Troubleshooting Blind Image Quality Models in the Wild

Recently, the group maximum differentiation competition (gMAD) has been used to improve blind image quality assessment (BIQA) models, with the help of full-reference metrics. When applying this type of approach to troubleshoot "best-performing" BIQA models in the wild, we are faced with a practical challenge: it is highly nontrivial to obtain stronger competing models for efficient failure-spotting. Inspired by recent findings that difficult samples of deep models may be exposed through network pruning, we construct a set of "self-competitors," as random ensembles of pruned versions of the target model to be improved. Diverse failures can then be efficiently identified via self-gMAD competition. Next, we fine-tune both the target and its pruned variants on the human-rated gMAD set. This allows all models to learn from their respective failures, preparing themselves for the next round of self-gMAD competition. Experimental results demonstrate that our method efficiently troubleshoots BIQA models in the wild with improved generalizability.

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