CLEARER: Multi-Scale Neural Architecture Search for Image Restoration

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 33 (NeurIPS 2020)

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Yuanbiao Gou, Boyun Li, Zitao Liu, Songfan Yang, Xi Peng


<p>Multi-scale neural networks have shown effectiveness in image restoration tasks, which are usually designed and integrated in a handcrafted manner. Different from the existing labor-intensive handcrafted architecture design paradigms, we present a novel method, termed as multi-sCaLe nEural ARchitecture sEarch for image Restoration (CLEARER), which is a specifically designed neural architecture search (NAS) for image restoration. Our contributions are twofold. On one hand, we design a multi-scale search space that consists of three task-flexible modules. Namely, 1) Parallel module that connects multi-resolution neural blocks in parallel, while preserving the channels and spatial-resolution in each neural block, 2) Transition module remains the existing multi-resolution features while extending them to a lower resolution, 3) Fusion module integrates multi-resolution features by passing the features of the parallel neural blocks to the current neural blocks. On the other hand, we present novel losses which could 1) balance the tradeoff between the model complexity and performance, which is highly expected to image restoration; and 2) relax the discrete architecture parameters into a continuous distribution which approximates to either 0 or 1. As a result, a differentiable strategy could be employed to search when to fuse or extract multi-resolution features, while the discretization issue faced by the gradient-based NAS could be alleviated. The proposed CLEARER could search a promising architecture in two GPU hours. Extensive experiments show the promising performance of our method comparing with nine image denoising methods and eight image deraining approaches in quantitative and qualitative evaluations. The codes are available at</p>