Research and Advances

An application of heuristic search methods to edge and contour detection


This paper presents a method for detecting edges and contours in noisy pictures. The properties of an edge are embedded in a figure of merit and the edge detection problem becomes the problem of minimizing the given figure of merit. This problem can be represented as a shortest path problem on a graph and can be solved using well-known graph search algorithms. The relations between this representation of the minimization problem and a dynamic programming approach are discussed, showing that the graph search method can lead to substantial improvements in computing time. Moreover, if heuristic search methods are used, the computing time will depend on the amount of noise in the picture. Some experimental results are given; these show how various information about the shape of the contour of an object can be embedded in the figure of merit, thus allowing the extraction of contours from noisy pictures and the separation of touching objects.

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