A Maximum Entropy Deep Reinforcement Learning Neural Tracker

Shafa Balaram, Kai Arulkumaran, Tianhong Dai, Anil Anthony Bharath

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPublished conference contribution


Tracking of anatomical structures has multiple applications in the field of biomedical imaging, including screening, diagnosing and monitoring the evolution of pathologies. Semi-automated tracking of elongated structures has been previously formulated as a problem suitable for deep reinforcement learning (DRL), but it remains a challenge. We introduce a maximum entropy continuous-action DRL neural tracker capable of training from scratch in a complex environment in the presence of high noise levels, Gaussian blurring and detractors. The trained model is evaluated on two-photon microscopy images of mouse cortex. At the expense of slightly worse robustness compared to a previously applied DRL tracker, we reach significantly higher accuracy, approaching the performance of the standard hand-engineered algorithm used for neuron tracing. The higher sample efficiency of our maximum entropy DRL tracker indicates its potential of being applied directly to small biomedical datasets.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Workshop on Machine Learning in Medical Imaging
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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