Densely Nested Top-Down Flows for Salient Object Detection

18 Feb 2021  ·  Chaowei Fang, HaiBin Tian, Dingwen Zhang, Qiang Zhang, Jungong Han, Junwei Han ·

With the goal of identifying pixel-wise salient object regions from each input image, salient object detection (SOD) has been receiving great attention in recent years. One kind of mainstream SOD methods is formed by a bottom-up feature encoding procedure and a top-down information decoding procedure. While numerous approaches have explored the bottom-up feature extraction for this task, the design on top-down flows still remains under-studied. To this end, this paper revisits the role of top-down modeling in salient object detection and designs a novel densely nested top-down flows (DNTDF)-based framework. In every stage of DNTDF, features from higher levels are read in via the progressive compression shortcut paths (PCSP). The notable characteristics of our proposed method are as follows. 1) The propagation of high-level features which usually have relatively strong semantic information is enhanced in the decoding procedure; 2) With the help of PCSP, the gradient vanishing issues caused by non-linear operations in top-down information flows can be alleviated; 3) Thanks to the full exploration of high-level features, the decoding process of our method is relatively memory efficient compared against those of existing methods. Integrating DNTDF with EfficientNet, we construct a highly light-weighted SOD model, with very low computational complexity. To demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed model, comprehensive experiments are conducted on six widely-used benchmark datasets. The comparisons to the most state-of-the-art methods as well as the carefully-designed baseline models verify our insights on the top-down flow modeling for SOD. The code of this paper is available at

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