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This paper investigates a convex-relaxed kernel mapping formulation of image segmentation. We optimize, under some partition constraints, a functional containing two characteristic terms: 1) a data term, which maps the observation space to a higher (possibly infinite) dimensional feature space via a kernel function, thereby evaluating nonlinear distances between the observations and segments parameters and 2) a total-variation term, which favors smooth segment surfaces (or boundaries). The algorithm iterates two steps: 1) a convex-relaxation optimization with respect to the segments by solving an equivalent constrained problem via the augmented Lagrange multiplier method and 2) a convergent fixed-point optimization with respect to the segments parameters. The proposed algorithm can bear with a variety of image types without the need for complex and application-specific statistical modeling, while having the computational benefits of convex relaxation. Our solution is amenable to parallelized implementations on graphics processing units (GPUs) and extends easily to high dimensions. We evaluated the proposed algorithm with several sets of comprehensive experiments and comparisons, including: 1) computational evaluations over 3D medical-imaging examples and high-resolution large-size color photographs, which demonstrate that a parallelized implementation of the proposed method run on a GPU can bring a significant speed-up and 2) accuracy evaluations against five state-of-the-art methods over the Berkeley color-image database and a multimodel synthetic data set, which demonstrates competitive performances of the algorithm.