Topologically Faithful Image Segmentation via Induced Matching of Persistence Barcodes
Proceedings of the 40th International Conference on Machine Learning, PMLR 202:32698-32727, 2023.
Segmentation models predominantly optimize pixel-overlap-based loss, an objective that is actually inadequate for many segmentation tasks. In recent years, their limitations fueled a growing interest in topology-aware methods, which aim to recover the topology of the segmented structures. However, so far, existing methods only consider global topological properties, ignoring the need to preserve topological features spatially, which is crucial for accurate segmentation. We introduce the concept of induced matchings from persistent homology to achieve a spatially correct matching between persistence barcodes in a segmentation setting. Based on this concept, we define the Betti matching error as an interpretable, topologically and feature-wise accurate metric for image segmentations, which resolves the limitations of the Betti number error. Our Betti matching error is differentiable and efficient to use as a loss function. We demonstrate that it improves the topological performance of segmentation networks significantly across six diverse datasets while preserving the performance with respect to traditional scores. Our code is publicly available (https://github.com/nstucki/Betti-matching/).