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  1. In this paper, we present an end-to-end instance segmentation method that regresses a polygonal boundary for each object instance. This sparse, vectorized boundary representation for objects, while attractive in many downstream computer vision tasks, quickly runs into issues of parity that need to be addressed: parity in supervision and parity in performance when compared to existing pixel-based methods. This is due in part to object instances being annotated with ground-truth in the form of polygonal boundaries or segmentation masks, yet being evaluated in a convenient manner using only segmentation masks. Our method, BoundaryFormer, is a Transformer based architecture that directly predicts polygons yet uses instance mask segmentations as the ground-truth supervision for computing the loss. We achieve this by developing an end-to-end differentiable model that solely relies on supervision within the mask space through differentiable rasterization. BoundaryFormer matches or surpasses the Mask R-CNN method in terms of instance segmentation quality on both COCO and Cityscapes while exhibiting significantly better transferability across datasets.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 21, 2023