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Hunting Sparsity: Density-Guided Contrastive Learning for Semi-Supervised Semantic Segmentation

Xiaoyang Wang · Bingfeng Zhang · Limin Yu · Jimin Xiao

West Building Exhibit Halls ABC 296


Recent semi-supervised semantic segmentation methods combine pseudo labeling and consistency regularization to enhance model generalization from perturbation-invariant training. In this work, we argue that adequate supervision can be extracted directly from the geometry of feature space. Inspired by density-based unsupervised clustering, we propose to leverage feature density to locate sparse regions within feature clusters defined by label and pseudo labels. The hypothesis is that lower-density features tend to be under-trained compared with those densely gathered. Therefore, we propose to apply regularization on the structure of the cluster by tackling the sparsity to increase intra-class compactness in feature space. With this goal, we present a Density-Guided Contrastive Learning (DGCL) strategy to push anchor features in sparse regions toward cluster centers approximated by high-density positive keys. The heart of our method is to estimate feature density which is defined as neighbor compactness. We design a multi-scale density estimation module to obtain the density from multiple nearest-neighbor graphs for robust density modeling. Moreover, a unified training framework is proposed to combine label-guided self-training and density-guided geometry regularization to form complementary supervision on unlabeled data. Experimental results on PASCAL VOC and Cityscapes under various semi-supervised settings demonstrate that our proposed method achieves state-of-the-art performances.

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