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Parallelized Rate-Distortion Optimized Quantization Using Deep Learning

by   Dana Kianfar, et al.

Rate-Distortion Optimized Quantization (RDOQ) has played an important role in the coding performance of recent video compression standards such as H.264/AVC, H.265/HEVC, VP9 and AV1. This scheme yields significant reductions in bit-rate at the expense of relatively small increases in distortion. Typically, RDOQ algorithms are prohibitively expensive to implement on real-time hardware encoders due to their sequential nature and their need to frequently obtain entropy coding costs. This work addresses this limitation using a neural network-based approach, which learns to trade-off rate and distortion during offline supervised training. As these networks are based solely on standard arithmetic operations that can be executed on existing neural network hardware, no additional area-on-chip needs to be reserved for dedicated RDOQ circuitry. We train two classes of neural networks, a fully-convolutional network and an auto-regressive network, and evaluate each as a post-quantization step designed to refine cheap quantization schemes such as scalar quantization (SQ). Both network architectures are designed to have a low computational overhead. After training they are integrated into the HM 16.20 implementation of HEVC, and their video coding performance is evaluated on a subset of the H.266/VVC SDR common test sequences. Comparisons are made to RDOQ and SQ implementations in HM 16.20. Our method achieves 1.64 the HM SQ anchor, and on average reaches 45 iterative HM RDOQ algorithm.


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