Recent advances in self-supervised learning (SSL) in computer vision are primarily comparative, whose goal is to preserve invariant and discriminative semantics in latent representations by comparing siamese image views. However, the preserved high-level semantics do not contain enough local information, which is vital in medical image analysis (e.g., image-based diagnosis and tumor segmentation). To mitigate the locality problem of comparative SSL, we propose to incorporate the task of pixel restoration for explicitly encoding more pixel-level information into high-level semantics. We also address the preservation of scale information, a powerful tool in aiding image understanding but has not drawn much attention in SSL. The resulting framework can be formulated as a multi-task optimization problem on the feature pyramid. Specifically, we conduct multi-scale pixel restoration and siamese feature comparison in the pyramid. In addition, we propose non-skip U-Net to build the feature pyramid and develop sub-crop to replace multi-crop in 3D medical imaging. The proposed unified SSL framework (PCRLv2) surpasses its self-supervised counterparts on various tasks, including brain tumor segmentation (BraTS 2018), chest pathology identification (ChestX-ray, CheXpert), pulmonary nodule detection (LUNA), and abdominal organ segmentation (LiTS), sometimes outperforming them by large margins with limited annotations.
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