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This paper presents a novel segmentation approach based on a Markov random field (MRF) fusion model which aims at combining several segmentation results associated with simpler clustering models in order to achieve a more reliable and accurate segmentation result. The proposed fusion model is derived from the recently introduced probabilistic Rand measure for comparing one segmentation result to one or more manual segmentations of the same image. This non-parametric measure allows us to easily derive an appealing fusion model of label fields, easily expressed as a Gibbs distribution, or as a nonstationary MRF model defined on a complete graph. Concretely, this Gibbs energy model encodes the set of binary constraints, in terms of pairs of pixel labels, provided by each segmentation results to be fused. Combined with a prior distribution, this energy-based Gibbs model also allows for definition of an interesting penalized maximum probabilistic rand estimator with which the fusion of simple, quickly estimated, segmentation results appears as an interesting alternative to complex segmentation models existing in the literature. This fusion framework has been successfully applied on the Berkeley image database. The experiments reported in this paper demonstrate that the proposed method is efficient in terms of visual evaluation and quantitative performance measures and performs well compared to the best existing state-of-the-art segmentation methods recently proposed in the literature.
Date of Publication: June 2010