Towards Efficient Image Compression Without Autoregressive Models

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Muhammad Salman Ali, Yeongwoong Kim, Maryam Qamar, Sung-Chang Lim, Donghyun Kim, Chaoning Zhang, Sung-Ho Bae, Hui Yong Kim


Recently, learned image compression (LIC) has garnered increasing interest with its rapidly improving performance surpassing conventional codecs. A key ingredient of LIC is a hyperprior-based entropy model, where the underlying joint probability of the latent image features is modeled as a product of Gaussian distributions from each latent element. Since latents from the actual images are not spatially independent, autoregressive (AR) context based entropy models were proposed to handle the discrepancy between the assumed distribution and the actual distribution. Though the AR-based models have proven effective, the computational complexity is significantly increased due to the inherent sequential nature of the algorithm. In this paper, we present a novel alternative to the AR-based approach that can provide a significantly better trade-off between performance and complexity. To minimize the discrepancy, we introduce a correlation loss that forces the latents to be spatially decorrelated and better fitted to the independent probability model. Our correlation loss is proved to act as a general plug-in for the hyperprior (HP) based learned image compression methods. The performance gain from our correlation loss is ‘free’ in terms of computation complexity for both inference time and decoding time. To our knowledge, our method gives the best trade-off between the complexity and performance: combined with the Checkerboard-CM, it attains 90% and when combined with ChARM-CM, it attains 98% of the AR-based BD-Rate gains yet is around 50 times and 30 times faster than AR-based methods respectively