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A novel switching median filter incorporating with a powerful impulse noise detection method, called the boundary discriminative noise detection (BDND), is proposed in this paper for effectively denoising extremely corrupted images. To determine whether the current pixel is corrupted, the proposed BDND algorithm first classifies the pixels of a localized window, centering on the current pixel, into three groups-lower intensity impulse noise, uncorrupted pixels, and higher intensity impulse noise. The center pixel will then be considered as "uncorrupted," provided that it belongs to the "uncorrupted" pixel group, or "corrupted." For that, two boundaries that discriminate these three groups require to be accurately determined for yielding a very high noise detection accuracy-in our case, achieving zero miss-detection rate while maintaining a fairly low false-alarm rate, even up to 70% noise corruption. Four noise models are considered for performance evaluation. Extensive simulation results conducted on both monochrome and color images under a wide range (from 10% to 90%) of noise corruption clearly show that our proposed switching median filter substantially outperforms all existing median-based filters, in terms of suppressing impulse noise while preserving image details, and yet, the proposed BDND is algorithmically simple, suitable for real-time implementation and application.