computer vision, action recognition, video synopsis


Action recognition represents one of the most difficult problems in computer vision given that it embodies the combination of several uncertain attributes, such as the subtle variability associated with individual human behavior and the challenges that come with viewpoint variations, scale changes and different temporal extents. Nevertheless, action recognition solutions are critical in a great number of domains, such video surveillance, assisted living environments, video search, interfaces, and virtual reality. In this dissertation, we investigate template-based action recognition algorithms that can incorporate the information contained in a set of training examples, and we explore how these algorithms perform in action recognition and video summarization. First, we introduce a template-based method for recognizing human actions called Action MACH. Our approach is based on a Maximum Average Correlation Height (MACH) filter. MACH is capable of capturing intra-class variability by synthesizing a single Action MACH filter for a given action class. We generalize the traditional MACH filter to video (3D spatiotemporal volume), and vector valued data. By analyzing the response of the filter in the frequency domain, we avoid the high computational cost commonly incurred in template-based approaches. Vector valued data is analyzed using the Clifford Fourier transform, a generalization of the Fourier transform intended for both scalar and vector-valued data. Next, we address three seldom explored challenges in template-based action recognition. The first is the recognition and localization of human actions in aerial videos obtained from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), a new medium which presents unique challenges due to the small number of pixels per human, pose, and moving camera. The second issue we address is the incorporation of multiple positive and negative examples of a target action class when generating an action template. We address this issue by employing the Fukunaga-Koontz Transform as a means of generating a single quadratic template which, unlike traditional temporal templates (which rely on positive examples alone), effectively captures the variability associated with an action class by including both positive and negative examples in the template training process. Third, we explore the problem of generating video summaries that include specific actions of interest as opposed to all moving objects. In doing so, we explore the role of action templates in video summarization in an effort to provide a means of generating a compact video representation based on a set of activities of interest. We introduce an approach in which a user specifies the activities that interest him and the video is automatically condensed to a short clip which captures the most relevant events based on the user's preference. We follow the output summary video format of non-chronological video synopsis approaches, in which different events which occur at different times may be displayed concurrently, even though they never occur simultaneously in the original video. However, instead of assuming that all moving objects are interesting, priority is given to specific activities of interest which pertain to a user's query. This provides an efficient means of browsing through large collections of video for events of interest.


If this is your thesis or dissertation, and want to learn how to access it or for more information about readership statistics, contact us at

Graduation Date



Shah, Mubarak


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Degree Program

Computer Science








Release Date

July 2011

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)