Capturing implicit hierarchical structure in 3D biomedical images with self-supervised hyperbolic representations

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 (NeurIPS 2021)

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Joy Hsu, Jeffrey Gu, Gong Wu, Wah Chiu, Serena Yeung


We consider the task of representation learning for unsupervised segmentation of 3D voxel-grid biomedical images. We show that models that capture implicit hierarchical relationships between subvolumes are better suited for this task. To that end, we consider encoder-decoder architectures with a hyperbolic latent space, to explicitly capture hierarchical relationships present in subvolumes of the data. We propose utilizing a 3D hyperbolic variational autoencoder with a novel gyroplane convolutional layer to map from the embedding space back to 3D images. To capture these relationships, we introduce an essential self-supervised loss---in addition to the standard VAE loss---which infers approximate hierarchies and encourages implicitly related subvolumes to be mapped closer in the embedding space. We present experiments on synthetic datasets along with a dataset from the medical domain to validate our hypothesis.