Equilibrium Image Denoising with Implicit Differentiation.

IEEE transactions on image processing : a publication of the IEEE Signal Processing Society(2023)

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Recent efforts on learning-based image denoising approaches use unrolled architectures with a fixed number of repeatedly stacked blocks. However, due to difficulties in training networks corresponding to deeper layers, simply stacking blocks may cause performance degradation, and the number of unrolled blocks needs to be manually tuned to find an appropriate value. To circumvent these problems, this paper describes an alternative approach with implicit models. To our best knowledge, our approach is the first attempt to model iterative image denoising through an implicit scheme. The model employs implicit differentiation to calculate gradients in the backward pass, thus avoiding the training difficulties of explicit models and elaborate selection of the iteration number. Our model is parameter-efficient and has only one implicit layer, which is a fixed-point equation that casts the desired noise feature as its solution. By simulating infinite iterations of the model, the final denoising result is given by the equilibrium that is achieved through accelerated black-box solvers. The implicit layer not only captures the non-local self-similarity prior for image denoising, but also facilitates training stability and thereby boosts the denoising performance. Extensive experiments show that our model leads to better performances than state-of-the-art explicit denoisers with enhanced qualitative and quantitative results.
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