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In Advances in computational intelligence

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 disease globally, countries around the world are facing shortages of resources (i.e. testing kits, medicine). A quick diagnosis of COVID-19 and isolating patients are crucial in curbing the pandemic, especially in rural areas. This is because the disease is highly contagious and can spread easily. To assist doctors, several studies have proposed an initial detection of COVID-19 cases using radiological images. In this paper, we propose an alternative method for analyzing chest X-ray images to provide an efficient and accurate diagnosis of COVID-19 which can run on edge devices. The approach acts as an enabler for the deep learning model to be deployed in practical application. Here, the convolutional neural network models which are fine-tuned to predict COVID-19 and pneumonia infection from chest X-ray images are developed by adopting transfer learning techniques. The developed model yielded an accuracy of 98.13%, sensitivity of 97.7%, and specificity of 99.1%. To highlight the important regions in the X-ray images which directs the model to its decision/prediction, we adopted the Gradient Class Activation Map (Grad-CAM). The generated heat maps from the Grad-CAM were then compared with the annotated X-ray images by board-certified radiologists. Results showed that the findings strongly correlate with clinical evidence. For practical deployment, we implemented the trained model in edge devices (NCS2) and this has achieved an improvement of 90% in inference speed compared to CPU. This shows that the developed model has the potential to be implemented on the edge, for example in primary care clinics and rural areas which are not well-equipped or do not have access to stable internet connections.

Koh Shaline Jia Thean, Nafea Marwan, Nugroho Hermawan


Chest x-ray, Deep learning, Edge computing, Visualization