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Fully Unsupervised Diversity Denoising with Convolutional Variational Autoencoders

Mangal Prakash · Alexander Krull · Florian Jug

Keywords: [ Noise model ] [ Unsupervised denoising ] [ Diversity denoising ] [ variational autoencoders ]


Deep Learning based methods have emerged as the indisputable leaders for virtually all image restoration tasks. Especially in the domain of microscopy images, various content-aware image restoration (CARE) approaches are now used to improve the interpretability of acquired data. Naturally, there are limitations to what can be restored in corrupted images, and like for all inverse problems, many potential solutions exist, and one of them must be chosen. Here, we propose DivNoising, a denoising approach based on fully convolutional variational autoencoders (VAEs), overcoming the problem of having to choose a single solution by predicting a whole distribution of denoised images. First we introduce a principled way of formulating the unsupervised denoising problem within the VAE framework by explicitly incorporating imaging noise models into the decoder. Our approach is fully unsupervised, only requiring noisy images and a suitable description of the imaging noise distribution. We show that such a noise model can either be measured, bootstrapped from noisy data, or co-learned during training. If desired, consensus predictions can be inferred from a set of DivNoising predictions, leading to competitive results with other unsupervised methods and, on occasion, even with the supervised state-of-the-art. DivNoising samples from the posterior enable a plethora of useful applications. We are (i) showing denoising results for 13 datasets, (ii) discussing how optical character recognition (OCR) applications can benefit from diverse predictions, and are (iii) demonstrating how instance cell segmentation improves when using diverse DivNoising predictions.

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