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Todays Content-Based Image Retrieval (CBIR) techniques are based on the "k-nearest neighbors" (k- NN) model. They retrieve images from a single neighborhood using low-level visual features. In this model, semantically similar images are assumed to be clustered in the high-dimensional feature space. Unfortunately, no visual-based feature vector is sufficient to facilitate perfect semantic clustering; and semantically similar images with different appearances are always clustered into distinct neighborhoods in the feature space. Confinement of the search results to a single neighborhood is an inherent limitation of the k-NN techniques. In this paper we consider a new image retrieval paradigm — the Query Decomposition model - that facilitates retrieval of semantically similar images from multiple neighborhoods in the feature space. The retrieval results are the k most similar images from different relevant clusters. We introduce a prototype, and present experimental results to illustrate the effectiveness and efficiency of this new approach to content-based image retrieval.
Date of Conference: 03-07 April 2006