Pattern Recognition 43 (2010) 619 -- 629

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Pattern Recognition
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A naive relevance feedback model for content-based image retrieval using multiple similarity measures
Miguel Arevalillo-Herráez a, ∗ , Francesc J. Ferri a , Juan Domingo b
a b

Department of Computer Science, University of Valencia, Avda. Vicente Andrés Estellés, 1, 46100-Burjasot, Spain Institute of Robotics, University of Valencia, Spain




Article history: Received 19 January 2009 Received in revised form 27 June 2009 Accepted 13 August 2009 Keywords: Content-based image retrieval Relevance feedback Similarity combination

This paper presents a novel probabilistic framework to process multiple sample queries in content based image retrieval (CBIR). This framework is independent from the underlying distance or (dis)similarity measures which support the retrieval system, and only assumes mutual independence among their outcomes. The proposed framework gives rise to a relevance feedback mechanism in which positive and negative data are combined in order to optimally retrieve images according to the available information. A particular setting in which users interactively supply feedback and iteratively retrieve images is set both to model the system and to perform some objective performance measures. Several repositories using different image descriptors and corresponding similarity measures have been considered for benchmarking purposes. The results have been compared to those obtained with other representative strategies, suggesting that a significant improvement in performance can be obtained. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction Content based image retrieval (CBIR) embraces a set of techniques which aim to recover pictures from large image repositories according to the interests of the user. Usually, a CBIR system represents each image in the repository as a set of descriptors, and uses a corresponding set of distance or (dis)similarity functions defined over this composite feature space to estimate the relevance of a picture to a query. Although other methods also exist (e.g. [1]), the most common approach to formulate the query is based on submitting an example image (or selecting the most similar from a set of images). This method is usually referred to as query by example (QBE), and can be extended to let the user submit multiple pictures [2]. If this is the case, negative examples can also be considered to let the user specify image aspects which are not desired. The assumption that semantic similarity is related to the similarity computed from low level image descriptors is implicit to these procedures. Since this usually does not hold true, the objective of most CBIR techniques proposed so far is to reduce the existing gap between the semantics induced from the low level features and the meaningful semantics of the image from a high level viewpoint.

∗ Corresponding author. Tel.: +34 96 354 39 62. E-mail addresses: (M. Arevalillo-Herráez), (F.J. Ferri), (J. Domingo). 0031-3203/$ - see front matter © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.patcog.2009.08.010

Relevance feedback has been adopted by most recent approaches to reduce this gap in a convenient way. When relevance feedback is used, image retrieval is considered an iterative process in which the original query is refined or modified interactively, to progressively obtain a more accurate result. At each iteration, the system retrieves a series of images ordered according to a given similarity measure, and requires user interaction to mark the relevant and non-relevant images among the retrieved ones. This information is used to adapt the settings of the system and to produce a new set of retrieved images. This process is repeated until the retrieval contains relevant enough images or a desired or sufficiently good (in terms of user's interest) picture is found. This paper presents a relevance feedback framework to process multiple image queries consisting of both positive and negative samples. Although this can be used with other simpler combination strategies, it is also shown that the methodology benefits from the use of a recently introduced probabilistic model [3] to appropriately combine several similarity measures. The remainder of the paper is organized around several major sections. In the next section, the state of the art and the context in which the present work lies is outlined. Section 3 presents the model used, outlines the assumptions made, and gives a detailed motivation and description of the proposed technique. Section 4 describes an implementation of the proposed approach and provides all the corresponding details along with the results of a number of comparative experiments performed whose results support the main conclusions of the present work that are outlined in the last section.

For a more comprehensive and broader review. In this direction. many methods give positive and negative samples the same or a similar treatment (i. these weights represent the relative importance of each feature within a vector as well as their importance across the entire data set. feature weighting techniques treat the feature spaces globally rather than locally [10]. computed separately one by one. This use of negative samples makes the algorithm immune to the unbalanced positive and negative feedback problem that occurs with other methods (in fact the more negative samples. together with the prior. Specifically. Unfortunately. and make little use of negative samples. although some recent attempts have been made to address this issue [20]. The main problem with all these formulations is that parameter setting may become critical for different databases and different descriptors [19]. In [21]. becoming more selective as the search progresses. Rui and coworkers proposed an interactive retrieval approach which takes into account the user's subjective perception by dynamically updating certain weights [8]. based on the modeling of user preferences as a probability distribution on the image space. the parameter values cannot be generalized and depend on the particular database and descriptors used for retrieval (sometimes requiring the use of heuristics). these approaches work well if the query concept is convex in the feature space. some of the most relevant methods to our particular interest are reviewed. this is rarely the case. they present several disadvantages. this results in a simple and effective algorithm that only does simple computations on the available images. They presented a simple algorithm for computing a new query point at each iteration that can represent better the images of interest to the user. the distance measures applied and the . One-class SVMs and other extensions have been adapted to the particular context of image retrieval [15–18]. Another general problem of most methods is that they require an initial set of “good” positive samples. The first approaches to relevance feedback were inspired by other techniques typically used in the context of general information retrieval [6]. One of the problems with these approaches comes from the fact that the corresponding estimators need to be simplified and combined with other approaches (as e. On the one hand. A representative example is the method used in the PicHunter system.g. the approach is non-parametric and independent of the low level features used. Each SOM classifies every image in the database into one of a two dimensional grid of cells. an adaptive Bayesian scheme which incorporates the user preferences by means of a user model is used. In this system. In the approach we present in this paper. positive and negative selections are used to determine the degree of membership of each picture to this set.g. Finally the score assigned to each picture is the addition of the scores awarded to the cell it belongs to in each of the SOMs. an approach based on the nearest neighbor paradigm is proposed. most of these methods suffer from the small sample size problem (lack of data). Relevance feedback in image retrieval In the last decade. a relatively large number of probabilistic relevance feedback techniques have also been proposed. A current trend in the design of relevance feedback mechanism is to look at it as a pattern recognition problem and then use appropriate methodologies and tools to conveniently solve it. In fact. In general. gives rise inductively to a probability distribution on the event space (databases and set of all possible history sequences). dependencies between image features are usually ignored [11]. Other interesting and successful approaches to CBIR include the one presented in [10]. In [23]. Other algorithms that belong to this approach include [26–28] in which a sound formulation of the problem is given. The system attempts to capture the meaning of a selection by modifying a series of parameters at each iteration to imitate the user's behavior. This approach is proposed both in low-level feature spaces.629 2. Each image is ranked according to a relevance score depending on nearest-neighbor distances. In particular. This model. A regression model has been proposed recently in [11]. Instead of retrieving a set of ordered images. The procedure takes the set of relevant images the user has selected and computes a new point based on the standard deviation of the features used. their role can be exchanged). a cluster-based unsupervised learning strategy is used to improve the search performance by fully exploiting the similarity information. so that pictures with similar descriptor values are classified under the same or a close cell. awarding a score to each cell which depends on how many of the positive and negative user selections it contains. Besides many of the existing methods are parametric and require an adjustment process to reach their optimum performance levels. Usually. and constitutes a major research line. [4. / Pattern Recognition 43 (2010) 619 -. The application of probability theory to the CBIR problem is not new. This type of mechanisms embraces some of the fastest approaches to relevance feedback. Both memory requirements and execution time scale linearly with the number of images in the database. most of them based on Bayesian frameworks. negative instances are used to determine the context of the positive selection and disambiguate the concept being searched. Then.e. in which a separate self-organizing map (SOM) is built for a number of different content descriptors. The goal of this method is to compute the parameters (weights) of a given distance function at the same time as the best query point. In this section.5]. Moreover. The resulting maps are then low-pass filtered to spread the information into neighboring cells. Another procedure that belongs to this group was proposed by Ciocca and Schettini [9]. the images are seen as vectors of weights in the space of low level features. At each iteration all SOMs are processed in parallel. given the available feedback from the user at each iteration. the more information is considered). and models the logit of this probability as the output of a linear model whose inputs are the low level image features. the reader is referred to e. and these are used to yield a new image ranking. where images are represented in terms of their dissimilarities from the set of relevant images [22]. dimensionality reduction) in order to apply them reliably in the image retrieval context where a severe unbalanced small sample size classification problem needs to be faced. and others with more dissimilar values appear distant in the map. Arevalillo-Herráez et al. The MindReader system proposed by Ishikawa uses a method that combines ideas from both approaches [7]. On the other hand. Under certain circumstances. by considering which other pictures were shown to the user. Another similar approach was presented in [25]. In [19]. This yields the a posteriori from which the predictive distribution is calculated and used to show to the user a new set of images until she is satisfied or the target image has been found. Besides. and in “dissimilarity spaces”. This algorithm considers the probability of an image belonging to the set of those sought by the user. it retrieves groups of pictures by applying a graph-theoretic clustering algorithm to a collection of images in the vicinity of the query. It is worth mentioning the use of support vector machines (SVM) in order to robustly achieve a maximum separation between relevant and nonrelevant examples and be able to retrieve more accurate and relevant images [12–14]. proposed by Cox et al. a large number of different strategies to process the information captured from the user interaction have been proposed in the context of image and information retrieval.620 M. These were based on adapting the similarity measure or moving the query point so that it gets closer to the relevant results and farther from those which are non-relevant. This distribution is the prior distribution and its parameters are modified based on the information provided by the user. [24]. However. The system then updates the queries so as to place more weight on relevant elements and less on irrelevant ones. the authors propose a technique that defines a fuzzy set so that the degree of membership of each image in the repository to this fuzzy set is related to the user's interest in that image. negative and positive samples are given a different treatment.

yp }. we will concentrate on the particular selection of the user giving rise to b. from which a subset Pt ⊂ St has been marked as relevant. So. .e. we can consider there is a set of already seen images St ⊂ X. the information about the sought concept contained in P and N consists only of a mere bipartition b from the universe of all possible bipartitions of S. In more detail. choosing yj among the n + 1 images in {yj } ∪ N). another one is to keep only the latest iterations or even only the last one.629 621 indexing techniques utilized. p(bj |xi ).M. using relevance information directly provided by the user. this can be considered as a memory policy that does not alter the rest of the algorithm. This probability is p(xi |b) and by applying the Bayes theorem we have p(xi |b) = p(b|xi )P(xi ) p(b) In this equation. P. as this is not possible. This in turn leads to the necessity of estimating such probability.1. we also assume that this similarity can be identified with the probability of a pair of images being considered similar by the user. Our CBIR system consists of an iterative and interactive system in which the user gives feedback by marking as relevant some of the images that are shown at each iteration. texture. N) which are particular cases of bipartitions of the elements in the sets {yj } ∪ N for j = 1. Consequently. . From now on. etc. . given that the sought image is (represented by) xi . q) which we can read as the probability that image xi is similar to q. zn } as positive and negative information about the concept or kind of image being searched for. A possible choice is to include all images seen in all previous iterations. . Arevalillo-Herráez et al. if we could have access to it. where M stands for the “model” of image similarity considered. we consider instead the set of p unitary selections bj = ({yj }. . The definition of which images are included in the set S is left to the implementation. can be assumed proportional to the probability of relevance of yj and inversely proportional to the probability of relevance of the images being shown together with yj . global color. the same kind of representation or descriptors could be computed for this image. we can write p(bj |xi ) = p(yj |xi ) x∈{yj }∪N p(x|xi ) In other words. Indeed. Notice that this formula applies equally to either images in S or in X\S. . In particular. Whatever the case. . composed of m individuals xi . These techniques are commonly used in this context because approaches based on fitting models need to trade off the number of parameters and the effective dimensionality. For this purpose. . P(xi ) is the prior probability of image with feature vector xi being relevant and p(b) (which will not be further needed) is the unconditional probability associated to the bipartition b. at iteration t we have P = {y1 . . we will drop all subindices t and assume we are referring to a particular iteration of the relevance feedback loop. the image xi has not necessarily been previously seen by the user.e. Assuming that a pairwise measure of the probability of relevance of any image with regard to xi exists. This does not mean that a particular image representing the searched concept is necessarily present in the collection. the probability that an image xi ∈ X be relevant to the user (semantically close enough to the sought concept or subjectively equal to the image q representing it) can be estimated as the conditional probability of xi being relevant given that the user has selected this particular bipartition of S. X. these sources of information are taken from the multiple representations. . can be characterized as the probability of relevance of yj with regard to xi . Without loss of generality. the different types of descriptors such as local color. these are used to compute a final ranking according to which pictures are sorted by relevance probability. It is worth noting that the problem has been significantly simplified by considering that all seen images have been given at the same time. This p(b|xi ) is the probability that the particular user selects the bipartition b given that the sought concept is conveniently (or exactly) represented by image xi (as it was q in the original problem). / Pattern Recognition 43 (2010) 619 -. In our case we have chosen to keep in S all images seen in former iterations. by assuming that the prior probability of any image being considered relevant is the same for all images in X it is possible to use the probability p(b|xi ) as the normalized relevance score R(xi . i. . . . Once the problem has been stated like this. the conditional probability of selecting bj given xi . xj ). In order to obtain a convenient approximation of the above probability. In principle this can be as simple as measuring the (normalized) Euclidean distance between xi and xj or as elaborated as measuring relevance from several distances taking user's preferences into account [3]. that can be extracted from an image. pM (similar|xi . Let us also assume that a particular user is interested in retrieving images from X related to a particular concept he/she has in mind.e. . X = {xi }m . most existing methods make use of some form of a feedback mechanism. i. Note that this can be a very crude approximation but our assumption is that it will suffice from the point of view of ranking purposes. Then. In our case. pM (similar|xi . p(yj |xi ) and a rescaling term that will be different for each bj . The proposed method estimates intermediate probabilities considering that additional and independent sources of information are available. given a bipartition b=({y1 . But. b represents a bipartition of S into P and N. a point q in the feature space. N). . N) of the elements in S. as considered in this work. we could define this score as based on any available measure of probability of being relevant (or subjectively similar) with regard to q. N). At a particular iteration t. . and that this concept can be materialized as an image q that can be represented as any other image in X. This makes it possible to use it in conjunction with dimensionality reduction methods. If the sought concept was available in the form of an image. we will decompose the bipartition selected by the user into a series of unitary selections as if the user had been forced to select only one image as relevant. yp } and N = S\P = {z1 . . then the conditional probability of the user selecting precisely bj (that is. and that for each of them different i=1 descriptors or representations can be obtained. The problem consists of obtaining an appropriate relevance score or ranking for any image xi in X given P and N which will be referred to as R(xi . the method proposed here may in principle work well with either low or high dimensionalities of the feature vector. i. In fact. Moreover. P. we need to define this score using instead the information contained in P and N at a particular iteration of the relevance feedback loop. A novel relevance feedback approach The objective of any probability-based CBIR system consists of ordering all the images in the database according to the probability that they are relevant from the users' point of view. 3. 3. p. Formalization Let us assume we have a database of images. Our purpose is to identify the probability of choosing b from among all possible bipartitions of S with the joint probability of choosing all bj where each positive image yj is selected when the user is seeing only the subset {yj } ∪ N. The goal is to produce the best possible ranking given all the information available at a particular moment. We also assume that a form of measuring semantic or subjective similarity between any two images is given. it just means that such image must exist and.

. Consequently. x1 . L. N) ≡ y∈P S(d(y. xj ). xi )) x∈{y}∪N S(d(x. to similarity scores proportional to the probability of subjective similarity. . Experiments and results 4. as in most closely related prior work. (1) by their corresponding similarity scores obtained through the score function. d. p(x|xi ) is the probability of x being (semantically) relevant when the concept that is being sought is xi .32]. This repository is a subset of the one used in the evaluation sections of [25. Pre-processing operations such as Gaussian or linear feature normalizations [29. 4. . . xj ) where images x may have multiple representations.1. paintings. the above expression for the composite probability may be rewritten as L p(similar|d) = P(similar) k=1 p(dk |similar) p(dk ) (2) . xi ) x∈{y}∪N pM (similar|x. xk ). skies. ceramic tiles. . pM (similar|xi . Arevalillo-Herráez et al. Moreover. clouds. notice that for any image x. • A subset composed of 5476 images extracted from a commercial collection called “Art Explosion”. a much more appropriate option is to incorporate subjectivity into the model by using previously gathered user preferences. etc. . distributed by the company Nova Development (http://www. . . .622 M. using some images obtained from the Web and others taken by the authors. can now be written as p(similar|d) = p(d|similar) · P(similar) p(d) and can be conveniently represented and managed by estimating in a parametric or semiparametric way [3] each of the probability distribution functions p( k |similar) and the corresponding equalization mappings. Ek ( ).2. xj ). Probability of relevance from user data The above outlined approach computes the conditional probability of relevance (given a particular selection) from pairwise subjective similarities given by pM (similar|xi . . textures. . xi )) Note that the above substitution can be safely done because in Eq. xL . This mapping is L L pM (similar|y. . a reasonable approximation of their joint probability will be given by p p All denominators in the previous equation can be dropped by applying a convenient mapping (equalization) to each dk defined as k p(b1 . For this purpose. This probability can be reliably approximated by any available probability of subjective similarity between the two images. the final ranking for each image xi is given as R(xi . the descriptors include a 10 × 3 HS color histogram and texture information in the form of two granulometric cumulative distribution functions [34]. pM (similar|x. These databases are: • A small repository which was intentionally assembled for testing. Nevertheless. . k = 1. based on any image similarity model M. the assignment of different weights to each set of descriptors [29. Databases used A number of comparative experiments have been carried out in order to assess the relative merits of the proposed approach in its different aspects and in comparison to other competing or alternative approaches. buildings. .com). we have used objective measures of performance on several different retrieval experiments using three different databases which are representative of a range of different situations. . p(d|similar) is the conditional probability of obtaining particular distance values on pairs of similar images and p(d) the unconditional probability of getting d as the value for the vector of similarities given two randomly chosen images. These have been carefully classified by experts into 62 categories so that images under the same category represent a similar semantic where P(similar) is the prior probability of two images whatsoever be considered similar by the user. and relating the probability of subjective similarity between two images. xi and xj . xi ). (3) can now be seen as a mapping from distance values. the final ranking for images in database X at each iteration will be computed only in terms of subjective pairwise similarities with regard to images in the already seen set S = P ∪ N and will be defined as R(xi . horses. . d(·. using pairs of similar images through a kernel method with Gaussian windows [33]. The righthand side of Eq. the probability density functions have been estimated on equalized distances.31. In this case.629 To conclude. . N) ≡ y∈P in such a way that by changing the corresponding variables in Eq. In this particular work as in the original one.30]. bp |xi ) ≈ j=1 p(bj |xi ) = j=1 p(yj |xi ) x∈{yj }∪N p(x|xi ) = Ek (dk ) = dk 0 p(z) dz Now. if we assume mutual independence among the above unitary selections bj for j = 1. look-up tables for each mapping Ek have been constructed from a given training set of pairs of images. . and each of these representations has an associated distance measure dk (xk . p.11]. By using the independence assumption. either a trivial or more elaborated combination of the measures defined in each of the multiple representations could be used after proper normalization as an estimate of pM (similar|xi . In this work. dL ). xj ).novadevelopment. / Pattern Recognition 43 (2010) 619 -. The precise method [3] starts by composing a distance vector containing all available distances. (2) we can write L p(similar|d) ∝ k=1 p( k |similar) (3) where the proportionality constant has been dropped because it does not depend on d. xj ) ≈ p(similar|d(xi . the similarity measures defined on the different subsets of features can be considered as both conditionally and unconditionally independent. (1) multiplicative constants neglected in the definition of the involved scores get conveniently cancelled. S. this new probability which depends on distance values only and not on particular images. and the use of the product and sum rules are common in this context. k . Then. P. xj )) = p(similar|d) Using the Bayes theorem. This is merely an approximation for particular pairs of closely related similarities. xi ) (1) S(d) ≡ k=1 p( k |similar) = k=1 p(Ek (dk )|similar) (4) 3. ·) ≡ d ≡ (d1 . . i j In principle. . P. trees. A recent approach to combine plain similarity measures in an adaptive way taking into account user preferences [3] has been adopted in this work in order to obtain an appropriate estimate of pM (similar|xi . By substituting the probabilities of similarity in Eq. to the fact that its composite distance is d(xi . The 1508 pictures it contains have been manually classified as belonging to 28 different themes such as flowers.

a 32 dimensional vector with the 4 × 2 color HS histograms for each of the resulting subimages after one horizontal and one vertical split. 10) (9. In particular. another distance combination method has also been used. All the algorithms implemented have been adapted to work with the same feature sets to allow for a fair comparison. Arevalillo-Herráez et al. This causes that all methods obtain monotonically increasing results with regard to the number of iterations.2 [3] optimizes the proposed system in combining feature spaces. a further experiment has been done integrating the PN method into the NN approach .17]. (c) a fuzzy strategy implemented as described in [23]. Besides. and (e) the nearest neighbor approach presented in [30]. all different methods including any parameter settings have been implemented as in the corresponding references. A summary of the databases used in this work and their main characteristics is given in Table 1. precision is defined as the ratio of relevant images among them. implemented as in [9. using horizontal and vertical segments as structuring elements. a 16 dimensional vector with the co-occurrence in horizontal. Apart from this. At each iteration. the size of this repository and the large diversity of its contents make it a good candidate for evaluation and benchmarking purposes. vertical and the two diagonal directions. the available information about classes is used as a ground truth for considering images as relevant or not and to consequently measure the performance of each method. The performance of the system has been measured as averaged precision and recall values. SVM and NN. This has lead to a total of 1022. Comparative analysis In this subsection. In other words. This selection accumulates the elements in the sets P and N. As in many related previous works [30.3. all relevant images from previous iterations have been plugged into the retrieved results for the next and negative selections have been banned to avoid that they appear again in the next iterations of the same search. Apart from minor details. a relatively large number of different searches have been performed and the corresponding results have been averaged. in order to evaluate the performance of the technique at producing the entire ranking.42] has been adopted. the interactive role of the user is simulated by taking into account the true class labels of the images shown. full precision vs. except for the classes with a cardinality below this number (in this case. Once a cutoff value (number of retrieved images) is set.629 Table 1 The three databases used in the present work along with their main characteristics. respectively. respectively. (b) a classification based engine that uses similar principles to that used in the PicSOM system [10]. The (dis)similarity between pairs of images in each considered representation space (descriptor) is computed as the Euclidean distance except for the case of HS histograms in which histogram intersection [41] has been used. and user judgments about similarity/relevance have been simulated considering that all pictures under the same category are similar. namely Gabor convolution energies [35]. 32. In particular. 1203 and 1420 individual retrieval processes. and a 32 dimensional vector with the HS histogram for the entire image. 32 × 32 SOMs for the second and 16 × 16 SOMs for the third. fuzzy. the number of images shown at each iteration has been set to 50 and the number of relevance feedback iterations was 10 for all reported experiments. SVMs used Gaussian kernels and required specific tuning for each database. the proposed approach has also been tested by substituting the training phase in the PN method (proposed + PN) by the use of a simple Gaussian normalization (GN) of distances as in the QPM approach [44] (proposed + GN). 3. a similar experimental setting to that used in [19. Gray level co-occurrence matrix [36]. while recall is the ratio of relevant images retrieved with regard to the total number of relevant images in the database. Moreover. Lowering the first of did not show significantly different behavior in the experimentation considered.42. 4. (d) a biased SVM approach using the models in [12. This could make a direct comparison between the methods unfair.18]. The available categories have been used as concepts. 32) concept. 10. The 10 × 3 HS color histogram and six texture descriptors have been computed for each picture in this database. 4. which are submitted to the system for processing. Name Web Art Corel Size 1508 5476 30 000 Categories 28 62 71 Descriptors/similarities 3 7 4 Dimensionalities 623 (30. Experimental setting In order to be able to assess the methods in a way as objective as possible. SOM. 7. Although the chosen feature sets are not well suited to the retrieval problem as mentioned in [19]. the number of targets chosen from the class has been limited to the number of pictures in that class). a smaller cutoff value of 20 is also considered to evaluate the behavior of the algorithms when considering the first positions in the rankings. Twenty targets per class (60 for the smallest database) have been selected.44].2. shown images from the same class are marked as relevant and the remaining ones are marked as non-relevant. • The subset of the Corel database used in [30]. This is composed of 30 000 images which were manually classified into 71 categories. A fixed number of images has been selected at random from each class and submitted as targets (initial relevant image) to the system together with an initial set S0 of images retrieved from the database X using a random ordering (the same images and the same initial order have been used for all algorithms). 12. Also. Gaussian random Markov fields [37]. standard deviation and skewness for each hue. for each database.M. / Pattern Recognition 43 (2010) 619 -. To obtain more reliable results. 6. the coefficients of fitting the granulometry distribution with a B-spline basis [38] and two versions of the spatial size distribution [39]. recall curves considering all possible cutoff values for each particular iteration have been computed. As we are not dealing with real users. a comparative analysis of the results obtained with the proposed and other existing representative CBIR strategies is carried out. The SOM-based approach uses 64 × 64 SOMs for the first repository. the averaged precision on the retrieved images (50) at each iteration has been used to compare the different algorithms. and all images under different categories represent different concepts. saturation and value in the HSV color space. This is. 16. but it requires a training stage and thus the use of some extra information which is not used in the other methods. 10. For this reason. 10) (30. The descriptors used are those provided in the KDD-UCI repository [40] namely: A nine dimensional vector with the mean. we consider (a) a classical feature weighting and query movement approach. respectively. We will refer to these algorithms as QPM (query point movement). The use of the probabilistic distance normalization (PN) presented in Section 3.

290 0.571 0.664 0.394 0.932 0.562 0.666 0.969 0.872 0.711 0.752 0.622 0.599 0.948 0.734 0.854 0.509 0.795 0.683 0.509 0.492 0.177 0.630 0.464 0.694 0.801 0.620 0.391 0.835 0.594 0.842 0.491 0.927 0.668 0.728 0.916 0.719 0.591 0.939 0.547 0.658 0.836 0.563 0.691 0.663 0.688 0.906 0.463 0.771 0.574 0.515 0.429 0.703 0. In the case of using the PN method.327 0. In particular. the training of the equalizing functions Ek ( ) in Eq.334 5 0.445 0.887 0.285 0.629 Table 2 Precision obtained at a cutoff value of 20 for all approaches considered.808 0.356 0. These have been used to estimate the probability distributions which are required by the approach.905 0.680 0.409 0.893 0.961 0.847 0.703 8 0.389 0.135 0.957 0.335 0.626 0.868 0.963 0.388 0.716 0.524 0. (4) has been done offline by gathering judgments from real users on a neutral set of pairs of images (not contained in any of the databases).973 0.455 0.669 0.957 0.887 0.722 0.623 0.734 9 0.925 0.576 0.287 4 0.400 0.750 0.108 0.366 0.253 0.359 0.574 0.635 0.598 0.726 0.487 0.435 0.699 0.765 0.717 0.407 0.358 0.627 0.457 0.516 0.530 0.975 0.722 0.763 0.201 0.329 0.962 0.702 0.790 0.250 0.886 0.779 0.928 0.537 0.403 0.347 0.466 9 0.281 0.421 0.494 0.664 0.226 0.576 0.820 0.464 0.495 0.648 0.594 0.919 0.267 0.738 0.288 0.609 0.894 0.795 0.4.934 0.108 0.708 0.391 0.858 0.867 0.785 Art Corel Table 3 Precision obtained at a cutoff value of 50 for all approaches considered.634 0.823 0.564 0.808 0.566 0.491 10 0.911 0.882 0.747 0.817 0.291 0.956 0.439 8 0. resulting on a total of 4500 evaluations.549 0.588 0.671 0.547 0.811 0.927 0.707 0.666 0.068 0.760 0.543 0.754 0.790 0.658 0.864 0.711 0.803 0.563 0.965 0.611 0.475 0. Results and discussion The averaged precision at cutoff values 20 and 50 for all the algorithms considered are presented in Tables 2 and 3.783 0. / Pattern Recognition 43 (2010) 619 -.502 0.849 0.490 0.968 0.574 0.928 0.592 0.526 0.373 6 0.234 0.561 0.338 0.639 0.616 0.670 0.196 2 0.678 0. respectively.969 0.177 0.740 0.526 0.885 0.948 0.562 0.953 0.246 0.743 0.301 0.762 10 0. Note that the same training data have been used to build all functions Ek ( ) used in the experiments.500 0.935 0.478 0.539 0.873 0.668 0.808 0.697 0.688 0.505 0.960 0.722 0.517 0.525 0.728 0.632 0.622 0. Database Method Iteration 1 Web Proposed + PN Proposed + GN NN + PN NN SVM QPM Fuzzy SOM Proposed + PN Proposed + GN NN + PN NN SVM QPM Fuzzy SOM Proposed + PN Proposed + GN NN + PN NN SVM QPM Fuzzy SOM 0.741 0.361 0.268 0.916 0.631 0.814 0.870 0.856 0.227 0.935 0.891 0.841 0.701 0.906 0.357 0. 4.574 0.589 0.942 0.694 0.195 0.944 0.657 0.430 0.923 0.701 0.787 0.843 0.135 2 0.692 0.733 0.391 0.587 0.644 0.221 0. each of a group of 15 users has performed a total of 300 binary judgments.436 0.357 0.230 3 0.744 0.909 0.571 0.722 0.971 0.658 0.739 0.925 0.646 0.259 0.970 0.593 0.914 0.311 0.801 0.390 0.557 5 0.119 0.779 0.697 0.419 0.927 0.661 0.738 0.859 0.557 0.708 0.759 0.617 0.909 0.886 0.684 0.331 0.369 3 0.745 0. The .192 0.387 0.691 0.646 0.153 0.763 0.307 0.615 6 0.557 0.743 0.621 0.435 0.824 0.950 0.521 0.480 4 0.685 0.534 0.827 0.459 0.152 0.613 0.813 0.857 0.919 0.612 0.663 7 0.776 0.883 0.975 0.451 0.590 0.925 0.891 0.886 0.476 0.480 0.597 0.548 0.616 0.850 0.206 0.703 0.204 0.608 0.714 0.267 0.662 0.517 0.672 0.337 0.836 0.962 0.409 7 0.420 0.840 0.551 0.832 0.645 0.649 0.719 0.643 0.497 0.162 0.621 0.230 0.624 0.875 0.528 0.454 0. Database Method Iteration 1 Web Proposed + PN Proposed + GN NN + PN NN SVM QPM Fuzzy SOM Proposed + PN Proposed + GN NN + PN NN SVM QPM Fuzzy SOM Proposed + PN Proposed + GN NN + PN NN SVM QPM Fuzzy SOM 0.652 0.972 0.882 0.527 0.566 0.452 0.732 0.948 0.572 0.596 0.958 0.425 0.613 0.502 0.456 0. Arevalillo-Herráez et al.797 0.645 0.695 0.966 0.685 0.874 0.363 0.192 0.663 0.419 0.624 M.590 0.169 0.434 0.850 0.072 0.717 0.870 0.773 0.461 0.604 0.420 0.643 0.443 0.508 0.813 0.681 0.525 0.372 0.275 0.609 0.949 0.377 0.827 0.283 0.514 Art Corel (NN + PN).930 0.772 0.612 0.304 0.311 0.688 0.684 0.610 0.379 0.551 0.478 0.812 0.841 0.929 0.503 0.530 0.522 0.432 0.796 0.737 0.851 0.223 0.819 0.570 0.486 0.650 0.646 0.249 0.964 0.112 0.941 0.661 0.652 0.822 0.794 0.894 0.463 0.521 0.163 0.339 0. These tests aim to evaluate the individual contribution to the improvements achieved by the approach presented in this work and the PN method described in [3].896 0.968 0.574 0.738 0.909 0.924 0.613 0.845 0.969 0.741 0.724 0.887 0.752 0.585 0.547 0.708 0.469 0.

1.6 0. On the right.629 625 Precision at a cutoff value of 20 Precision at a cutoff value of 50 0. Another trend worth mentioning is the increase rate of the Fuzzy method that starts as the worst and consistently ranks amongst the best ones at the end of the iterative process.6 0. In this case.2 0.4 0. evidencing the potential of the method in realistic CBIR systems composed of tens of thousands of even millions of images. the same information for a cutoff value of 50.5 0. The SVM approach on the other hand.7 0. differences in precision close to 25% with respect to the following best method can be observed around the third iteration. Lesser differences are obtained if precision is measured at k = 20. This behavior can be observed for both cutoff values considered.4 0.7 0. at the right side of the figure.1 1 2 3 4 Proposed+PN NN SVM Fuzzy QPM SOM Corel 5 6 7 Iteration 8 9 10 5 6 7 Iteration 8 9 10 Fig. This effect gets somewhat clearer for a cutoff value of 50. all methods give similar results for the smallest database but differences between the proposed method and the others become more significant as the size of the database increases. the proposed method clearly dominates all other methods in the whole range of the curve. 2 aim to evaluate the entire ranking produced. 1. at the third iteration.4 1 2 3 4 Proposed+PN NN SVM Fuzzy QPM SOM 0.3 1 2 3 4 Proposed+PN NN SVM Fuzzy QPM SOM Web 5 6 7 Iteration 8 9 10 Precision at a cutoff value of 50 5 6 7 Iteration 8 9 10 Precision at a cutoff value of 20 0. has a remarkable behavior in Corel and specially in Art.7 0. In particular. Besides. the probabilistic algorithm proposed clearly shows better retrieval results in all databases with the only exception of SVM for Art database in the last iterations.6 0.6 0. recall graphs shown in Fig. and show that the behavior exhibited by the methods can be generalized regardless of the cutoff value considered.3 0.M.5 0.2 1 2 3 4 Proposed+PN NN SVM Fuzzy QPM SOM 0. / Pattern Recognition 43 (2010) 619 -.8 0.7 0. While no other algorithm performs consistently better than the rest in all the repositories tested. differences increase and the superiority of the proposed method becomes more evident.9 0.5 0. Arevalillo-Herráez et al.7 0. On the left.4 0. As it can be seen from the results for a cutoff value of 20 in Fig. still with significant improvements over the NN approach ranging from 8% to 15% at the same iterations. The same happens at iteration 7 with the only exception of SVM in Art database.5 0.4 0. 1 (left).5 0.8 0.3 0.2 1 2 3 4 Proposed+PN NN SVM Fuzzy QPM SOM 0.6 0. averaged retrieval precision at a cutoff value 20 is compared to that of other algorithms in the three databases considered.5 0.4 0.6 0.3 0.1 1 2 3 4 Proposed+PN NN SVM Fuzzy QPM SOM Art 5 6 7 Iteration 8 9 10 Precision at a cutoff value of 50 5 6 7 Iteration 8 9 10 Precision at a cutoff value of 20 0. In particular.3 0.8 0. in which the method is the best at the last iterations.9 0.2 0. same results are also graphically shown in Fig. The NN method is the second or third best for Web and Corel databases but ranks as the worst for Art maybe because the type of images in this database (given the descriptors adopted in this work). differences in performance become greater as the repository size becomes larger. in the largest repository and for k = 50. This good behavior can be explained in part because a . The precision vs.

6 0.2 0 0 0.4 0.8 1 1 0.6 0. Although the results show that the proposed method produces slightly better results when it is combined with the PN method.6 Recall 0.4 0. To evaluate the extent of the influence of incorporating the PN method presented in [3].2 0 Proposed+PN NN SVM Fuzzy QPM SOM 0.2 0 Proposed+PN NN SVM Fuzzy QPM SOM 0.8 Proposed+PN NN SVM Fuzzy QPM SOM Proposed+PN NN SVM Fuzzy QPM SOM 0.6 Recall 0.2 0.4 0. it may not be representative enough for a more realistic situation in which real .4 0. very good and accurate labelling is available for this database.2 0 Art Proposed+PN NN SVM Fuzzy QPM SOM 0.8 1 0 0.8 Precision Web 0.2 0.8 1 1 0 0. recall graphs for iterations 3 (left) and 7 (right).2 0.629 Iteration 3 1 0.4 0.4 0. the results obtained with the plain NN approach and when this is used in combination with the PN method have also been plotted (note that other methods have their own built-in feature combination strategies and cannot benefit from this distance combination procedure). 2.6 Recall 0.6 0.6 0.8 1 Fig. Fig.4 0. / Pattern Recognition 43 (2010) 619 -. So it is not surprising that with no noise in the labels and with enough training data an appropriate SVM model obtains the best results. the simple rule arrived at in this paper together with the offline information about user preferences implicitly contained in the similarity combination rule used as a subjective similarity model. It is important to point out that although the performance evaluation carried out in this work is totally objective and fair. Besides. As a general trend.4 0.6 0.6 Recall 0. 3 and 4 compare the results obtained with the proposed approach and when replacing this combination technique by a standard GN approach (subtracting the mean and dividing by 3 times the standard deviation). in the three databases considered.4 0.6 Recall 0.4 0.8 Precision Iteration 7 1 0.8 0.6 0.8 1 Precision 0.2 0 0 1 0.6 Recall 0. Compared precision vs.8 Precision 0 0.2 0. Arevalillo-Herráez et al. This suggests that the improvements achieved are mostly caused by the relevance feedback model presented in this paper.8 0.4 0.2 Precision Proposed+PN NN SVM Fuzzy QPM SOM 0.2 0 0 1 0.4 0.2 0.8 1 Precision Corel 0.626 M. This fact together with the large amount of feedback available at the last iterations convert the learning problem into a standard and wellbehaved one. and not by the use of a more complex combination strategy. have allowed us to obtain a very competitive relevance feedback model that is able to consistently improve the results of recently proposed approaches with very similar foundations and assumptions. a higher retrieval precision than with the other methods tested is still obtained when this is replaced by a simpler GN.

Evaluation of the effect of using the PN approach in [3].7 0. Concluding remarks In this paper.8 0.5 0. On the other hand.6 Web 0. Another improvement under study is to adapt the probability distributions used to compute Eq.7 0.3 0.4 0. A major challenge but more feasible approach.9 0. users are driving the relevance feedback mechanism of the methods.7 2 3 4 Proposed+PN Proposed+GN NN+PN NN Art 5 6 7 Iteration 8 9 10 5 6 7 Iteration 8 9 10 Precision at a cutoff value of 20 0. would be to start with .g.6 0.6 0.3 0. On the one hand. According to the particular empirical setting and corresponding objective measures of performance obtained. (4) to each particular user by considering specific training sets.8 0.7 0.5 0. 5. In this case. the contribution of the relevance feedback for different subjective similarity models and not only the one considered in this work.3 0.8 0. This behavior is more apparent at the first relevance feedback iterations when a limited amount of training data is available.5 0.5 0. This experiments would represent the real context in which the system is meant to work.5 1 2 3 4 Proposed+PN Proposed+GN NN+PN NN 0. / Pattern Recognition 43 (2010) 619 -.2 1 2 3 4 Proposed+PN Proposed+GN NN+PN NN Precision at a cutoff value of 50 0. some settings should be adapted for a more realistic implementations and other issues such as user fatigue and concept drift should be addressed. Further work is being carried out in several different directions.M. a novel relevance feedback mechanism for contentbased image retrieval that integrates seamlessly with similarity fusion methods adapted to user preferences is proposed.4 0.5 Proposed+PN Proposed+GN NN+PN NN 0.4 0.6 0. the proposed method consistently outperforms other recently presented similar approaches that are based on very similar assumptions.6 0.7 0.7 0. a major concern would be obtaining sufficient data to construct the probability distributions. more exhaustive experiments using more and bigger databases will lead to a more careful evaluation of the relative merits of each of the components of the proposed approach e. 3.6 0. Arevalillo-Herráez et al. carefully designed experiments with real users are being developed.629 627 Precision at a cutoff value of 20 Precision at a cutoff value of 50 0. This is a limitation present in most of the recent proposals and it is due to the great difficulty of establishing an appropriate benchmarking for relevance feedback schemes [42.9 0.4 0.2 1 0.2 1 2 3 4 Proposed+PN Proposed+GN NN+PN NN Corel 5 6 7 Iteration 8 9 10 5 6 7 Iteration 8 9 10 Fig. The method has been derived from basic assumptions using a probabilistic approach but generates a straightforward rule that can be easily implemented.45]. In particular and as commented above.4 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Iteration 8 9 10 Precision at a cutoff value of 50 5 6 7 Iteration 8 9 10 Precision at a cutoff value of 20 0.3 1 2 3 4 Proposed+PN Proposed+GN NN+PN NN 0.

4 0. influences and trends of the new age. J. J. Dom. / Pattern Recognition 43 (2010) 619 -. Springer. Evaluation of the effect of using the PN approach in [3]. Ashley. M.2 0 Proposed+PN Proposed+GN NN+PN NN 0.6 0. CSE Technical Report 06-009. Huang. Wang.Z.6 0. Query by image and video content: the qbic system. References [1] M. Thom. Giacinto for his help on the evaluation of this paper.2 0. Relevance feedback for image retrieval: a comprehensive review.M. Flickner. Joshi. Ortega for providing the thumbnails of these images.6 Recall 0. TIN2009-14205-C04-03. W. generic functions (without any prior knowledge) and update them with data captured from the user interaction. D. Hafner. Computer 28 (9) (1995) 23–32. New York.8 Precision 0 0.629 1 0. [3] M. D. Steele. D. Arevalillo-Herráez.2 0. B. such an extensive evaluation would have turned much more difficult. P.8 Proposed+PN Proposed+GN NN+PN NN Proposed+PN Proposed+GN NN+PN NN 0. Yanker. Salton. This work has been partially funded by FEDER. McGrawHill.4 0. H. Pattern Recognition Letters 29 (16) (2008) 2174–2181.8 1 1 0. [4] X. Image retrieval: ideas. Tahaghoghi. Gorkani. Introduction to Modern Information Retrieval.8 1 Fig. [2] S. 227–240. J.E. Q. in: SPIRE 2002: Proceedings of the 9th International Symposium on String Processing and Information Retrieval.4 0.6 Recall 0.2 0. M.8 1 1 0. G. DPI200615542-C04-04 and Consolider Ingenio 2010 CSD2007-00018. London. Huang.A.4 0.8 1 Proposed+PN Proposed+GN NN+PN NN Precision Corel 0. Williams. facilitating the manually performed classification of the 30 000 images repository. Penn State University. H. Ferri. 4.M.4 0. Sawhney. TIN2006-10134. Petkovic.8 Precision 0 0. UK. Datta.8 1 Proposed+PN Proposed+GN NN+PN NN Precision 0. Multimedia systems 8 (6) (2003) 536–544.2 0 0 0. Multiple example queries in content-based image retrieval. Domingo.4 0.4 0. T. 2002.6 0.4 0. 2006. Li.2 0 0 1 0. pp. Combining similarity measures in content-based image retrieval.4 0.6 Recall 0. D. Arevalillo-Herráez et al.8 Precision Iteration 7 Web 0. [5] R.2 0 0 0.6 0. We would also like to thank Dr.2 0 Art 0.2 0.2 0.6 0.6 Recall 0.8 Precision Iteration 3 1 0. recall graphs for iterations 3 (left) and 7 (right). [6] G. M. Without this repository. McGill.2 0. in the three databases considered. Compared precision vs.4 0. Zhou. the Valencian Regional Government.2 0 0 1 0. F. .J. Niblack.J.628 M. J.6 0. 1983.8 Proposed+PN Proposed+GN NN+PN NN 0. Acknowledgments We would like to thank Dr. J. Lee. and Spanish MEC through projects GV2008-032.6 Recall 0.4 0.4 0. TIN2006-12890. J.6 Recall 0.8 1 0.

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