ConCL: Concept Contrastive Learning for Dense Prediction Pre-training in Pathology Images

Jiawei Yang, Hanbo Chen, Yuan Liang, Junzhou Huang, Lei He, Jianhua Yao ;


"Detecting and segmenting objects within whole slide images is essential in computational pathology workflow. Self-supervised learning (SSL) is appealing to such annotation-heavy tasks. Despite the extensive benchmarks in natural images for dense tasks, such studies are, unfortunately, absent in current works for pathology. Our paper in- tends to narrow this gap. We first benchmark representative SSL methods for dense prediction tasks in pathology images. Then, we propose concept contrastive learning (ConCL), an SSL framework for dense pre-training. We explore how ConCL performs with concepts provided by different sources and end up with proposing a simple dependency-free concept generating method that does not rely on external segmentation algorithms or saliency detection models. Extensive experiments demonstrate the superiority of ConCL over previous state-of-the-art SSL methods across different settings. Along our exploration, we distill several important and intriguing components contributing to the success of dense pre-training for pathology images. We hope this work could provide useful data points and encourage the community to conduct ConCL pre-training for problems of interest. Code is available."

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