The process of training an image recognition system requires LOTS of images — millions and millions of them. The process involves feeding those images into a deep neural network, and during that process the network generates “features” from the image. These features might be versions of the image including just the outlines, or maybe the image with only the green parts. You could further boil those features down into a single number, say the length of the outline or the percentage of the image that is green. With enough of these “features”, you could use them in a traditional machine learning model to classify the images, or perform other recognition tasks.
But if you don’t have millions of images, it’s still possible to generate these features from a model that has already been trained on millions of images. ResNet is a very deep neural network model trained for the task of image recognition which has been used to win major computer-vision competitions. With the
rxFeaturizefunction in Microsoft R Client and Microsoft R Server, you can generate 4096 features from this model on any image you provide. The features themselves are meaningful only to a computer, but that vector of 4096 numbers between zero and one is (ideally) a distillation of the unique characteristics of that image as a human would recognize it. You can then use that features vector to create your own image-recognition system without the burden of training your own neural network on a large corpus of images.
Read the whole thing and follow David’s link to the Microsoft Cognitive blog for more details.