DAW: Exploring the Better Weighting Function for Semi-supervised Semantic Segmentation

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

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Rui Sun, Huayu Mai, Tianzhu Zhang, Feng Wu


The critical challenge of semi-supervised semantic segmentation lies in how to fully exploit a large volume of unlabeled data to improve the model’s generalization performance for robust segmentation. Existing methods tend to employ certain criteria (weighting function) to select pixel-level pseudo labels. However, the trade-off exists between inaccurate yet utilized pseudo-labels, and correct yet discarded pseudo-labels in these methods when handling pseudo-labels without thoughtful consideration of the weighting function, hindering the generalization ability of the model. In this paper, we systematically analyze the trade-off in previous methods when dealing with pseudo-labels. We formally define the trade-off between inaccurate yet utilized pseudo-labels, and correct yet discarded pseudo-labels by explicitly modeling the confidence distribution of correct and inaccurate pseudo-labels, equipped with a unified weighting function. To this end, we propose Distribution-Aware Weighting (DAW) to strive to minimize the negative equivalence impact raised by the trade-off. We find an interesting fact that the optimal solution for the weighting function is a hard step function, with the jump point located at the intersection of the two confidence distributions. Besides, we devise distribution alignment to mitigate the issue of the discrepancy between the prediction distributions of labeled and unlabeled data. Extensive experimental results on multiple benchmarks including mitochondria segmentation demonstrate that DAW performs favorably against state-of-the-art methods.