Sparse Object-level Supervision for Instance Segmentation with Pixel Embeddings

03/26/2021 ∙ by Adrian Wolny, et al. ∙ 11

Most state-of-the-art instance segmentation methods have to be trained on densely annotated images. While difficult in general, this requirement is especially daunting for biomedical images, where domain expertise is often required for annotation. We propose to address the dense annotation bottleneck by introducing a proposal-free segmentation approach based on non-spatial embeddings, which exploits the structure of the learned embedding space to extract individual instances in a differentiable way. The segmentation loss can then be applied directly on the instances and the overall method can be trained on ground truth images where only a few objects are annotated, from scratch or in a semi-supervised transfer learning setting. In addition to the segmentation loss, our setup allows to apply self-supervised consistency losses on the unlabeled parts of the training data. We evaluate the proposed method on challenging 2D and 3D segmentation problems in different microscopy modalities as well as on the popular CVPPP instance segmentation benchmark where we achieve state-of-the-art results. The code is available at:



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