Huawei Image Denoising

Organized by Slabaugh - Current server time: Nov. 14, 2018, 11:04 a.m. UTC


Competition phase
Nov. 1, 2018, midnight UTC


Competition Ends
Nov. 30, 2018, 11:59 p.m. UTC

Noise is a fundamental problem in digital photography, as it is inherit to the imaging process, and it degrades image quality. State-of-the-art digital cameras, including smartphones, include a denoising algorithm that removes noise to restore a high quality image. Your task in this challenge is to develop a denoising method in code that reduces image noise, whilst preserving image detail.

Please note this competition is limited to undergraduate, post-graduate, and research (PhD) student participants in UK universities.  Teams must first register at with *@* email addresses.  You are welcome to consult with more senior researchers (e.g. Professors, post-docs) but the work should be completed by students. At most three participants are permitted per team.

Each team will be given a Huawei-provided Codalab account.  Codalab submissions must be made from this Huawei-provided account in order to be valid.

For this task you are encouraged to experiment with your own image denoising ideas and may also make use of open source software, published code from recent research articles, additional data, or any combination of these.  The use of commercial tools (e.g. Photoshop) is prohibited – your task is to develop an algorithm for denoising. Top scoring entries will be requested to submit their code to verify reproducibility of results.  


The training dataset contains image pairs consisting of 975 noisy images and corresponding clean images, originally captured using Huawei P20 smart phones across the image classes 'buildings', 'text' and 'foliage'. The dataset images are standard RGB images. For each sample there is a clean image, a noisy version of the same image and some meta information. The former image serves as a ground truth.

Additionally a CSV file provides meta data for each sample – this includes the ISO setting and a scene category classification. The ISO setting is used to control the camera sensitivity to light. By increasing the ISO, the sensor has a stronger response to the light received. However, higher ISO typically means a noisier image. Images are taken across three different scene classes (buildings, text, foliage), and this scene class information is also provided per image. You may make use of this meta-information, if you find it helpful for your solution, but this is optional. The noisy images likely contain different levels of noise and some samples can be seen to be more visually degraded. We recommend exploring the dataset to gain an intuition for the problem. 


For ease of submission, the testing images are lower resolution than the training images.  Once you are happy with your solution, compress (zip) your denoised images, and then submit your entry via the 'Participate' tab.  For your best performing submission, you must submit it to the leaderboard to be considered for a prize.  Please note that in your submission, the filenames (e.g. Test_Image_1.png)  must not be changed, this is how the scoring progam identifies the images you are submitting.  When preparing your zip file, please ensure all images are not in any folders or subdirectories -- that is, the denoised images should be in the root level directory of the zip file.

1. Timeline:

November 1, 2018 – Release of training dataset.

November 30, 2018 - Submission deadline. Submit your final solution by this date.

December 12, 2018 – Award Ceremony.

The competition opens on 1 November 2018 and ends at midnight (London time) on 30 November 2018 (the ‘Deadline’). Any competition submission after the Deadline will be automatically disqualified.

2. Prizes

1 st Place - GBP 7,000
2 nd Place - GBP 5,000
3 rd Place - GBP 3,000
4 th-6th Place (Honorable mention prize) - Huawei smartphone for an individual Participant or for each team member

In addition to the monitary prizes, the top three teams will have the opportunity to visit the Huawei R&D Computational Photography lab in China.


Conditions of Participation
for the Artificial Intelligence Student Competition

  1. Your agreement to these conditions

1.1                    By registering for the competition, you accept these conditions.

1.2                    In these conditions where we refer to the ‘Participant‘, we mean either an individual that has registered to enter the competition on its own behalf or where registration is made by an individual on behalf of a team, all members of that team. Where you are entering the competition as part of a team, by registering and submitting a competition entry, you are confirming that you have obtained the agreement of each of your other team members to these conditions. 

  1. The Competition

2.1                    The Artificial Intelligence competition aims to motivate research of image de-noising technology. It is run by Huawei Technologies Research and Development (UK) Co. Ltd. whose correspondence address is 302 Cambridge Science Park, Milton Road, Cambridge, England, CB4 0WG  (the 'Organiser').

  1. Eligibility

3.1                    To be eligible to enter the competition, all Participants must

3.1.1                        at the date of submission of the competition entry, be an undergraduate, post-graduate or PHD research  student registered at a UK university;

3.1.2                        have an email address ending with ** through which the Organiser can communicate with the Participant in connection with the competition;

3.1.3                        either be single entrant or part of a team of up to 3 members only; and

3.1.4                        be solely responsible for creating the competition submission, though supervision or advice from the Participants’ professors or post doctoral researchers is permissible.

3.2                    Other than the requirements set out in clause 3.1 above, there is no restriction in nationality or residence status of any such Participants.   

3.3                    The Organiser’s employees, the employees of any company who are or were involved in creating or implementing the competition and their respective immediate family members, are excluded from participating in the competition.

3.4                    In entering the competition, Participants confirm that they are eligible to do so and acknowledge that they may be required to provide proof of their eligibility to enter. The Organiser reserves the right to verify the eligibility of all Participants and to disqualify any who it determines are not eligible. The Organiser also reserves the right to disqualify Participants if their conduct is contrary to the spirit or intention of the competition or they are in breach of any of these conditions.

3.5                    Participation in the competition is free of charge and does not require the purchase of goods or services.

  1. How to enter

4.1                    The competition opens on 1 November 2018 and ends at midnight on 30 November 2018 (the ‘Deadline’). Any competition submission after the Deadline will be automatically disqualified.

4.2                    The following describes how entries to the competition can be made:

4.2.1                        the individual Participant  or,  if a team is entering, a member of that team as its representative on behalf of the others, must register with the Organiser through;

4.2.2                        the Organiser will then send via email to the ** email address provided at registration an email which will include: (i) a link to the third party evaluation system used to run the competition (the 'Evaluation System‘) and (ii) a dataset consisting of a number of images (the ‘Organiser’s Material’).

4.2.3                        the Participant must also register for the competition on the third party Evaluation System in order to be able to gain access to the competition and submit a competition entry. Please note that your use of the Evaluation System is subject to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Use of the operator of that system;

4.2.4                        the Organiser’s Material comprises a training database consisting of 975 images and a test database consisting of 30 evaluation images. Participants are to use their own method(s) using the Organiser’s Material to ensure their method(s) is able to de-noise the Organiser’s Material and produce a set of the 30 de-noised evaluation images as a result; and

4.2.5                        Participants shall submit their de-noised test images to the leaderboard feature included in the Evaluation System. This is a live leaderboard, showing how other Participants perform. Only de-noised test images submitted to the leaderboard will be evaluated for prizes.

4.3                    In developing their code, Participants can use any programming language/framework they wish. However, any cheating by using commercial tools, applying it to the noisy images, and submitting the de-noised images as a competition entry is not permitted and any such entries will be disqualified. Top performing teams on the leaderboard will be required to provide their code to the Organiser, who will run the code to verify that it reproduces the same results as submitted by the Participants to the competition and to otherwise verify that the submission is valid. 

4.4                    Participants are permitted to submit a maximum 10 entries a day only to the competition.  To be clear if a team enters, this maximum of 10 entries applies to the team as a whole.

4.5                    The Organiser accepts no responsibility for incomplete, incorrect, lost or delayed entries to the competition regardless of cause, including for example, any malfunctions or failures in the Evaluation System, any equipment failure, technical malfunction or systems, network, server, computer hardware or software failure of any kind.

  1. Determination and notification of winners

5.1                    The competition will be judged automatically based on an algorithm created by the Organiser to measure PSNR (peak signal-to-noise-ratio) from validly submitted entries.

5.2                    The Organiser will on 7th December 2018 (the ‘Announcement Date’) notify the winners via their email address (provided on registration to the competition). In the case of a team entry, the Organiser will notify the representative that registered on behalf of the team only.

5.3                    To claim the prize, the Participant (which in the case of a team entry, will be its Representative only) must send an email to by midnight on 10 December 2018 stating that they wish to claim the prize ('Acceptance').

5.4                    If no Acceptance has been received by the Organiser within that timeline, then the winner will have forfeited its prize. The Organiser is then entitled to offer the prize to the next eligible winner. The prize cannot be claimed by anyone other than the Participant (in the case of an individual) or the representative that registered on behalf of a team) and the Organiser does not accept any responsibility or liability if any Participant is not able to take up the prize, nor for distribution of the prize amongst any members of a winning team.

5.5                    The Organiser‘s decision is final on all matters and no correspondence or discussion will be entered into.

5.6                    The Organiser will send the names and county of each winner to anyone who writes by post to the Organiser at the address given in clause 2.1 within one month of the Announcement Date and who encloses a stamped self-addressed envelope.

  1. The Prizes

6.1                    The competition prizes are as listed below:

  • First prize: £7,000 plus a one-week visit to the Organiser’s headquarters in Shenzhen, Guangdongin China, together with those expenses detailed in clause 6.3.
  • Second prize: £5,000 plus a one-week visit to the Organiser’s headquarters in Shenzhen, Guangdongin China together with those expenses detailed in clause 6.3.
  • Third prize: £3,000 plus a one-week visit to the Organiser’s headquarters in China in December 2018 together with those expenses detailed in clause 6.3.
  • Honorable mention prize: Huawei smartphone for an individual Participant or for each team member where a team enters;
  • All winners will receive competition certificates at an award ceremony to take place on the 12 December 2018 at the British Museum in London. Travel expenses using public transport will be reimbursed by the Organiser.

6.2                    The trip to the Organiser’s headquarters will take place sometime between 12 December and the 31 December 2018, with exact timings to be notified at the beginning of December 2018 to the winning Participant or where a team enters, its representative, using the email address given on registration.

6.3                    The Organiser will be responsible for all the expenses directly related to the trip to the Organiser’s headquarters in China, as that trip has been planned by the Organiser only. Those expenses consist of flight, accommodation, food, transfer, travel insurance and visa costs. Where the winner has to initially incur such a cost itself (e.g. visa costs), these will be reimbursed by the Organiser subject to the winner producing original receipts. No spending money or incidental expenses are included in any of the prizes.

6.4                    The winners will be responsible for any taxes or charges incurred in claiming their respective prize.

6.5                    Where a prize involves travel to the Organiser’s headquarters in China, winners are responsible for ensuring that they are available to travel and hold valid passports, any necessary visas and travel documents on the dates specified by the Organiser. Dates once notified to the winners, cannot be changed.

6.6                    Where the prize involves a cash prize, this will either be transferred within 30 days of the Participant (where it is an individual) or in the case of a team, its representative, providing UK account details to the Organiser or be made by cheque. Payment into the accounts provided or provision of the cheque will be deemed to be payments validly made by the Organiser.

6.7                    Where the prize involves the supply of a Huawei smart phone, the Organiser will deliver the smart phones within 30 days from the winning Participant (or in the case of a team, its representative) providing an address for delivery. Delivery to such address will be deemed to be delivery validly made by the Organiser.

6.8                    The Organiser shall not be responsible or accept any liability in respect of the allocation of any prizes between any team members, nor for the inability of a winner to take up a prize.

6.9                    Prizes are subject to availability and the Organiser reserves the right to replace the prize with an alternative prize of equal or higher value if circumstances beyond the Organiser’s control make it necessary to do so.

6.10                 The prize is not negotiable. Exchange of a prize or their transfer to other persons is excluded. So, for example if a team member cannot make the dates for the trip, no other person is permitted to participate in the trip in that person’s place.

  1. Rights of Use

7.1                    The Participant acknowledges that the Organiser’s Material is owned by the Organiser and that the Participant is only permitted to use the Organiser Material in order to test and submit entries to the competition.

7.2                    The Participants agree to keep the Organiser’s Material confidential and shall not disclose it to any other individual or entity (other than to members of its team entering into this competition).

7.3                    The Organiser acknowledges that the code created and used by the Participants to de-noise the images submitted as a competition entry (the ‘Code’) is owned by the submitting Participants.

7.4                    The Participants warrant that the Code will not infringe any third party rights, including copyright and other intellectual property rights (e. g. patents, trademarks, design rights, know-how etc.) and that the Participants have the right to grant a license to the Organiser in accordance with clause 7.5.

7.5                    The Participants hereby grant the Organiser a non-exclusive limited right to access and create copies of the Code, for the purpose of evaluating that the submission to enter the competition is valid and that it otherwise complies with these conditions.

7.6                    The Participants hereby agree to give the Organiser for a period of 2 years from the Announcement Date the exclusive right of first refusal to exploit the Code, on such terms as the Organiser and the Participants may agree separately in writing.

7.7                    If the Organiser and the Participants cannot agree terms in connection with the Code within 28 days of the Organiser first notifying the Participant (or if it is a team, its representative)  that it would like to exploit the Code, then the Participants will be entitled to enter into negotiations and conclude an agreement with any third party with a view to such third party acquiring those rights provided that the Participants will not agree terms with any third party that are less favourable to the Participants than those which were proposed by the Organiser.

  1. Limitation of Liability

8.1                    Insofar as is permitted by law, the Organiser, its agents or distributors will not in any circumstances be responsible or liable to compensate a winner or accept any liability for any loss, damage, personal injury or death occurring as a result of taking up a prize except where it is caused by the negligence of the Organiser, its agents or distributors or that of their employees. A winner‘s statutory rights are not affected.

8.2                    Participants accept that on the Evaluation System there is a forum via which Participants can communicate with each other. Participants acknowledge that the Organiser accepts no responsibility for any communications between Participants via that forum.

  1. Data Protection and publicity

9.1                    By entering into this competition, the Participants agree to provide their personal information which will be used and disclosed by the Organiser and its authorized agents for the purposes of competition administration and prize fulfillment only and otherwise in accordance with the Privacy Notice available at

9.2                    Winners agree that the Organiser can use their name and photograph in promotional material in all formats worldwide, to publicise the winners of the competition.

  1. Miscellaneous

10.1                 In the event of circumstances outside the reasonable control of the Organiser or otherwise where fraud, abuse, and/or an error (human or technical) affects or could affect the proper operation of this competition or the awarding of prizes, the Organiser reserves the right to cancel or amend these conditions at any stage or this competition, but will endeavor to minimise the effect to Participants in order to avoid undue disappointment.

10.2                 If there is any conflict between the terms of these conditions and the Privacy Policy and Terms of Use of the Evaluation System, these conditions and the Privacy Notice referenced in clause 9 will prevail.

10.3                 These terms and conditions shall be governed by English law and the parties submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales.


Competition phase

Start: Nov. 1, 2018, midnight

Competition Ends

Nov. 30, 2018, 11:59 p.m.

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