A Comparative Study of Deep Learning Classification Methods on a Small Environmental Microorganism Image Dataset (EMDS-6): from Convolutional Neural Networks to Visual Transformers

In recent years, deep learning has made brilliant achievements in Environmental Microorganism (EM) image classification. However, image classification of small EM datasets has still not obtained good research results. Therefore, researchers need to spend a lot of time searching for models with good classification performance and suitable for the current equipment working environment. To provide reliable references for researchers, we conduct a series of comparison experiments on 21 deep learning models. The experiment includes direct classification, imbalanced training, and hyperparameter tuning experiments. During the experiments, we find complementarities among the 21 models, which is the basis for feature fusion related experiments. We also find that the data augmentation method of geometric deformation is difficult to improve the performance of VTs (ViT, DeiT, BotNet and T2T-ViT) series models. In terms of model performance, Xception has the best classification performance, the ViT model consumes the least time for training, and the ShuffleNet-V2 model has the least number of parameters.

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