Inverse problems aim to determine parameters from observations, a crucial task in engineering and science. Lately, generative models, especially diffusion models, have gained popularity in this area for their ability to produce realistic solutions and their good mathematical properties. Despite their success, an important drawback of diffusion models is their sensitivity to the choice of variance schedule, which controls the dynamics of the diffusion process. Fine-tuning this schedule for specific applications is crucial but time-costly and does not guarantee an optimal result. We propose a novel approach for learning the schedule as part of the training process. Our method supports probabilistic conditioning on data, provides high-quality solutions, and is flexible, proving able to adapt to different applications with minimum overhead. This approach is tested in two unrelated inverse problems: super-resolution microscopy and quantitative phase imaging, yielding comparable or superior results to previous methods and fine-tuned diffusion models. We conclude that fine-tuning the schedule by experimentation should be avoided because it can be learned during training in a stable way that yields better results.
In the past decades, automated high-content microscopy demonstrated its ability to deliver large quantities of image-based data powering the versatility of phenotypic drug screening and systems biology applications. However, as the sizes of image-based datasets grew, it became infeasible for humans to control, avoid and overcome the presence of imaging and sample preparation artefacts in the images. While novel techniques like machine learning and deep learning may address these shortcomings through generative image inpainting, when applied to sensitive research data this may come at the cost of undesired image manipulation. Undesired manipulation may be caused by phenomena such as neural hallucinations, to which some artificial neural networks are prone. To address this, here we evaluate the state-of-the-art inpainting methods for image restoration in a high-content fluorescence microscopy dataset of cultured cells with labelled nuclei. We show that architectures like DeepFill V2 and Edge Connect can faithfully restore microscopy images upon fine-tuning with relatively little data. Our results demonstrate that the area of the region to be restored is of higher importance than shape. Furthermore, to control for the quality of restoration, we propose a novel phenotype-preserving metric design strategy. In this strategy, the size and count of the restored biological phenotypes like cell nuclei are quantified to penalise undesirable manipulation. We argue that the design principles of our approach may also generalise to other applications.
Through digital imaging, microscopy has evolved from primarily being a means for visual observation of life at the micro- and nano-scale, to a quantitative tool with ever-increasing resolution and throughput. Artificial intelligence, deep neural networks, and machine learning are all niche terms describing computational methods that have gained a pivotal role in microscopy-based research over the past decade. This Roadmap is written collectively by prominent researchers and encompasses selected aspects of how machine learning is applied to microscopy image data, with the aim of gaining scientific knowledge by improved image quality, automated detection, segmentation, classification and tracking of objects, and efficient merging of information from multiple imaging modalities. We aim to give the reader an overview of the key developments and an understanding of possibilities and limitations of machine learning for microscopy. It will be of interest to a wide cross-disciplinary audience in the physical sciences and life sciences.