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In IEEE journal of biomedical and health informatics

The COVID-19 pandemic has spread the world like no other crisis in recent history. Automatic segmentation of COVID-19 pneumonia lesions is critical for quantitative measurement for diagnosis and treatment management. For this task, deep learning is the state-of-the-art method while requires a large set of accurately annotated images for training, which is difficult to obtain due to limited access to experts and the time-consuming annotation process. To address this problem, we aim to train the segmentation network from imperfect annotations, where the training set consists of a small clean set of accurately annotated images by experts and a large noisy set of inaccurate annotations by non-experts. To avoid the labels with different qualities corrupting the segmentation model, we propose a new approach to train segmentation networks to deal with noisy labels. We introduce a dual-branch network to separately learn from the accurate and noisy annotations. To fully exploit the imperfect annotations as well as suppressing the noise, we design a Divergence-Aware Selective Training (DAST) strategy, where a divergence-aware noisiness score is used to identify severely noisy annotations and slightly noisy annotations. For severely noisy samples we use an unsupervised regularization through dual-branch consistency between predictions from the two branches. We also refine slightly noisy samples and use them as supplementary data for the clean branch to avoid overfitting. Experimental results show that our method achieves a higher performance than standard training process for COVID-19 pneumonia lesion segmentation when learning from imperfect labels, and our framework outperforms the state-of-the-art noise-tolerate methods significantly with various clean label percentages.

Yang Shuojue, Wang Guotai, Sun Hui, Luo Xiangde, Sun Peng, Li Kang, Wang Qijun, Zhang Shaoting

2022-May-06