Spatially Coherent Clustering with Graph Cuts

Ramin Zabih and Vladimir Kolmogorov.

In IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), June 2004.


Feature space clustering is a popular approach to image segmentation, in which a feature vector of local properties (such as intensity, texture or motion) is computed at each pixel. The feature space is then clustered, and each pixel is labeled with the cluster that contains its feature vector. A major limitation of this approach is that feature space clusters generally lack spatial coherence (i.e., they do not correspond to a compact grouping of pixels). In this paper, we propose a segmentation algorithm that operates simultaneously in feature space and in image space. We define an energy function over both a set of clusters and a labeling of pixels with clusters. In our framework, a pixel is labeled with a single cluster (rather than, for example, a distribution over clusters). Our energy function penalizes clusters that are a poor fit to the data in feature space, and also penalizes clusters whose pixels lack spatial coherence. The energy function can be efficiently minimized using graph cuts. Our algorithm can incorporate both parametric and non-parametric clustering methods. It can be applied to many optimization-based clustering methods, including k-means and k-medians, and can handle models which are very close in feature space. Preliminary results are presented on segmenting real and synthetic images, using both parametric and non-parametric clustering.