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Publication# Shapes from pixels

Arash Amini, Loïc Arnaud Baboulaz, Mitra Fatemi, Martin Vetterli

*Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, *2016

Journal paper

Journal paper

Abstract

Continuous-domain visual signals are usually captured as discrete (digital) images. This operation is not invertible in general, in the sense that the continuous-domain signal cannot be exactly reconstructed based on the discrete image, unless it satisfies certain constraints (e.g., bandlimitedness). In this paper, we study the problem of recovering shape images with smooth boundaries from a set of samples. Thus, the reconstructed image is constrained to regenerate the same samples (consistency), as well as forming a shape (bilevel) image. We initially formulate the reconstruction technique by minimizing the shape perimeter over the set of consistent binary shapes. Next, we relax the non-convex shape constraint to transform the problem into minimizing the total variation over consistent non-negative-valued images. We also introduce a requirement (called reducibility) that guarantees equivalence between the two problems. We illustrate that the reducibility property effectively sets a requirement on the minimum sampling density. One can draw analogy between the reducibility property and the so-called restricted isometry property (RIP) in compressed sensing which establishes the equivalence of the $\ell_0$ minimization with the relaxed $\ell_1$ minimization. We also evaluate the performance of the relaxed alternative in various numerical experiments.

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In today's digital world, sampling is at the heart of any signal acquisition device. Imaging devices are ubiquitous examples that capture two-dimensional visual signals and store them as the pixels of discrete images. The main concern is whether and how the pixels provide an exact or at least a fair representation of the original visual signal in the continuous domain. This motivates the design of exact reconstruction or approximation techniques for a target class of images. Such techniques benefit different imaging tasks such as super-resolution, deblurring and compression. This thesis focuses on the reconstruction of visual signals representing a shape over a background, from their samples. Shape images have only two intensity values. However, the filtering effect caused by the sampling kernel of imaging devices smooths out the sharp transitions in the image and results in samples with varied intensity levels. To trace back the shape boundaries, we need strategies to reconstruct the original bilevel image. But, abrupt intensity changes along the shape boundaries as well as diverse shape geometries make reconstruction of this class of signals very challenging. Curvelets and contourlets have been proved as efficient multiresolution representations for the class of shape images. This motivates the approximation of shape images in the aforementioned domains. In the first part of this thesis, we study generalized sampling and infinite-dimensional compressed sensing to approximate a signal in a domain that is known to provide a sparse or efficient representation for the signal, given its samples in a different domain. We show that the generalized sampling, due to its linearity, is incapable of generating good approximation of shape images from a limited number of samples. The infinite-dimensional compressed sensing is a more promising approach. However, the concept of random sampling in this scheme does not apply to the shape reconstruction problem. Next, we propose a sampling scheme for shape images with finite rate of innovation (FRI). More specifically, we model the shape boundaries as a subset of an algebraic curve with an implicit bivariate polynomial. We show that the image parameters are solutions of a set of linear equations with the coefficients being the image moments. We then replace conventional moments with more stable generalized moments that are adjusted to the given sampling kernel. This leads to successful reconstruction of shapes with moderate complexities from samples generated with realistic sampling kernels and in the presence of moderate noise levels. Our next contribution is a scheme for recovering shapes with smooth boundaries from a set of samples. The reconstructed image is constrained to regenerate the same samples (consistency) as well as forming a bilevel image. We initially formulate the problem by minimizing the shape perimeter over the set of consistent shapes. Next, we relax the non-convex shape constraint to transform the problem into minimizing the total variation over consistent non-negative-valued images. We introduce a requirement -called reducibility- that guarantees equivalence between the two problems. We illustrate that the reducibility effectively sets a requirement on the minimum sampling density. Finally, we study a relevant problem in the Boolean algebra: the Boolean compressed sensing. The problem is about recovering a sparse Boolean vector from a few collective binary tests. We study a formulation of this problem as a binary linear program, which is NP hard. To overcome the computational burden, we can relax the binary constraint on the variables and apply a rounding to the solution. We replace the rounding procedure with a randomized algorithm. We show that the proposed algorithm considerably improves the success rate with only a slight increase in the computational cost.