A Transfer-Learning Approach to Image Segmentation Across Scanners by Maximizing Distribution Similarity

  • Annegreet van Opbroek
  • M. Arfan Ikram
  • Meike W. Vernooij
  • Marleen de Bruijne
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8184)


Many successful methods for biomedical image segmentation are based on supervised learning, where a segmentation algorithm is trained based on manually labeled training data. For supervised-learning algorithms to perform well, this training data has to be representative for the target data. In practice however, due to differences between scanners such representative training data is often not available.

We therefore present a segmentation algorithm in which labeled training data does not necessarily need to be representative for the target data, which allows for the use of training data from different studies than the target data. The algorithm assigns an importance weight to all training images, in such a way that the Kullback-Leibler divergence between the resulting distribution of the training data and the distribution of the target data is minimized.

In a set of experiments on MRI brain-tissue segmentation with training and target data from four substantially different studies our method improved mean classification errors with up to 25% compared to common supervised-learning approaches.


Image Segmentation Training Image Target Image Target Data Transfer Learning 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Annegreet van Opbroek
    • 1
  • M. Arfan Ikram
    • 2
  • Meike W. Vernooij
    • 2
  • Marleen de Bruijne
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Biomedical Imaging Group Rotterdam, Departments of Medical Informatics and RadiologyErasmus MC - University Medical Center RotterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Departments of Epidemiology and RadiologyErasmus MC - University Medical Center RotterdamThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of CopenhagenDenmark

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