6 – Skip Connections

The third special technique that fully convolution on networks use is the skip connection. One effect of convolutions or encoding in general is you narrow down the scope by looking closely at some picture and lose the bigger picture as a result. So even if we were to decode the output of the encoder back to the original image size, some information has been lost. Skip connections are a way of retaining the information easily. The way skip connection work is by connecting the output of one layer to a non-adjacent layer. Here, the output of the pooling layer from the encoders combine with the current layers output using the element-wise addition operation. The result is bent into the next layer. These skip connections allow the network to use information from multiple resolutions. As a result, the network is able to make more precise segmentation decisions. This is empirically shown in the following comparison between the FCN-8 architecture which has two skip connections and the FCN-32 architecture which has zero skip connections.

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