Journal of Digital Imaging

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 521–533 | Cite as

Multi-objective Parameter Auto-tuning for Tissue Image Segmentation Workflows

  • Luis F. R. Taveira
  • Tahsin Kurc
  • Alba C. M. A. Melo
  • Jun Kong
  • Erich Bremer
  • Joel H. Saltz
  • George TeodoroEmail author


We propose a software platform that integrates methods and tools for multi-objective parameter auto-tuning in tissue image segmentation workflows. The goal of our work is to provide an approach for improving the accuracy of nucleus/cell segmentation pipelines by tuning their input parameters. The shape, size, and texture features of nuclei in tissue are important biomarkers for disease prognosis, and accurate computation of these features depends on accurate delineation of boundaries of nuclei. Input parameters in many nucleus segmentation workflows affect segmentation accuracy and have to be tuned for optimal performance. This is a time-consuming and computationally expensive process; automating this step facilitates more robust image segmentation workflows and enables more efficient application of image analysis in large image datasets. Our software platform adjusts the parameters of a nuclear segmentation algorithm to maximize the quality of image segmentation results while minimizing the execution time. It implements several optimization methods to search the parameter space efficiently. In addition, the methodology is developed to execute on high-performance computing systems to reduce the execution time of the parameter tuning phase. These capabilities are packaged in a Docker container for easy deployment and can be used through a friendly interface extension in 3D Slicer. Our results using three real-world image segmentation workflows demonstrate that the proposed solution is able to (1) search a small fraction (about 100 points) of the parameter space, which contains billions to trillions of points, and improve the quality of segmentation output by × 1.20, × 1.29, and × 1.29, on average; (2) decrease the execution time of a segmentation workflow by up to 11.79× while improving output quality; and (3) effectively use parallel systems to accelerate parameter tuning and segmentation phases.


Digital pathology Computer-assisted image analysis Cell morphology Cancer Parameter auto-tuning 



This work was supported in part by 1U24CA180924-01A1 from the NCI, R01LM011119-01 and R01LM009239 from the NLM, CNPq, and NIH K25CA181503. This research used resources of the XSEDE Science Gateways program under grant TG-ASC130023.


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Copyright information

© Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of BrasíliaBrasíliaBrazil
  2. 2.Department of Biomedical InformaticsStony Brook UniversityStony BrookUSA
  3. 3.Scientific Data GroupOak Ridge National LaboratoryOak RidgeUSA
  4. 4.Department of Biomedical InformaticsEmory University School of MedicineAtlantaUSA
  5. 5.Department of Biomedical EngineeringEmory - Georgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA
  6. 6.Department of Mathematics and StatisticsGeorgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA

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