Sparse Coding Driven Deep Decision Tree Ensembles for Nuclear Segmentation in Digital Pathology Images

by   Jie Song, et al.

In this paper, we propose an easily trained yet powerful representation learning approach with performance highly competitive to deep neural networks in a digital pathology image segmentation task. The method, called sparse coding driven deep decision tree ensembles that we abbreviate as ScD2TE, provides a new perspective on representation learning. We explore the possibility of stacking several layers based on non-differentiable pairwise modules and generate a densely concatenated architecture holding the characteristics of feature map reuse and end-to-end dense learning. Under this architecture, fast convolutional sparse coding is used to extract multi-level features from the output of each layer. In this way, rich image appearance models together with more contextual information are integrated by learning a series of decision tree ensembles. The appearance and the high-level context features of all the previous layers are seamlessly combined by concatenating them to feed-forward as input, which in turn makes the outputs of subsequent layers more accurate and the whole model efficient to train. Compared with deep neural networks, our proposed ScD2TE does not require back-propagation computation and depends on less hyper-parameters. ScD2TE is able to achieve a fast end-to-end pixel-wise training in a layer-wise manner. We demonstrated the superiority of our segmentation technique by evaluating it on the multi-disease state and multi-organ dataset where consistently higher performances were obtained for comparison against several state-of-the-art deep learning methods such as convolutional neural networks (CNN), fully convolutional networks (FCN), etc.



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