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In Computerized medical imaging and graphics : the official journal of the Computerized Medical Imaging Society

Supervised deep learning has become a standard approach to solving medical image segmentation tasks. However, serious difficulties in attaining pixel-level annotations for sufficiently large volumetric datasets in real-life applications have highlighted the critical need for alternative approaches, such as semi-supervised learning, where model training can leverage small expert-annotated datasets to enable learning from much larger datasets without laborious annotation. Most of the semi-supervised approaches combine expert annotations and machine-generated annotations with equal weights within deep model training, despite the latter annotations being relatively unreliable and likely to affect model optimization negatively. To overcome this, we propose an active learning approach that uses an example re-weighting strategy, where machine-annotated samples are weighted (i) based on the similarity of their gradient directions of descent to those of expert-annotated data, and (ii) based on the gradient magnitude of the last layer of the deep model. Specifically, we present an active learning strategy with a query function that enables the selection of reliable and more informative samples from machine-annotated batch data generated by a noisy teacher. When validated on clinical COVID-19 CT benchmark data, our method improved the performance of pneumonia infection segmentation compared to the state of the art.

Hussain Mohammad Arafat, Mirikharaji Zahra, Momeny Mohammad, Marhamati Mahmoud, Neshat Ali Asghar, Garbi Rafeef, Hamarneh Ghassan


Active learning, COVID-19, Deep learning, Noisy teacher, Pneumonia, Segmentation, Semi-supervised learning