The segmentation of nanoscale electron microscopy (EM) images is crucial but challenging in connectomics. Recent advances in deep learning have demonstrated the significant potential of automatic segmentation for tera-scale EM images. However, none of the existing segmentation methods are error-free, and they require proofreading, which is typically implemented as an interactive, semi-automatic process via manual intervention. Herein, we propose a fully automatic proofreading method based on reinforcement learning. The main idea is to model the human decision process in proofreading using a reinforcement agent to achieve fully automatic proofreading. We systematically design the proposed system by combining multiple reinforcement learning agents in a hierarchical manner, where each agent focuses only on a specific task while preserving dependency between agents. Furthermore, we also demonstrate that the episodic task setting of reinforcement learning can efficiently manage a combination of merge and split errors concurrently presented in the input. We demonstrate the efficacy of the proposed system by comparing it with state-of-the-art proofreading methods using various testing examples.
Solving complex, temporally-extended tasks is a long-standing problem in reinforcement learning (RL). We hypothesize that one critical element of solving such problems is the notion of compositionality. With the ability to learn concepts and sub-skills that can be composed to solve longer tasks, i.e. hierarchical RL, we can acquire temporally-extended behaviors. However, acquiring effective yet general abstractions for hierarchical RL is remarkably challenging. In this paper, we propose to use language as the abstraction, as it provides unique compositional structure, enabling fast learning and combinatorial generalization, while retaining tremendous flexibility, making it suitable for a variety of problems. Our approach learns an instruction-following low-level policy and a high-level policy that can reuse abstractions across tasks, in essence, permitting agents to reason using structured language. To study compositional task learning, we introduce an open-source object interaction environment built using the MuJoCo physics engine and the CLEVR engine. We find that, using our approach, agents can learn to solve to diverse, temporally-extended tasks such as object sorting and multi-object rearrangement, including from raw pixel observations. Our analysis find that the compositional nature of language is critical for learning diverse sub-skills and systematically generalizing to new sub-skills in comparison to non-compositional abstractions that use the same supervision.
Biomedical image segmentation is an important task in many medical applications. Segmentation methods based on convolutional neural networks attain state-of-the-art accuracy; however, they typically rely on supervised training with large labeled datasets. Labeling datasets of medical images requires significant expertise and time, and is infeasible at large scales. To tackle the lack of labeled data, researchers use techniques such as hand-engineered preprocessing steps, hand-tuned architectures, and data augmentation. However, these techniques involve costly engineering efforts, and are typically dataset-specific. We present an automated data augmentation method for medical images. We demonstrate our method on the task of segmenting magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scans, focusing on the one-shot segmentation scenario -- a practical challenge in many medical applications. Our method requires only a single segmented scan, and leverages other unlabeled scans in a semi-supervised approach. We learn a model of transforms from the images, and use the model along with the labeled example to synthesize additional labeled training examples for supervised segmentation. Each transform is comprised of a spatial deformation field and an intensity change, enabling the synthesis of complex effects such as variations in anatomy and image acquisition procedures. Augmenting the training of a supervised segmenter with these new examples provides significant improvements over state-of-the-art methods for one-shot biomedical image segmentation. Our code is available at https://github.com/xamyzhao/brainstorm.
Cardiac image segmentation is a critical process for generating personalized models of the heart and for quantifying cardiac performance parameters. Several convolutional neural network (CNN) architectures have been proposed to segment the heart chambers from cardiac cine MR images. Here we propose a multi-task learning (MTL)-based regularization framework for cardiac MR image segmentation. The network is trained to perform the main task of semantic segmentation, along with a simultaneous, auxiliary task of pixel-wise distance map regression. The proposed distance map regularizer is a decoder network added to the bottleneck layer of an existing CNN architecture, facilitating the network to learn robust global features. The regularizer block is removed after training, so that the original number of network parameters does not change. We show that the proposed regularization method improves both binary and multi-class segmentation performance over the corresponding state-of-the-art CNN architectures on two publicly available cardiac cine MRI datasets, obtaining average dice coefficient of 0.84$\pm$0.03 and 0.91$\pm$0.04, respectively. Furthermore, we also demonstrate improved generalization performance of the distance map regularized network on cross-dataset segmentation, showing as much as 41% improvement in average Dice coefficient from 0.57$\pm$0.28 to 0.80$\pm$0.13.
We present an end-to-end method for the task of panoptic segmentation. The method makes instance segmentation and semantic segmentation predictions in a single network, and combines these outputs using heuristics to create a single panoptic segmentation output. The architecture consists of a ResNet-50 feature extractor shared by the semantic segmentation and instance segmentation branch. For instance segmentation, a Mask R-CNN type of architecture is used, while the semantic segmentation branch is augmented with a Pyramid Pooling Module. Results for this method are submitted to the COCO and Mapillary Joint Recognition Challenge 2018. Our approach achieves a PQ score of 17.6 on the Mapillary Vistas validation set and 27.2 on the COCO test-dev set.
Deep learning has shown promising results in medical image analysis, however, the lack of very large annotated datasets confines its full potential. Although transfer learning with ImageNet pre-trained classification models can alleviate the problem, constrained image sizes and model complexities can lead to unnecessary increase in computational cost and decrease in performance. As many common morphological features are usually shared by different classification tasks of an organ, it is greatly beneficial if we can extract such features to improve classification with limited samples. Therefore, inspired by the idea of curriculum learning, we propose a strategy for building medical image classifiers using features from segmentation networks. By using a segmentation network pre-trained on similar data as the classification task, the machine can first learn the simpler shape and structural concepts before tackling the actual classification problem which usually involves more complicated concepts. Using our proposed framework on a 3D three-class brain tumor type classification problem, we achieved 82% accuracy on 191 testing samples with 91 training samples. When applying to a 2D nine-class cardiac semantic level classification problem, we achieved 86% accuracy on 263 testing samples with 108 training samples. Comparisons with ImageNet pre-trained classifiers and classifiers trained from scratch are presented.
Deep neural network architectures have traditionally been designed and explored with human expertise in a long-lasting trial-and-error process. This process requires huge amount of time, expertise, and resources. To address this tedious problem, we propose a novel algorithm to optimally find hyperparameters of a deep network architecture automatically. We specifically focus on designing neural architectures for medical image segmentation task. Our proposed method is based on a policy gradient reinforcement learning for which the reward function is assigned a segmentation evaluation utility (i.e., dice index). We show the efficacy of the proposed method with its low computational cost in comparison with the state-of-the-art medical image segmentation networks. We also present a new architecture design, a densely connected encoder-decoder CNN, as a strong baseline architecture to apply the proposed hyperparameter search algorithm. We apply the proposed algorithm to each layer of the baseline architectures. As an application, we train the proposed system on cine cardiac MR images from Automated Cardiac Diagnosis Challenge (ACDC) MICCAI 2017. Starting from a baseline segmentation architecture, the resulting network architecture obtains the state-of-the-art results in accuracy without performing any trial-and-error based architecture design approaches or close supervision of the hyperparameters changes.
Many natural language processing tasks solely rely on sparse dependencies between a few tokens in a sentence. Soft attention mechanisms show promising performance in modeling local/global dependencies by soft probabilities between every two tokens, but they are not effective and efficient when applied to long sentences. By contrast, hard attention mechanisms directly select a subset of tokens but are difficult and inefficient to train due to their combinatorial nature. In this paper, we integrate both soft and hard attention into one context fusion model, "reinforced self-attention (ReSA)", for the mutual benefit of each other. In ReSA, a hard attention trims a sequence for a soft self-attention to process, while the soft attention feeds reward signals back to facilitate the training of the hard one. For this purpose, we develop a novel hard attention called "reinforced sequence sampling (RSS)", selecting tokens in parallel and trained via policy gradient. Using two RSS modules, ReSA efficiently extracts the sparse dependencies between each pair of selected tokens. We finally propose an RNN/CNN-free sentence-encoding model, "reinforced self-attention network (ReSAN)", solely based on ReSA. It achieves state-of-the-art performance on both Stanford Natural Language Inference (SNLI) and Sentences Involving Compositional Knowledge (SICK) datasets.
One of the most common tasks in medical imaging is semantic segmentation. Achieving this segmentation automatically has been an active area of research, but the task has been proven very challenging due to the large variation of anatomy across different patients. However, recent advances in deep learning have made it possible to significantly improve the performance of image recognition and semantic segmentation methods in the field of computer vision. Due to the data driven approaches of hierarchical feature learning in deep learning frameworks, these advances can be translated to medical images without much difficulty. Several variations of deep convolutional neural networks have been successfully applied to medical images. Especially fully convolutional architectures have been proven efficient for segmentation of 3D medical images. In this article, we describe how to build a 3D fully convolutional network (FCN) that can process 3D images in order to produce automatic semantic segmentations. The model is trained and evaluated on a clinical computed tomography (CT) dataset and shows state-of-the-art performance in multi-organ segmentation.
Image segmentation is still an open problem especially when intensities of the interested objects are overlapped due to the presence of intensity inhomogeneity (also known as bias field). To segment images with intensity inhomogeneities, a bias correction embedded level set model is proposed where Inhomogeneities are Estimated by Orthogonal Primary Functions (IEOPF). In the proposed model, the smoothly varying bias is estimated by a linear combination of a given set of orthogonal primary functions. An inhomogeneous intensity clustering energy is then defined and membership functions of the clusters described by the level set function are introduced to rewrite the energy as a data term of the proposed model. Similar to popular level set methods, a regularization term and an arc length term are also included to regularize and smooth the level set function, respectively. The proposed model is then extended to multichannel and multiphase patterns to segment colourful images and images with multiple objects, respectively. It has been extensively tested on both synthetic and real images that are widely used in the literature and public BrainWeb and IBSR datasets. Experimental results and comparison with state-of-the-art methods demonstrate that advantages of the proposed model in terms of bias correction and segmentation accuracy.
Image segmentation is considered to be one of the critical tasks in hyperspectral remote sensing image processing. Recently, convolutional neural network (CNN) has established itself as a powerful model in segmentation and classification by demonstrating excellent performances. The use of a graphical model such as a conditional random field (CRF) contributes further in capturing contextual information and thus improving the segmentation performance. In this paper, we propose a method to segment hyperspectral images by considering both spectral and spatial information via a combined framework consisting of CNN and CRF. We use multiple spectral cubes to learn deep features using CNN, and then formulate deep CRF with CNN-based unary and pairwise potential functions to effectively extract the semantic correlations between patches consisting of three-dimensional data cubes. Effective piecewise training is applied in order to avoid the computationally expensive iterative CRF inference. Furthermore, we introduce a deep deconvolution network that improves the segmentation masks. We also introduce a new dataset and experimented our proposed method on it along with several widely adopted benchmark datasets to evaluate the effectiveness of our method. By comparing our results with those from several state-of-the-art models, we show the promising potential of our method.