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Representing Part-Whole Hierarchies in Foundation Models by Learning Localizability Composability and Decomposability from Anatomy via Self Supervision

Mohammad Reza Hosseinzadeh Taher · Michael Gotway · Jianming Liang

Arch 4A-E Poster #156
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Thu 20 Jun 10:30 a.m. PDT — noon PDT


Humans effortlessly interpret images by parsing them into part-whole hierarchies; deep learning excels in learning multi-level feature spaces, but they often lack explicit coding of part-whole relations, a prominent property of medical imaging. To overcome this limitation, we introduce Adam–v2, a new self-supervised learning framework extending Adam [69] by explicitly incorporating part-whole hierarchies into its learning objectives through three key branches: (1) Localizability, acquiring discriminative representations to distinguish different anatomical patterns; (2) Composability, learning each anatomical structure in a parts-to-whole manner; and (3) Decomposability, comprehending each anatomical structure in a whole-to-parts manner. Experimental results across 10 tasks, compared to 11 baselines in zero-shot, few-shot transfer, and full fine-tuning settings, showcase Adam–v2’s superior performance over large-scale medical models and existing SSL methods across diverse downstream tasks. The higher generality and robustness of Adam–v2’s representations originate from its explicit construction of hierarchies for distinct anatomical structures from unlabeled medical images. Adam–v2 preserves a semantic balance of anatomical diversity and harmony in its embedding, yielding representations that are both generic and semantically meaningful, yet overlooked in existing SSL methods. All code and pretrained models are available at

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