{01}$ and not of $U_{66}$, $U_{67}$, $U_{76}$ and $U_{77}$ as one would expect.

I have also tried normalizing $n$ and $m$, such that $n =-1, -1+ 2/8, -1 +4/8, ..., 1$ (and similarly for $m$, but I end up with similar problems. New image

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Yeah, the notation there does seem pretty hard to understand. I suspect they mean row/column indices.

When they write $\sum_n^H$, I would guess that they mean $\sum_{n=1}^H$, i.e., a sum where $n$ ranges over the values $1,2,3,\dots,H-1,H$.

Why do I guess this? They say in Section 3.1 that the image has width $W$ and height $H$ and can be viewed as an element of $\mathbb{R}^{H \times W \times C}$, which means that $H$ is the number of rows of the image (its height in pixels). Thus, I can't see any other interpretation of their notation that makes sense to me.

It looks like they might be being inconsistent about when they are using row/column indices vs normalized coordinates. For instance, in (4) and (5) it seems like they are using row/column indices. (As a consequence, the sampling methods choose the interpolated/sampled value for a pixel based only on neighboring pixels... not based on the entire image. That makes sense given how we'd expect bilinear sampling to work.) In contrast, Section 3.2 seems to be written using normalized coordinates. Perhaps they are assuming you'll be able to figure out what they mean from context and then convert between the two representations as necessary. However, for (5), it appears that everything is done using row/column indices.

These are just my guesses.

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  • $\begingroup$ Initially, I thought the same. However, when you apply it in this way, the terms within the summation will always be zero. This is because of the condition $-1 \le x_i^s, y_i^s \le 1$. I have added an example at the end of my post to clarify this. $\endgroup$ – user2835098 Sep 30 '17 at 11:24
  • $\begingroup$ $x_i^s$ is only in the range $[-1,1]$ when it is in normalized coordinates. I believe you need to convert $x_i^s$ back to row/column indices before evaluating the expressions inside the summation. (This is what I mean when I say they are assuming you'll convert between the two representations as necessary.) I think that might fix the problem you are talking about, but I haven't checked the details. $\endgroup$ – D.W. Sep 30 '17 at 23:33
  • $\begingroup$ I have tried that, but it has the same problems. Take the second figure of my question: \begin{equation}\begin{split} V_1&=U_{00}\max(0,1-|0-0|)\max(0,1-|0-0|)\\ &+U_{01}\max(0,1-|0-1|)\max(0,1-|0-0|)\\ &+...\\ &=U_{00}. \end{split}\end{equation} This should be a function of $U_{00}$, $U_{01}$, $U_{10}$ and $U_{11}$ and not only $U_{00}$. Similar for all other $V_i$'s. Unfortunately this doesn't solve the problem. I think this is what you meant, right? $\endgroup$ – user2835098 Oct 2 '17 at 7:34
  • $\begingroup$ @user2835098, why do you think it should depend on all four of those and not just $U_{00}$? Depending on just $U_{00}$ seems reasonable to me: if you already know the value of the signal at that location, use it directly. It's just when you're trying to predict the value in between pixels that you need to interpolate. $\endgroup$ – D.W. Oct 2 '17 at 13:56
  • $\begingroup$ I think it would depend on $U_{00}$, $U_{01}$, $U_{10}$ and $U_{11}$ because the top left red square falls in the domain of those pixels and should contain information proportional to the area it falls over. Otherwise, you would have information loss. Also, if you take the red right-top pixel, $V_5$, and work out the equations, it would be equal to $U_{55}$, i.e. very far from where it should be (in my reasoning $U_{06}$, $U_{07}$, $U_{16}$ and $U_{07}$). $\endgroup$ – user2835098 Oct 2 '17 at 15:06

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