Concurrent Spatial and Channel Squeeze & Excitation in Fully Convolutional Networks

Abhijit Guha Roy, Nassir Navab, Christian Wachinger

Fully convolutional neural networks (F-CNNs) have set the state-of-the-art in image segmentation for a plethora of applications. Architectural innovations within F-CNNs have mainly focused on improving spatial encoding or network connectivity to aid gradient flow. In this paper, we explore an alternate direction of recalibrating the feature maps adaptively, to boost meaningful features, while suppressing weak ones. We draw inspiration from the recently proposed squeeze & excitation (SE) module for channel recalibration of feature maps for image classification. Towards this end, we introduce three variants of SE modules for image segmentation, (i) squeezing spatially and exciting channel-wise (cSE), (ii) squeezing channel-wise and exciting spatially (sSE) and (iii) concurrent spatial and channel squeeze & excitation (scSE). We effectively incorporate these SE modules within three different state-of-the-art F-CNNs (DenseNet, SD-Net, U-Net) and observe consistent improvement of performance across all architectures, while minimally effecting model complexity. Evaluations are performed on two challenging applications: whole brain segmentation on MRI scans (Multi-Atlas Labelling Challenge Dataset) and organ segmentation on whole body contrast enhanced CT scans (Visceral Dataset).

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