Evaluating Unsupervised Denoising Requires Unsupervised Metrics

Adrià Marcos Morales, Matan Leibovich, Sreyas Mohan, Joshua Lawrence Vincent, Piyush Haluai, Mai Tan, Peter Crozier, Carlos Fernandez-Granda

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Unsupervised denoising is a crucial challenge in real-world imaging applications. Unsupervised deep-learning methods have demonstrated impressive performance on benchmarks based on synthetic noise. However, no metrics exist to evaluate these methods in an unsupervised fashion. This is highly problematic for the many practical applications where ground-truth clean images are not available. In this work, we propose two novel metrics: the unsupervised mean squared error (MSE) and the unsupervised peak signal-to-noise ratio (PSNR), which are computed using only noisy data. We provide a theoretical analysis of these metrics, showing that they are asymptotically consistent estimators of the supervised MSE and PSNR. Controlled numerical experiments with synthetic noise confirm that they provide accurate approximations in practice. We validate our approach on real-world data from two imaging modalities: videos in raw format and transmission electron microscopy. Our results demonstrate that the proposed metrics enable unsupervised evaluation of denoising methods based exclusively on noisy data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23937-23957
Number of pages21
JournalProceedings of Machine Learning Research
StatePublished - 2023
Event40th International Conference on Machine Learning, ICML 2023 - Honolulu, United States
Duration: Jul 23 2023Jul 29 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Statistics and Probability


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