Content based image retrieval


Content-Based Image Retrieval has been an active research area for decades. In a CBIR system, one or more images are used as query to search for similar images. The similarity is measured on the low level features, such as color, shape, edge, texture. First, each image is processed and visual features are extract. Therefore each image becomes a point in the feature space. Then, if two images are close to each other in the feature space, they are considered similar. That is, the k nearest neighbors are considered the most similar images to the query image. In this K-Nearest Neighbor (k-NN) model, semantically similar images are assumed to be clustered together in a single neighborhood in the high-dimensional feature space. Unfortunately semantically similar images with different appearances are often clustered into distinct neighborhoods, which might scatter in the feature space. Hence, confinement of the search results to a single neighborhood is the latent reason of the low recall rate of typical nearest neighbor techniques. In this dissertation, a new image retrieval technique - the Query Decomposition (QD) model is introduced. QD facilitates retrieval of semantically similar images from multiple neighborhoods in the feature space and hence bridges the semantic gap between the images’ low-level feature and the high-level semantic meaning. In the QD model, a query may be decomposed into multiple subqueries based on the user’s relevance feedback to cover multiple image clusters which contain semantically similar images. The retrieval results are the k most similar images from multiple discontinuous relevant clusters. To apply the benifit from QD study, a mobile client-side relevance feedback study was conducted. With the proliferation of handheld devices, the demand of multimedia information retrieval on mobile devices has attracted more attention. A relevance feedback information retrieval process usually includes several rounds of query refinement. Each round incurs exchange of tens of images between the mobile device and the server. With limited wireless bandwidth, this process can incur substantial delay making the system unfriendly iii to use. The Relevance Feedback Support (RFS) structure that was designed in QD technique was adopted for Client-side Relevance Feedback (CRF). Since relevance feedback is done on client side, system response is instantaneous significantly enhancing system usability. Furthermore, since the server is not involved in relevance feedback processing, it is able to support thousands more users simultaneously. As the QD technique improves on the accuracy of CBIR systems, another study, which is called In-Memory relevance feedback is studied in this dissertation. In the study, we improved the efficiency of the CBIR systems. Current methods rely on searching the database, stored on disks, in each round of relevance feedback. This strategy incurs long delay making relevance feedback less friendly to the user, especially for very large databases. Thus, scalability is a limitation of existing solutions. The proposed in-memory relevance feedback technique substantially reduce the delay associated with feedback processing, and therefore improve system usability. A data-independent dimensionality-reduction technique is used to compress the metadata to build a small in-memory database to support relevance feedback operations with minimal disk accesses. The performance of this approach is compared with conventional relevance feedback techniques in terms of computation efficiency and retrieval accuracy. The results indicate that the new technique substantially reduces response time for user feedback while maintaining the quality of the retrieval. In the previous studies, the QD technique relies on a pre-defined Relevance Support Support structure. As the result and user experience indicated that the structure might confine the search range and affect the result. In this dissertation, a novel Multiple Direction Search framework for semi-automatic annotation propagation is studied. In this system, the user interacts with the system to provide example images and the corresponding annotations during the annotation propagation process. In each iteration, the example images are dynamically clustered and the corresponding annotations are propagated separately to each cluster: images in the local neighborhood are annotated. Furthermore, some of those images are returned to the user for further annotation. As the user marks more images, iv the annotation process goes into multiple directions in the feature space. The query movements can be treated as multiple path navigation. Each path could be further split based on the user’s input. In this manner, the system provides accurate annotation assistance to the user - images with the same semantic meaning but different visual characteristics can be handled effectively. From comprehensive experiments on Corel and U. of Washington image databases, the proposed technique shows accuracy and efficiency on annotating image databases.


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Graduation Date





Hua, Kien A.


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Computer Science

Degree Program

Computer Science








Release Date


Length of Campus-only Access

5 years

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Engineering and Computer Science, Engineering and Computer Science -- Dissertations, Academic