Learning with Privileged Information for Efficient Image Super-Resolution (ECCV 2020)

Fig. Compressing networks using knowledge distillation (left) transfers the knowledge from a large teacher model (T) to a small student model (S), with the same input, e.g., LR images in the case of SISR. Differently, the teacher in our framework (right) takes the ground truth (i.e., HR image) as an input, exploiting it as privileged information, and transfers the knowledge via feature distillation.


* equal contribution


Convolutional neural networks (CNNs) have allowed remarkable advances in single image super-resolution (SISR) over the last decade. Most SR methods based on CNNs have focused on achieving performance gains in terms of quality metrics, such as PSNR and SSIM, over classical approaches. They typically require a large amount of memory and computational units. FSRCNN, consisting of few numbers of convolutional layers, has shown promising results, while using an extremely small number of network parameters. We introduce in this paper a novel distillation framework, consisting of teacher and student networks, that allows to boost the performance of FSRCNN drastically. To this end, we propose to use ground-truth high-resolution (HR) images as privileged information. The encoder in the teacher learns the degradation process, subsampling of HR images, using an imitation loss. The student and the decoder in the teacher, having the same network architecture as FSRCNN, try to reconstruct HR images. Intermediate features in the decoder, affordable for the student to learn, are transferred to the student through feature distillation. Experimental results on standard benchmarks demonstrate the effectiveness and the generalization ability of our framework, which significantly boosts the performance of FSRCNN as well as other SR methods.

Overview of our framework


Fig. Visual comparison of reconstructed HR images (2× and 3×) on Urban100 and Set14. We report the average PSNR/SSIM in the parentheses. Compared to the baseline models, our models reconstruct small-scale structures, object boundaries, without artifacts.


W. Lee, J. Lee, D. Kim, B. Ham
Learning with Privileged Information for Efficient Image Super-Resolution
In Proceedings of European Conference on Computer Vision (ECCV) , 2020
[Paper on arXiv]


Training/testing code (PyTorch)


        author       = "W. Lee, J. Lee, D. Kim, B. Ham",
        title        = "Learning with Privileged Information for Efficient Image Super-Resolution",
        booktitle    = "ECCV",
        year         = "2020",


This research was supported by the Samsung Research Funding & Incubation Center for Future Technology (SRFC-IT1802-06).