Controllable List-wise Ranking for Universal No-reference Image Quality Assessment

by   Fu-Zhao Ou, et al.

No-reference image quality assessment (NR-IQA) has received increasing attention in the IQA community since reference image is not always available. Real-world images generally suffer from various types of distortion. Unfortunately, existing NR-IQA methods do not work with all types of distortion. It is a challenging task to develop universal NR-IQA that has the ability of evaluating all types of distorted images. In this paper, we propose a universal NR-IQA method based on controllable list-wise ranking (CLRIQA). First, to extend the authentically distorted image dataset, we present an imaging-heuristic approach, in which the over-underexposure is formulated as an inverse of Weber-Fechner law, and fusion strategy and probabilistic compression are adopted, to generate the degraded real-world images. These degraded images are label-free yet associated with quality ranking information. We then design a controllable list-wise ranking function by limiting rank range and introducing an adaptive margin to tune rank interval. Finally, the extended dataset and controllable list-wise ranking function are used to pre-train a CNN. Moreover, in order to obtain an accurate prediction model, we take advantage of the original dataset to further fine-tune the pre-trained network. Experiments evaluated on four benchmark datasets (i.e. LIVE, CSIQ, TID2013, and LIVE-C) show that the proposed CLRIQA improves the state of the art by over 8 in terms of overall performance. The code and model are publicly available at


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