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Scalable Neural Architecture Search for 3D Medical Image Segmentation

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Medical Image Computing and Computer Assisted Intervention – MICCAI 2019 (MICCAI 2019)


In this paper, a neural architecture search (NAS) framework is proposed for 3D medical image segmentation, to automatically optimize a neural architecture from a large design space. Our NAS framework searches the structure of each layer including neural connectivities and operation types in both of the encoder and decoder. Since optimizing over a large discrete architecture space is difficult due to high-resolution 3D medical images, a novel stochastic sampling algorithm based on a continuous relaxation is also proposed for scalable gradient based optimization. On the 3D medical image segmentation tasks with a benchmark dataset, an automatically designed architecture by the proposed NAS framework outperforms the human-designed 3D U-Net, and moreover this optimized architecture is well suited to be transferred for different tasks.

S. Kim, I. Kim and S. Lim—Contributed equally.

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  1. 1.

    In the decoder, before used as one of inputs of the current cell, an output of the last previous cell is summed with an output of the encoder cell at the same level.

  2. 2.

    We set the annealing schedule as \(\tau = \max (0.001, \exp (-0.025t))\).

  3. 3.

    We tried sampling one operation at a time, but the performance was not improved because of the use of high bias architecture and insufficient architecture variation (exploration) especially in the early stage of training.

  4. 4.

  5. 5.

    DARTS [6] requires approximately 4 times more GPU memory in comparison to the SCNAS during architecture search with the same number of channels.


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We thank the Kakao Brain Cloud team for supporting to efficiently use GPU clusters for large-scale experiments.

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Correspondence to Sungwoong Kim .

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Kim, S. et al. (2019). Scalable Neural Architecture Search for 3D Medical Image Segmentation. In: Shen, D., et al. Medical Image Computing and Computer Assisted Intervention – MICCAI 2019. MICCAI 2019. Lecture Notes in Computer Science(), vol 11766. Springer, Cham.

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  • Print ISBN: 978-3-030-32247-2

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