Sparse Instance Activation for Real-Time Instance Segmentation

Tianheng Cheng, Xinggang Wang, Shaoyu Chen, Wenqiang Zhang, Qian Zhang, Chang Huang, Zhaoxiang Zhang, Wenyu Liu; Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), 2022, pp. 4433-4442


In this paper, we propose a conceptually novel, efficient, and fully convolutional framework for real-time instance segmentation. Previously, most instance segmentation methods heavily rely on object detection and perform mask prediction based on bounding boxes or dense centers. In contrast, we propose a sparse set of instance activation maps, as a new object representation, to highlight informative regions for each foreground object. Then instance-level features are obtained by aggregating features according to the highlighted regions for recognition and segmentation. Moreover, based on bipartite matching, the instance activation maps can predict objects in a one-to-one style, thus avoiding non-maximum suppression (NMS) in post-processing. Owing to the simple yet effective designs with instance activation maps, SparseInst has extremely fast inference speed and achieves 40 FPS and 37.9 AP on the COCO benchmark, which significantly outperforms the counterparts in terms of speed and accuracy. Code and models are available at

Related Material

[pdf] [arXiv]
@InProceedings{Cheng_2022_CVPR, author = {Cheng, Tianheng and Wang, Xinggang and Chen, Shaoyu and Zhang, Wenqiang and Zhang, Qian and Huang, Chang and Zhang, Zhaoxiang and Liu, Wenyu}, title = {Sparse Instance Activation for Real-Time Instance Segmentation}, booktitle = {Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR)}, month = {June}, year = {2022}, pages = {4433-4442} }