Conditional Random Fields Meet Deep Neural Networks for Semantic Segmentation: Combining Probabilistic Graphical Models with Deep Learning for Structured Prediction
Journal article, 2018

Semantic segmentation is the task of labeling every pixel in an image with a predefined object category. It has numerous applications in scenarios where the detailed understanding of an image is required, such as in autonomous vehicles and medical diagnosis. This problem has traditionally been solved with probabilistic models known as conditional random fields (CRFs) due to their ability to model the relationships between the pixels being predicted. However, deep neural networks (DNNs) recently have been shown to excel at a wide range of computer vision problems due to their ability to automatically learn rich feature representations from data, as opposed to traditional handcrafted features. The idea of combining CRFs and DNNs have achieved state-of-the-art results in a number of domains. We review the literature on combining the modeling power of CRFs with the representation-learning ability of DNNs, ranging from early work that combines these two techniques as independent stages of a common pipeline to recent approaches that embed inference of probabilistic models directly in the neural network itself. Finally, we summarize future research directions.


Computer vision

Feature extraction


Computational modeling

Image segmentation


Anurag Arnab

University of Oxford

Shuai Zheng

University of Oxford

Sadeep Jayasumana


Bernardino Romera-Paredes


Måns Larsson

Chalmers, Electrical Engineering, Signalbehandling och medicinsk teknik, Imaging and Image Analysis

Alexander Kirillov

Heidelberg University

Bogdan Savchynskyy

Heidelberg University

Carsten Rother

Heidelberg University

Fredrik Kahl

Chalmers, Electrical Engineering, Signalbehandling och medicinsk teknik, Imaging and Image Analysis

Philip H.S. Torr

University of Oxford

IEEE Signal Processing Magazine

1053-5888 (ISSN)

Vol. 35 1 37-52

Areas of Advance

Information and Communication Technology

Subject Categories

Computer Vision and Robotics (Autonomous Systems)



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