Monte Carlo Convolution for Learning on Non-Uniformly Sampled Point Clouds

Pedro Hermosilla

Ulm University

Tobias Ritschel

University College London

Pere-Pau Vázquez

Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya

Àlvar Vinacua

Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya

Timo Ropinski

Ulm University

ACM Transactions on Graphics 2018


Deep learning systems extensively use convolution operations to process input data. Though convolution is clearly defined for structured data such as 2D images or 3D volumes, this is not true for other data types such as sparse point clouds. Previous techniques have developed approximations to convolutions for restricted conditions. Unfortunately, their applicability is limited and cannot be used for general point clouds. We propose an efficient and effective method to learn convolutions for non-uniformly sampled point clouds, as they are obtained with modern acquisition techniques. Learning is enabled by four key novelties: first, representing the convolution kernel itself as a multilayer perceptron; second, phrasing convolution as a Monte Carlo integration problem, third, using this notion to combine information from multiple samplings at different levels; and fourth using Poisson disk sampling as a scalable means of hierarchical point cloud learning. The key idea across all these contributions is to guarantee adequate consideration of the underlying non-uniform sample distribution function from a Monte Carlo perspective. To make the proposed concepts applicable to real-world tasks, we furthermore propose an efficient implementation which significantly reduces the GPU memory required during the training process. By employing our method in hierarchical network architectures we can outperform most of the state-of-the-art networks on established point cloud segmentation, classification and normal estimation benchmarks. Furthermore, in contrast to most existing approaches, we also demonstrate the robustness of our method with respect to sampling variations, even when training with uniformly sampled data only. To support the direct application of these concepts, we provide a ready-to-use TensorFlow implementation of these layers at \url{


	title={Monte Carlo Convolution for Learning on Non-Uniformly Sampled Point Clouds},
	author={Hermosilla, Pedro and Ritschel, Tobias and V{\'a}zquez, Pere-Pau and Vinacua, {\'A}lvar and Ropinski, Timo},
	journal={ACM Transactions on Graphics},