Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 (NeurIPS 2021)
FEIHU ZHANG, Philip Torr, Rene Ranftl, Stephan Richter
We present an approach to contrastive representation learning for semantic segmentation. Our approach leverages the representational power of existing feature extractors to find corresponding regions across images. These cross-image correspondences are used as auxiliary labels to guide the pixel-level selection of positive and negative samples for more effective contrastive learning in semantic segmentation. We show that auxiliary labels can be generated from a variety of feature extractors, ranging from image classification networks that have been trained using unsupervised contrastive learning to segmentation models that have been trained on a small amount of labeled data. We additionally introduce a novel metric for rapidly judging the quality of a given auxiliary-labeling strategy, and empirically analyze various factors that influence the performance of contrastive learning for semantic segmentation. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our method both in the low-data as well as the high-data regime on various datasets. Our experiments show that contrastive learning with our auxiliary-labeling approach consistently boosts semantic segmentation accuracy when compared to standard ImageNet pretraining and outperforms existing approaches of contrastive and semi-supervised semantic segmentation.