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Evolutionary Computation

Winter 2008, Vol. 16, No. 4, Pages 483-507.
(doi: 10.1162/evco.2008.16.4.483)
© 2008 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Automated Design of Image Operators that Detect Interest Points
Article PDF (7.94 MB)

This work describes how evolutionary computation can be used to synthesize low-level image operators that detect interesting points on digital images. Interest point detection is an essential part of many modern computer vision systems that solve tasks such as object recognition, stereo correspondence, and image indexing, to name but a few. The design of the specialized operators is posed as an optimization/search problem that is solved with genetic programming (GP), a strategy still mostly unexplored by the computer vision community. The proposed approach automatically synthesizes operators that are competitive with state-of-the-art designs, taking into account an operator's geometric stability and the global separability of detected points during fitness evaluation. The GP search space is defined using simple primitive operations that are commonly found in point detectors proposed by the vision community. The experiments described in this paper extend previous results (Trujillo and Olague, 2006a,b) by presenting 15 new operators that were synthesized through the GP-based search. Some of the synthesized operators can be regarded as improved manmade designs because they employ well-known image processing techniques and achieve highly competitive performance. On the other hand, since the GP search also generates what can be considered as unconventional operators for point detection, these results provide a new perspective to feature extraction research.