Carnegie Mellon University
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A Comparison of Image Segmentation Algorithms

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journal contribution
posted on 2005-09-01, 00:00 authored by Caroline Pantofaru, Martial Hebert
Unsupervised image segmentation algorithms have matured to the point where they generate reasonable segmentations, and thus can begin to be incorporated into larger systems. A system designer now has an array of available algorithm choices, however, few objective numerical evaluations exist of these segmentation algorithms. As a first step towards filling this gap, this paper presents an evaluation of two popular segmentation algorithms, the mean shift-based segmentation algorithm and a graph-based segmentation scheme. We also consider a hybrid method which combines the other two methods. This quantitative evaluation is made possible by the recently proposed measure of segmentation correctness, the Normalized Probabilistic Rand (NPR) index, which allows a principled comparison between segmentations created by different algorithms, as well as segmentations on different images. For each algorithm, we consider its correctness as measured by the NPR index, as well as its stability with respect to changes in parameter settings and with respect to different images. An algorithm which produces correct segmentation results with a wide array of parameters on any one image, as well as correct segmentation results on multiple images with the same parameters, will be a useful, predictable and easily adjustable preprocessing step in a larger system. Our results are presented on the Berkeley image segmentation database, which contains 300 natural images along with several ground truth hand segmentations for each image. As opposed to previous results presented on this database, the algorithms we compare all use the same image features (position and colour) for segmentation, thereby making their outputs directly comparable.


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