Nicolas Pielawski, Elisabeth Wetzer, Johan Öfverstedt, Jiahao Lu, Carolina Wählby, Joakim Lindblad, Natasa Sladoje
We propose contrastive coding to learn shared, dense image representations, referred to as CoMIRs (Contrastive Multimodal Image Representations). CoMIRs enable the registration of multimodal images where existing registration methods often fail due to a lack of sufficiently similar image structures. CoMIRs reduce the multimodal registration problem to a monomodal one, in which general intensity-based, as well as feature-based, registration algorithms can be applied. The method involves training one neural network per modality on aligned images, using a contrastive loss based on noise-contrastive estimation (InfoNCE). Unlike other contrastive coding methods, used for, e.g., classification, our approach generates image-like representations that contain the information shared between modalities. We introduce a novel, hyperparameter-free modification to InfoNCE, to enforce rotational equivariance of the learnt representations, a property essential to the registration task. We assess the extent of achieved rotational equivariance and the stability of the representations with respect to weight initialization, training set, and hyperparameter settings, on a remote sensing dataset of RGB and near-infrared images. We evaluate the learnt representations through registration of a biomedical dataset of bright-field and second-harmonic generation microscopy images; two modalities with very little apparent correlation. The proposed approach based on CoMIRs significantly outperforms registration of representations created by GAN-based image-to-image translation, as well as a state-of-the-art, application-specific method which takes additional knowledge about the data into account. Code is available at: https://github.com/MIDA-group/CoMIR.