Learning deep neural networks’ architectures using differential evolution. Case study: Medical imaging processing

doi: 10.1016/j.compbiomed.2022.105623.

Epub 2022 May 17.


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Smaranda Belciug.

Comput Biol Med.

2022 Jul.


The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we practice medicine. Cancer patient and obstetric care landscapes have been distorted. Delaying cancer diagnosis or maternal-fetal monitoring increased the number of preventable deaths or pregnancy complications. One solution is using Artificial Intelligence to help the medical personnel establish the diagnosis in a faster and more accurate manner. Deep learning is the state-of-the-art solution for image classification. Researchers manually design the structure of fix deep learning neural networks structures and afterwards verify their performance. The goal of this paper is to propose a potential method for learning deep network architectures automatically. As the number of networks architectures increases exponentially with the number of convolutional layers in the network, we propose a differential evolution algorithm to traverse the search space. At first, we propose a way to encode the network structure as a candidate solution of fixed-length integer array, followed by the initialization of differential evolution method. A set of random individuals is generated, followed by mutation, recombination, and selection. At each generation the individuals with the poorest loss values are eliminated and replaced with more competitive individuals. The model has been tested on three cancer datasets containing MRI scans and histopathological images and two maternal-fetal screening ultrasound images. The novel proposed method has been compared and statistically benchmarked to four state-of-the-art deep learning networks: VGG16, ResNet50, Inception V3, and DenseNet169. The experimental results showed that the model is competitive to other state-of-the-art models, obtaining accuracies between 78.73% and 99.50% depending on the dataset it had been applied on.


Cancer MRI scan; Cancer histopathological image; Deep learning; Differential evolution; Maternal-fetal ultrasound; Statistical assessment.

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