Image denoising by Super Neurons: Why go deep?

by   Junaid Malik, et al.

Classical image denoising methods utilize the non-local self-similarity principle to effectively recover image content from noisy images. Current state-of-the-art methods use deep convolutional neural networks (CNNs) to effectively learn the mapping from noisy to clean images. Deep denoising CNNs manifest a high learning capacity and integrate non-local information owing to the large receptive field yielded by numerous cascade of hidden layers. However, deep networks are also computationally complex and require large data for training. To address these issues, this study draws the focus on the Self-organized Operational Neural Networks (Self-ONNs) empowered by a novel neuron model that can achieve a similar or better denoising performance with a compact and shallow model. Recently, the concept of super-neurons has been introduced which augment the non-linear transformations of generative neurons by utilizing non-localized kernel locations for an enhanced receptive field size. This is the key accomplishment which renders the need for a deep network configuration. As the integration of non-local information is known to benefit denoising, in this work we investigate the use of super neurons for both synthetic and real-world image denoising. We also discuss the practical issues in implementing the super neuron model on GPUs and propose a trade-off between the heterogeneity of non-localized operations and computational complexity. Our results demonstrate that with the same width and depth, Self-ONNs with super neurons provide a significant boost of denoising performance over the networks with generative and convolutional neurons for both denoising tasks. Moreover, results demonstrate that Self-ONNs with super neurons can achieve a competitive and superior synthetic denoising performances than well-known deep CNN denoisers for synthetic and real-world denoising, respectively.


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