Nuclear detection, segmentation and morphometric profiling are essential in helping us further understand the relationship between histology and patient outcome. To drive innovation in this area, we setup a community-wide challenge using the largest available dataset of its kind to assess nuclear segmentation and cellular composition. Our challenge, named CoNIC, stimulated the development of reproducible algorithms for cellular recognition with real-time result inspection on public leaderboards. We conducted an extensive post-challenge analysis based on the top-performing models using 1,658 whole-slide images of colon tissue. With around 700 million detected nuclei per model, associated features were used for dysplasia grading and survival analysis, where we demonstrated that the challenge's improvement over the previous state-of-the-art led to significant boosts in downstream performance. Our findings also suggest that eosinophils and neutrophils play an important role in the tumour microevironment. We release challenge models and WSI-level results to foster the development of further methods for biomarker discovery.
Decomposition-based evolutionary algorithms have become fairly popular for many-objective optimization in recent years. However, the existing decomposition methods still are quite sensitive to the various shapes of frontiers of many-objective optimization problems (MaOPs). On the one hand, the cone decomposition methods such as the penalty-based boundary intersection (PBI) are incapable of acquiring uniform frontiers for MaOPs with very convex frontiers. On the other hand, the parallel reference lines of the parallel decomposition methods including the normal boundary intersection (NBI) might result in poor diversity because of under-sampling near the boundaries for MaOPs with concave frontiers. In this paper, a collaborative decomposition method is first proposed to integrate the advantages of parallel decomposition and cone decomposition to overcome their respective disadvantages. This method inherits the NBI-style Tchebycheff function as a convergence measure to heighten the convergence and uniformity of distribution of the PBI method. Moreover, this method also adaptively tunes the extent of rotating an NBI reference line towards a PBI reference line for every subproblem to enhance the diversity of distribution of the NBI method. Furthermore, a collaborative decomposition-based evolutionary algorithm (CoDEA) is presented for many-objective optimization. A collaborative decomposition-based environmental selection mechanism is primarily designed in CoDEA to rank all the individuals associated with the same PBI reference line in the boundary layer and pick out the best ranks. CoDEA is compared with several popular algorithms on 85 benchmark test instances. The experimental results show that CoDEA achieves high competitiveness benefiting from the collaborative decomposition maintaining a good balance among the convergence, uniformity, and diversity of distribution.