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An efficient unambiguous stereo matching technique is presented in this paper. Our main contribution is to introduce a new reliability measure to dynamic programming approaches in general. For stereo vision application, the reliability of a proposed match on a scanline is defined as the cost difference between the globally best disparity assignment that includes the match and the globally best assignment that does not include the match. A reliability-based dynamic programming algorithm is derived accordingly, which can selectively assign disparities to pixels when the corresponding reliabilities exceed a given threshold. The experimental results show that the new approach can produce dense (>70 percent of the unoccluded pixels) and reliable (error rate < 0.5 percent) matches efficiently (<0.2 sec on a 2 GHz P4) for the four Middlebury stereo data sets.