In recent years, deep learning (DL) methods have become powerful tools for biomedical image segmentation. However, high annotation efforts and costs are commonly needed to acquire sufficient biomedical training data for DL models. To alleviate the burden of manual annotation, in this paper, we propose a new weakly supervised DL approach for biomedical image segmentation using boxes only annotation. First, we develop a method to combine graph search (GS) and DL to generate fine object masks from box annotation, in which DL uses box annotation to compute a rough segmentation for GS and then GS is applied to locate the optimal object boundaries. During the mask generation process, we carefully utilize information from box annotation to filter out potential errors, and then use the generated masks to train an accurate DL segmentation network. Extensive experiments on gland segmentation in histology images, lymph node segmentation in ultrasound images, and fungus segmentation in electron microscopy images show that our approach attains superior performance over the best known state-of-the-art weakly supervised DL method and is able to achieve (1) nearly the same accuracy compared to fully supervised DL methods with far less annotation effort, (2) significantly better results with similar annotation time, and (3) robust performance in various applications.

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图像分割就是把图像分成若干个特定的、具有独特性质的区域并提出感兴趣目标的技术和过程。它是由图像处理到图像分析的关键步骤。 所谓图像分割指的是根据灰度、颜色、纹理和形状等特征把图像划分成若干互不交迭的区域,并使这些特征在同一区域内呈现出相似性,而在不同区域间呈现出明显的差异性。

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Image segmentation is a key topic in image processing and computer vision with applications such as scene understanding, medical image analysis, robotic perception, video surveillance, augmented reality, and image compression, among many others. Various algorithms for image segmentation have been developed in the literature. Recently, due to the success of deep learning models in a wide range of vision applications, there has been a substantial amount of works aimed at developing image segmentation approaches using deep learning models. In this survey, we provide a comprehensive review of the literature at the time of this writing, covering a broad spectrum of pioneering works for semantic and instance-level segmentation, including fully convolutional pixel-labeling networks, encoder-decoder architectures, multi-scale and pyramid based approaches, recurrent networks, visual attention models, and generative models in adversarial settings. We investigate the similarity, strengths and challenges of these deep learning models, examine the most widely used datasets, report performances, and discuss promising future research directions in this area.

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In this paper, we aim to improve the performance of semantic image segmentation in a semi-supervised setting in which training is effectuated with a reduced set of annotated images and additional non-annotated images. We present a method based on an ensemble of deep segmentation models. Each model is trained on a subset of the annotated data, and uses the non-annotated images to exchange information with the other models, similar to co-training. Even if each model learns on the same non-annotated images, diversity is preserved with the use of adversarial samples. Our results show that this ability to simultaneously train models, which exchange knowledge while preserving diversity, leads to state-of-the-art results on two challenging medical image datasets.

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In this work, we study the problem of training deep networks for semantic image segmentation using only a fraction of annotated images, which may significantly reduce human annotation efforts. Particularly, we propose a strategy that exploits the unpaired image style transfer capabilities of CycleGAN in semi-supervised segmentation. Unlike recent works using adversarial learning for semi-supervised segmentation, we enforce cycle consistency to learn a bidirectional mapping between unpaired images and segmentation masks. This adds an unsupervised regularization effect that boosts the segmentation performance when annotated data is limited. Experiments on three different public segmentation benchmarks (PASCAL VOC 2012, Cityscapes and ACDC) demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method. The proposed model achieves 2-4% of improvement with respect to the baseline and outperforms recent approaches for this task, particularly in low labeled data regime.

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3D image segmentation plays an important role in biomedical image analysis. Many 2D and 3D deep learning models have achieved state-of-the-art segmentation performance on 3D biomedical image datasets. Yet, 2D and 3D models have their own strengths and weaknesses, and by unifying them together, one may be able to achieve more accurate results. In this paper, we propose a new ensemble learning framework for 3D biomedical image segmentation that combines the merits of 2D and 3D models. First, we develop a fully convolutional network based meta-learner to learn how to improve the results from 2D and 3D models (base-learners). Then, to minimize over-fitting for our sophisticated meta-learner, we devise a new training method that uses the results of the base-learners as multiple versions of "ground truths". Furthermore, since our new meta-learner training scheme does not depend on manual annotation, it can utilize abundant unlabeled 3D image data to further improve the model. Extensive experiments on two public datasets (the HVSMR 2016 Challenge dataset and the mouse piriform cortex dataset) show that our approach is effective under fully-supervised, semi-supervised, and transductive settings, and attains superior performance over state-of-the-art image segmentation methods.

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Radiologist is "doctor's doctor", biomedical image segmentation plays a central role in quantitative analysis, clinical diagnosis, and medical intervention. In the light of the fully convolutional networks (FCN) and U-Net, deep convolutional networks (DNNs) have made significant contributions in biomedical image segmentation applications. In this paper, based on U-Net, we propose MDUnet, a multi-scale densely connected U-net for biomedical image segmentation. we propose three different multi-scale dense connections for U shaped architectures encoder, decoder and across them. The highlights of our architecture is directly fuses the neighboring different scale feature maps from both higher layers and lower layers to strengthen feature propagation in current layer. Which can largely improves the information flow encoder, decoder and across them. Multi-scale dense connections, which means containing shorter connections between layers close to the input and output, also makes much deeper U-net possible. We adopt the optimal model based on the experiment and propose a novel Multi-scale Dense U-Net (MDU-Net) architecture with quantization. Which reduce overfitting in MDU-Net for better accuracy. We evaluate our purpose model on the MICCAI 2015 Gland Segmentation dataset (GlaS). The three multi-scale dense connections improve U-net performance by up to 1.8% on test A and 3.5% on test B in the MICCAI Gland dataset. Meanwhile the MDU-net with quantization achieves the superiority over U-Net performance by up to 3% on test A and 4.1% on test B.

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Medical image segmentation requires consensus ground truth segmentations to be derived from multiple expert annotations. A novel approach is proposed that obtains consensus segmentations from experts using graph cuts (GC) and semi supervised learning (SSL). Popular approaches use iterative Expectation Maximization (EM) to estimate the final annotation and quantify annotator's performance. Such techniques pose the risk of getting trapped in local minima. We propose a self consistency (SC) score to quantify annotator consistency using low level image features. SSL is used to predict missing annotations by considering global features and local image consistency. The SC score also serves as the penalty cost in a second order Markov random field (MRF) cost function optimized using graph cuts to derive the final consensus label. Graph cut obtains a global maximum without an iterative procedure. Experimental results on synthetic images, real data of Crohn's disease patients and retinal images show our final segmentation to be accurate and more consistent than competing methods.

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Weak supervision, e.g., in the form of partial labels or image tags, is currently attracting significant attention in CNN segmentation as it can mitigate the lack of full and laborious pixel/voxel annotations. Enforcing high-order (global) inequality constraints on the network output, for instance, on the size of the target region, can leverage unlabeled data, guiding training with domain-specific knowledge. Inequality constraints are very flexible because they do not assume exact prior knowledge. However,constrained Lagrangian dual optimization has been largely avoided in deep networks, mainly for computational tractability reasons.To the best of our knowledge, the method of Pathak et al. is the only prior work that addresses deep CNNs with linear constraints in weakly supervised segmentation. It uses the constraints to synthesize fully-labeled training masks (proposals)from weak labels, mimicking full supervision and facilitating dual optimization.We propose to introduce a differentiable term, which enforces inequality constraints directly in the loss function, avoiding expensive Lagrangian dual iterates and proposal generation. From constrained-optimization perspective, our simple approach is not optimal as there is no guarantee that the constraints are satisfied. However, surprisingly,it yields substantially better results than the proposal-based constrained CNNs, while reducing the computational demand for training.In the context of cardiac images, we reached a segmentation performance close to full supervision using a fraction (0.1%) of the full ground-truth labels and image-level tags.While our experiments focused on basic linear constraints such as the target-region size and image tags, our framework can be easily extended to other non-linear constraints.Therefore, it has the potential to close the gap between weakly and fully supervised learning in semantic image segmentation.

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We propose a novel locally adaptive learning estimator for enhancing the inter- and intra- discriminative capabilities of Deep Neural Networks, which can be used as improved loss layer for semantic image segmentation tasks. Most loss layers compute pixel-wise cost between feature maps and ground truths, ignoring spatial layouts and interactions between neighboring pixels with same object category, and thus networks cannot be effectively sensitive to intra-class connections. Stride by stride, our method firstly conducts adaptive pooling filter operating over predicted feature maps, aiming to merge predicted distributions over a small group of neighboring pixels with same category, and then it computes cost between the merged distribution vector and their category label. Such design can make groups of neighboring predictions from same category involved into estimations on predicting correctness with respect to their category, and hence train networks to be more sensitive to regional connections between adjacent pixels based on their categories. In the experiments on Pascal VOC 2012 segmentation datasets, the consistently improved results show that our proposed approach achieves better segmentation masks against previous counterparts.

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This work presents a region-growing image segmentation approach based on superpixel decomposition. From an initial contour-constrained over-segmentation of the input image, the image segmentation is achieved by iteratively merging similar superpixels into regions. This approach raises two key issues: (1) how to compute the similarity between superpixels in order to perform accurate merging and (2) in which order those superpixels must be merged together. In this perspective, we firstly introduce a robust adaptive multi-scale superpixel similarity in which region comparisons are made both at content and common border level. Secondly, we propose a global merging strategy to efficiently guide the region merging process. Such strategy uses an adpative merging criterion to ensure that best region aggregations are given highest priorities. This allows to reach a final segmentation into consistent regions with strong boundary adherence. We perform experiments on the BSDS500 image dataset to highlight to which extent our method compares favorably against other well-known image segmentation algorithms. The obtained results demonstrate the promising potential of the proposed approach.

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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.

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