In recent years, convolutional neural networks (CNNs) have been successfully implemented to various image recognition applications, such as medical image analysis, object detection, and image segmentation. Many studies and applications have been working on improving the performance of CNN algorithms and models. The strategies that aim to improve the performance of CNNs can be grouped into three major approaches: (1) deeper and wider network architecture, (2) automatic architecture search, and (3) convolutional attention block. Unlike approaches (1) and (2), the convolutional attention block approach is more flexible with lower cost. It enhances the CNN performance by extracting more efficient features. However, the existing attention blocks focus on enhancing the significant features, which lose some potential features in the uncertainty information. Inspired by the test time augmentation and test-time dropout approaches, we developed a novel convolutional uncertainty attention block (CUAB) that can leverage the uncertainty information to improve CNN-based models. The proposed module discovers potential information from the uncertain regions on feature maps in computer vision tasks. It is a flexible functional attention block that can be applied to any position in the convolutional block in CNN models. We evaluated the CUAB with notable backbone models, ResNet and ResNeXt, on a medical image segmentation task. The CUAB achieved a dice score of 73% and 84% in pneumonia and pneumothorax segmentation, respectively, thereby outperforming the original model and other notable attention approaches. The results demonstrated that the CUAB can efficiently utilize the uncertainty information to improve the model performance.
|Publication status||Published - 2021 May 5|