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Learning Deformable Image Registration from Optimization: Perspective, Modules, Bilevel Training and Beyond.
IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence  (IF16.389),  Pub Date : 2021-09-28, DOI: 10.1109/tpami.2021.3115825
Risheng Liu,Zi Li,Xin Fan,Chenying Zhao,Hao Huang,Zhongxuan Luo

Conventional deformable registration methods aim at solving an optimization model carefully designed on image pairs and their computational costs are exceptionally high. In contrast, recent deep learning-based approaches can provide fast deformation estimation. These heuristic network architectures are fully data-driven and thus lack explicit geometric constraints which are indispensable to generate plausible deformations, e.g., topology-preserving. Moreover, these learning-based approaches typically pose hyper-parameter learning as a black-box problem and require considerable computational and human effort to perform many training runs. To tackle the aforementioned problems, we propose a new learning-based framework to optimize a diffeomorphic model via multi-scale propagation. Specifically, we introduce a generic optimization model to formulate diffeomorphic registration and develop a series of learnable architectures to obtain propagative updating in the coarse-to-fine feature space. Further, we propose a new bilevel self-tuned training strategy, allowing efficient search of task-specific hyper-parameters. This training strategy increases the flexibility to various types of data while reduces computational and human burdens. We conduct two groups of image registration experiments on 3D volume datasets including image-to-atlas registration on brain MRI data and image-to-image registration on liver CT data. Extensive results demonstrate the state-of-the-art performance of the proposed method with diffeomorphic guarantee and extreme efficiency.