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Workshop: Topological, Algebraic, and Geometric Pattern Recognition with Applications Workshop Proposal

Topology-Aware Focal Loss for 3D Image Segmentation

Andac Demir · Elie Massaad · Bulent Kiziltan


The efficacy of segmentation algorithms is frequently compromised by topological errors like overlapping regions, disrupted connections, and voids. To tackle this problem, we introduce a novel loss function, namely Topology-Aware Focal Loss (TAFL), that incorporates the conventional Focal Loss with a topological constraint term based on the Wasserstein distance between the ground truth and predicted segmentation masks' persistence diagrams. By enforcing identical topology as the ground truth, the topological constraint can effectively resolve topological errors, while Focal Loss tackles class imbalance. We begin by constructing persistence diagrams from filtered cubical complexes of the ground truth and predicted segmentation masks. We subsequently utilize the Sinkhorn-Knopp algorithm to determine the optimal transport plan between the two persistence diagrams. The resultant transport plan minimizes the cost of transporting mass from one distribution to the other and provides a mapping between the points in the two persistence diagrams. We then compute the Wasserstein distance based on this travel plan to measure the topological dissimilarity between the ground truth and predicted masks. We evaluate our approach by training a 3D U-Net with the MICCAI Brain Tumor Segmentation (BraTS) challenge validation dataset, which requires accurate segmentation of 3D MRI scans that integrate various modalities for the precise identification and tracking of malignant brain tumors. Then, we demonstrate that the quality of segmentation performance is enhanced by regularizing the focal loss through the addition of a topological constraint as a penalty term.

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