CT Super-resolution GAN Constrained by the Identical, Residual, and Cycle Learning Ensemble(GAN-CIRCLE)

Computed tomography (CT) is widely used in screening, diagnosis, and image-guided therapy for both clinical and research purposes. Since CT involves ionizing radiation, an overarching thrust of related technical research is development of novel methods enabling ultrahigh quality imaging with fine structural details while reducing the X-ray radiation. In this paper, we present a semi-supervised deep learning approach to accurately recover high-resolution (HR) CT images from low-resolution (LR) counterparts. Specifically, with the generative adversarial network (GAN) as the building block, we enforce the cycle-consistency in terms of the Wasserstein distance to establish a nonlinear end-to-end mapping from noisy LR input images to denoised and deblurred HR outputs. We also include the joint constraints in the loss function to facilitate structural preservation. In this deep imaging process, we incorporate deep convolutional neural network (CNN), residual learning, and network in network techniques for feature extraction and restoration. In contrast to the current trend of increasing network depth and complexity to boost the CT imaging performance, which limit its real-world applications by imposing considerable computational and memory overheads, we apply a parallel $1\times1$ CNN to compress the output of the hidden layer and optimize the number of layers and the number of filters for each convolutional layer. Quantitative and qualitative evaluations demonstrate that our proposed model is accurate, efficient and robust for super-resolution (SR) image restoration from noisy LR input images. In particular, we validate our composite SR networks on three large-scale CT datasets, and obtain promising results as compared to the other state-of-the-art methods.

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