Memory-Efficient Training for Fully Unrolled Deep Learned PET Image Reconstruction with Iteration-Dependent Targets

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We propose a new version of the forward-backward splitting expectation-maximisation network (FBSEM-Net) along with a new memory-efficient training method enabling the training of fully unrolled implementations of 3D FBSEM-Net. FBSEM-Net unfolds the maximum a posteriori expectation-maximisation algorithm and replaces the regularisation step by a residual convolutional neural network. Both the gradient of the prior and the regularisation strength are learned from training data. In this new implementation, three modifications of the original framework are included. First, iteration-dependent networks are used to have a customised regularisation at each iteration. Second, iteration-dependent targets and losses are introduced so that the regularised reconstruction matches the reconstruction of noise-free data at every iteration. Third, sequential training is performed, making training of large unrolled networks far more memory efficient and feasible. Since sequential training permits unrolling a high number of iterations, there is no need for artificial use of the regularisation step as a leapfrogging acceleration. The results obtained on 2D and 3D simulated data show that FBSEM-Net using iteration-dependent targets and losses improves the consistency in the optimisation of the network parameters over different training runs. We also found that using iteration-dependent targets increases the generalisation capabilities of the network. Furthermore, unrolled networks using iteration-dependent regularisation allowed a slight reduction in reconstruction error compared to using a fixed regularisation network at each iteration. Finally, we demonstrate that sequential training successfully addresses potentially serious memory issues during the training of deep unrolled networks. In particular, it enables the training of 3D fully unrolled FBSEM-Net, not previously feasible, by reducing the memory usage by up to 98% compared to a conventional end-to-end training. We also note that the truncation of the backpropagation (due to sequential training) does not notably impact the network’s performance compared to conventional training with a full backpropagation through the entire network.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalTransactions on Radiation and Plasma Medical Sciences
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 20 Jul 2021


  • PET reconstruction
  • Deep learning


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