Towards Efficient and Robust Convolutional Neural Networks for Single Image Super-Resolution

CVC has a new PhD on its record!

Parichehr Behjati successfully defended her dissertation on Computer Science on April 27, 2022, and she is now Doctor of Philosophy by the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

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What is the thesis about?

Single image super-resolution (SISR) is an important task in image processing which aims to enhance the resolution of imaging systems. Recently, SISR has witnessed great strides with the rapid development of deep learning. Recent advances in SISR are mostly devoted to designing deeper and wider networks to enhance their representation learning capacity. However, as the depth of networks increases, deep learning-based methods are faced with the challenge of computational complexity in practice. Moreover, most existing methods rarely leverage the intermediate features and also do not discriminate the computation of features by their frequencial components, thereby achieving relatively low performance.

Aside from the aforementioned problems, another desired ability is to upsample images to arbitrary scales using a single model. Most current SISR methods train a dedicated model for each target resolution, losing generality and increasing memory requirements. In this thesis, we address the aforementioned issues and propose solutions to them: i) We present a novel frequency-based enhancement block which treats different frequencies in a heterogeneous way and also models inter-channel dependencies, which consequently enrich the output feature. Thus it helps the network generate more discriminative representations by explicitly recovering finer details. ii) We introduce OverNet which contains two main parts: a lightweight feature extractor that follows a novel recursive framework of skip and dense connections to reduce low-level feature degradation, and an overscaling module that generates an accurate SR image by internally constructing an overscaled intermediate representation of the output features. Then, to solve the problem of reconstruction at arbitrary scale factors, we introduce a novel multi-scale loss, that allows the simultaneous training of all scale factors using a single model. iii) We propose a directional variance attention network which leverages a novel attention mechanism to enhance features in different channels and spatial regions. Moreover, we introduce a novel procedure for using attention mechanisms together with residual blocks to facilitate the preservation of finer details. Finally, we demonstrate that our approaches achieve considerably better performance than previous state-of-the-art methods, in terms of both quantitative and visual quality.

Keywords: single image super-resolution, deep learning, image processing.

Parichehr thesis defence