New machine learning framework for more accurate plant disease diagnosis

Plant disease recognition is of vital importance to monitor plant development and predicting crop production. However, due to data degradation caused by different conditions of image acquisition, e.g., laboratory vs. field environment, machine learning-based recognition models generated within a specific dataset (source domain) tend to lose their validity when generalized to a novel dataset (target domain). To this end, domain adaptation methods can be leveraged for the recognition by learning invariant representations across domains. In this paper, we aim at addressing the issues of domain shift existing in plant disease recognition and propose a novel unsupervised domain adaptation method via uncertainty regularization, namely, Multi-Representation Subdomain Adaptation Network with Uncertainty Regularization for Cross-Species Plant Disease Classification (MSUN). Our simple but effective MSUN makes a breakthrough in plant disease recognition in the wild by using a large amount of unlabeled data and via nonadversarial training. Specifically, MSUN comprises multi-representation, subdomain adaptation modules, and auxiliary uncertainty regularization. The multi-representation module enables MSUN to learn the overall structure of features and also focus on capturing more details by using the multiple representations of the source domain. This effectively alleviates the problem of large interdomain discrepancy. Subdomain adaptation is used to capture discriminative properties by addressing the issue of higher interclass similarity and lower intraclass variation. Finally, the auxiliary uncertainty regularization effectively suppresses the uncertainty problem due to domain transfer. MSUN was experimentally validated to achieve optimal results on the PlantDoc, Plant-Pathology, Corn-Leaf-Diseases, and Tomato-Leaf-Diseases datasets, with accuracies of 56.06%, 72.31%, 96.78%, and 50.58%, respectively, surpassing other state-of-the-art domain adaptation techniques considerably.

Wu Xinlu, Fan Xijian, Luo Peng, Choudhury Sruti Das, Tjahjadi Tardi, Hu Chunhua. From Laboratory to Field: Unsupervised Domain Adaptation for Plant Disease Recognition in the Wild. Plant Phenomics. 2023:5;0038. DOI:10.34133/plantphenomics.0038  

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