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In Proceedings. IEEE Computer Society Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition

In many real-life image analysis applications, particularly in biomedical research domains, the objects of interest undergo multiple transformations that alters their visual properties while keeping the semantic content unchanged. Disentangling images into semantic content factors and transformations can provide significant benefits into many domain-specific image analysis tasks. To this end, we propose a generic unsupervised framework, Harmony, that simultaneously and explicitly disentangles semantic content from multiple parameterized transformations. Harmony leverages a simple cross-contrastive learning framework with multiple explicitly parameterized latent representations to disentangle content from transformations. To demonstrate the efficacy of Harmony, we apply it to disentangle image semantic content from several parameterized transformations (rotation, translation, scaling, and contrast). Harmony achieves significantly improved disentanglement over the baseline models on several image datasets of diverse domains. With such disentanglement, Harmony is demonstrated to incentivize bioimage analysis research by modeling structural heterogeneity of macromolecules from cryo-ET images and learning transformation-invariant representations of protein particles from single-particle cryo-EM images. Harmony also performs very well in disentangling content from 3D transformations and can perform coarse and fast alignment of 3D cryo-ET subtomograms. Therefore, Harmony is generalizable to many other imaging domains and can potentially be extended to domains beyond imaging as well.

Uddin Mostofa Rafid, Howe Gregory, Zeng Xiangrui, Xu Min