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DivNoising: Diversity Denoising with Fully Convolutional Variational Autoencoders



Deep Learning based methods have emerged as the indisputable leaders for virtually all image restoration tasks. Especially in the domain of microscopy images, various content-aware image restoration (CARE) approaches are now used to improve the interpretability of acquired data. But there are limitations to what can be restored in corrupted images, and any given method needs to make a sensible compromise between many possible clean signals when predicting a restored image. Here, we propose DivNoising — a denoising approach based on fully-convolutional variational autoencoders, overcoming this problem by predicting a whole distribution of denoised images. Our method is unsupervised, requiring only noisy images and a description of the imaging noise, which can be measured or bootstrapped from noisy data. If desired, consensus predictions can be inferred from a set of DivNoising predictions, leading to competitive results with other unsupervised methods and, on occasion, even with the supervised state-of-the-art. DivNoising samples from the posterior enable a plethora of useful applications. We are (i) discussing how optical character recognition (OCR) applications could benefit from diverse predictions on ambiguous data, and (ii) show in detail how instance cell segmentation gains performance when using diverse DivNoising predictions.

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