Efficient Classification of Very Large Images with Tiny Objects

Fanjie Kong, Ricardo Henao

An increasing number of applications in the computer vision domain, specially, in medical imaging and remote sensing, are challenging when the goal is to classify very large images with tiny objects. More specifically, these type of classification tasks face two key challenges: $i$) the size of the input image in the target dataset is usually in the order of megapixels, however, existing deep architectures do not easily operate on such big images due to memory constraints, consequently, we seek a memory-efficient method to process these images; and $ii$) only a small fraction of the input images are informative of the label of interest, resulting in low region of interest (ROI) to image ratio. However, most of the current convolutional neural networks (CNNs) are designed for image classification datasets that have relatively large ROIs and small image size (sub-megapixel). Existing approaches have addressed these two challenges in isolation. We present an end-to-end CNN model termed Zoom-In network that leverages hierarchical attention sampling for classification of large images with tiny objects using a single GPU. We evaluate our method on two large-image datasets and one gigapixel dataset. Experimental results show that our model achieves higher accuracy than existing methods while requiring less computing resources.

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