Transferable Semi-Supervised Semantic Segmentation


  • Huaxin Xiao National University of Defense Technology
  • Yunchao Wei Beckman Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Yu Liu National University of Defense Technology
  • Maojun Zhang National University of Defense Technology
  • Jiashi Feng National University of Singapore


Semantic Segmentation, Semi-supervised learning, Neural Network


The performance of deep learning based semantic segmentation models heavily depends on sufficient data with careful annotations. However, even the largest public datasets only provide samples with pixel-level annotations for rather limited semantic categories. Such data scarcity critically limits scalability and applicability of semantic segmentation models in real applications. In this paper, we propose a novel transferable semi-supervised semantic segmentation model that can transfer the learned segmentation knowledge from a few strong categories with pixel-level annotations to unseen weak categories with only image-level annotations, significantly broadening the applicable territory of deep segmentation models. In particular, the proposed model consists of two complementary and learnable components: a Label transfer Network (L-Net) and a Prediction transfer Network (P-Net). The L-Net learns to transfer the segmentation knowledge from strong categories to the images in the weak categories and produces coarse pixel-level semantic maps, by effectively exploiting the similar appearance shared across categories. Meanwhile, the P-Net tailors the transferred knowledge through a carefully designed adversarial learning strategy and produces refined segmentation results with better details. Integrating the L-Net and P-Net achieves 96.5% and 89.4% performance of the fully-supervised baseline using 50% and 0% categories with pixel-level annotations respectively on PASCAL VOC 2012. With such a novel transfer mechanism, our proposed model is easily generalizable to a variety of new categories, only requiring image-level annotations, and offers appealing scalability in real applications.




How to Cite

Xiao, H., Wei, Y., Liu, Y., Zhang, M., & Feng, J. (2018). Transferable Semi-Supervised Semantic Segmentation. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 32(1). Retrieved from