Machine Learning-Based Fast Intra Mode Decision for HEVC Screen Content Coding via Decision Trees

Wei Kuang, Yui Lam Chan, Sik Ho Tsang, Wan Chi Siu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The screen content coding (SCC) extension of high efficiency video coding (HEVC) improves coding gain for screen content videos by introducing two new coding modes, namely, intra block copy (IBC) and palette (PLT) modes. However, the coding gain is achieved at the increased cost of computational complexity. In this paper, we propose a decision tree-based framework for fast intra mode decision by investigating various features in the training sets. To avoid the exhaustive mode searching process, a sequential arrangement of decision trees is proposed to check each mode separately by inserting a classifier before checking a mode. As compared with the previous approaches where both IBC and PLT modes are checked for screen content blocks (SCBs), the proposed coding framework is more flexible which facilitates either the IBC or PLT mode to be checked for SCBs such that computational complexity is further reduced. To enhance the accuracy of decision trees, dynamic features are introduced, which reveal the unique intermediate coding information of a coding unit (CU). Then, if all the modes are decided to be skipped for a CU at the last depth level, at least one possible mode is assigned by a CU-type decision tree. Furthermore, a decision tree constraint technique is developed to reduce the rate-distortion performance loss. Compared with the HEVC-SCC reference software SCM-8.3, the proposed algorithm reduces computational complexity by 47.62% on average with a negligible Bjontegaard delta bitrate (BDBR) increase of 1.42% under all-intra (AI) configurations, which outperforms all the state-of-the-art algorithms in the literature.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8662587
Pages (from-to)1481-1496
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems for Video Technology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


  • decision tree
  • fast algorithm
  • high efficiency video coding (HEVC)
  • machine learning
  • Screen content coding (SCC)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Media Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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