An Analysis on Ensemble Learning optimized Medical Image Classification with Deep Convolutional Neural Networks

by   Dominik Müller, et al.

Novel and high-performance medical image classification pipelines are heavily utilizing ensemble learning strategies. The idea of ensemble learning is to assemble diverse models or multiple predictions and, thus, boost prediction performance. However, it is still an open question to what extent as well as which ensemble learning strategies are beneficial in deep learning based medical image classification pipelines. In this work, we proposed a reproducible medical image classification pipeline for analyzing the performance impact of the following ensemble learning techniques: Augmenting, Stacking, and Bagging. The pipeline consists of state-of-the-art preprocessing and image augmentation methods as well as 9 deep convolution neural network architectures. It was applied on four popular medical imaging datasets with varying complexity. Furthermore, 12 pooling functions for combining multiple predictions were analyzed, ranging from simple statistical functions like unweighted averaging up to more complex learning-based functions like support vector machines. Our results revealed that Stacking achieved the largest performance gain of up to 13 improvement capabilities by up to 4 based pipelines. Cross-validation based Bagging demonstrated to be the most complex ensemble learning method, which resulted in an F1-score decrease in all analyzed datasets (up to -10 statistical pooling functions are equal or often even better than more complex pooling functions. We concluded that the integration of Stacking and Augmentation ensemble learning techniques is a powerful method for any medical image classification pipeline to improve robustness and boost performance.


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