Towards Lightweight Super-Resolution with Dual Regression Learning

Published in IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence (TPAMI)


Deep neural networks have exhibited remarkable performance in image super-resolution (SR) tasks by learning a mapping from low-resolution (LR) images to high-resolution (HR) images. However, the SR problem is typically an ill-posed problem and existing methods would come with several limitations. First, the possible mapping space of SR can be extremely large since there may exist many different HR images that can be super-resolved from the same LR image. As a result, it is hard to directly learn a promising SR mapping from such a large space. Second, it is often inevitable to develop very large models with extremely high computational cost to yield promising SR performance. In practice, one can use model compression techniques to obtain compact models by reducing model redundancy. Nevertheless, it is hard for existing model compression methods to accurately identify the redundant components due to the extremely large SR mapping space. To alleviate the first challenge, we propose a dual regression learning scheme to reduce the space of possible SR mappings. Specifically, in addition to the mapping from LR to HR images, we learn an additional dual regression mapping to estimate the downsampling kernel and reconstruct LR images. In this way, the dual mapping acts as a constraint to reduce the space of possible mappings. To address the second challenge, we propose a dual regression compression (DRC) method to reduce model redundancy in both layer-level and channel-level based on channel pruning. Specifically, we first develop a channel number search method that minimizes the dual regression loss to determine the redundancy of each layer. Given the searched channel numbers, we further exploit the dual regression manner to evaluate the importance of channels and prune the redundant ones. Extensive experiments show the effectiveness of our method in obtaining accurate and efficient SR models.

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