FSS-2019-nCov: A deep learning architecture for semi-supervised few-shot segmentation of COVID-19 infection

Mohamed Abdel-Basset, Victor Chang*, Hossam Hawash, Ripon K. Chakrabortty, Michael Ryan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The newly discovered coronavirus (COVID-19) pneumonia is providing major challenges to research in terms of diagnosis and disease quantification. Deep-learning (DL) techniques allow extremely precise image segmentation; yet, they necessitate huge volumes of manually labeled data to be trained in a supervised manner. Few-Shot Learning (FSL) paradigms tackle this issue by learning a novel category from a small number of annotated instances. We present an innovative semi-supervised few-shot segmentation (FSS) approach for efficient segmentation of 2019-nCov infection (FSS-2019-nCov) from only a few amounts of annotated lung CT scans. The key challenge of this study is to provide accurate segmentation of COVID-19 infection from a limited number of annotated instances. For that purpose, we propose a novel dual-path deep-learning architecture for FSS. Every path contains encoder–decoder (E-D) architecture to extract high-level information while maintaining the channel information of COVID-19 CT slices. The E-D architecture primarily consists of three main modules: a feature encoder module, a context enrichment (CE) module, and a feature decoder module. We utilize the pre-trained ResNet34 as an encoder backbone for feature extraction. The CE module is designated by a newly introduced proposed Smoothed Atrous Convolution (SAC) block and Multi-scale Pyramid Pooling (MPP) block. The conditioner path takes the pairs of CT images and their labels as input and produces a relevant knowledge representation that is transferred to the segmentation path to be used to segment the new images. To enable effective collaboration between both paths, we propose an adaptive recombination and recalibration (RR) module that permits intensive knowledge exchange between paths with a trivial increase in computational complexity. The model is extended to multi-class labeling for various types of lung infections. This contribution overcomes the limitation of the lack of large numbers of COVID-19 CT scans. It also provides a general framework for lung disease diagnosis in limited data situations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106647
JournalKnowledge-Based Systems
Early online date4 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2020, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/


  • Context fusion
  • COVID-19
  • CT images
  • Deep learning
  • Few-shot segmentation


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