Exploiting Shared Knowledge from Non-COVID Lesions for Annotation-Efficient COVID-19 CT Lung Infection Segmentation

by   Yichi Zhang, et al.

The novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a highly contagious virus and has spread all over the world, posing an extremely serious threat to all countries. Automatic lung infection segmentation from computed tomography (CT) plays an important role in the quantitative analysis of COVID-19. However, the major challenge lies in the inadequacy of annotated COVID-19 datasets. Currently, there are several public non-COVID lung lesion segmentation datasets, providing the potential for generalizing useful information to the related COVID-19 segmentation task. In this paper, we propose a novel relation-driven collaborative learning model for annotation-efficient COVID-19 CT lung infection segmentation. The network consists of encoders with the same architecture and a shared decoder. The general encoder is adopted to capture general lung lesion features based on multiple non-COVID lesions, while the target encoder is adopted to focus on task-specific features of COVID-19 infections. Features extracted from the two parallel encoders are concatenated for the subsequent decoder part. To thoroughly exploit shared knowledge between COVID and non-COVID lesions, we develop a collaborative learning scheme to regularize the relation consistency between extracted features of given input. Other than existing consistency-based methods that simply enforce the consistency of individual predictions, our method enforces the consistency of feature relation among samples, encouraging the model to explore semantic information from both COVID-19 and non-COVID cases. Extensive experiments on one public COVID-19 dataset and two public non-COVID datasets show that our method achieves superior segmentation performance compared with existing methods in the absence of sufficient high-quality COVID-19 annotations.



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