Computer vision, computer vision system, object detection, object tracking, object segmentation


This dissertation addresses the problem of human detection and tracking in surveillance videos. Even though this is a well-explored topic, many challenges remain when confronted with data from real world situations. These challenges include appearance variation, illumination changes, camera motion, cluttered scenes and occlusion. In this dissertation several novel methods for improving on the current state of human detection and tracking based on learning scene-specific information in video feeds are proposed. Firstly, we propose a novel method for human detection which employs unsupervised learning and superpixel segmentation. The performance of generic human detectors is usually degraded in unconstrained video environments due to varying lighting conditions, backgrounds and camera viewpoints. To handle this problem, we employ an unsupervised learning framework that improves the detection performance of a generic detector when it is applied to a particular video. In our approach, a generic DPM human detector is employed to collect initial detection examples. These examples are segmented into superpixels and then represented using Bag-of-Words (BoW) framework. The superpixel-based BoW feature encodes useful color features of the scene, which provides additional information. Finally a new scene-specific classifier is trained using the BoW features extracted from the new examples. Compared to previous work, our method learns scene-specific information through superpixel-based features, hence it can avoid many false detections typically obtained by a generic detector. We are able to demonstrate a significant improvement in the performance of the state-of-the-art detector. Given robust human detection, we propose a robust multiple-human tracking framework using a part-based model. Human detection using part models has become quite popular, yet its extension in tracking has not been fully explored. Single camera-based multiple-person tracking is often hindered by difficulties such as occlusion and changes in appearance. We address such problems by developing an online-learning tracking-by-detection method. Our approach learns part-based person-specific Support Vector Machine (SVM) classifiers which capture articulations of moving human bodies with dynamically changing backgrounds. With the part-based model, our approach is able to handle partial occlusions in both the detection and the tracking stages. In the detection stage, we select the subset of parts which maximizes the probability of detection. This leads to a significant improvement in detection performance in cluttered scenes. In the tracking stage, we dynamically handle occlusions by distributing the score of the learned person classifier among its corresponding parts, which allows us to detect and predict partial occlusions and prevent the performance of the classifiers from being degraded. Extensive experiments using the proposed method on several challenging sequences demonstrate state-of-the-art performance in multiple-people tracking. Next, in order to obtain precise boundaries of humans, we propose a novel method for multiple human segmentation in videos by incorporating human detection and part-based detection potential into a multi-frame optimization framework. In the first stage, after obtaining the superpixel segmentation for each detection window, we separate superpixels corresponding to a human and background by minimizing an energy function using Conditional Random Field (CRF). We use the part detection potentials from the DPM detector, which provides useful information for human shape. In the second stage, the spatio-temporal constraints of the video is leveraged to build a tracklet-based Gaussian Mixture Model for each person, and the boundaries are smoothed by multi-frame graph optimization. Compared to previous work, our method could automatically segment multiple people in videos with accurate boundaries, and it is robust to camera motion. Experimental results show that our method achieves better segmentation performance than previous methods in terms of segmentation accuracy on several challenging video sequences. Most of the work in Computer Vision deals with point solution; a specific algorithm for a specific problem. However, putting different algorithms into one real world integrated system is a big challenge. Finally, we introduce an efficient tracking system, NONA, for high-definition surveillance video. We implement the system using a multi-threaded architecture (Intel Threading Building Blocks (TBB)), which executes video ingestion, tracking, and video output in parallel. To improve tracking accuracy without sacrificing efficiency, we employ several useful techniques. Adaptive Template Scaling is used to handle the scale change due to objects moving towards a camera. Incremental Searching and Local Frame Differencing are used to resolve challenging issues such as scale change, occlusion and cluttered backgrounds. We tested our tracking system on a high-definition video dataset and achieved acceptable tracking accuracy while maintaining real-time performance.


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 Computing

Degree Program

Computer Engineering








Release Date

December 2014

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


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