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An algorithm is developed that detects well-localized, unfragmented, thin edges in medical images based on optimization of edge configurations using a genetic algorithm (GA). Several enhancements were added to improve the performance of the algorithm over a traditional GA. The edge map is split into connected subregions to reduce the solution space and simplify the problem. The edge-map is then optimized in parallel using incorporated genetic operators that perform transforms on edge structures. Adaptation is used to control operator probabilities based on their participation. The GA was compared to the simulated annealing (SA) approach using ideal and actual medical images from different modalities including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), and ultrasound. Quantitative comparisons were provided based on the Pratt figure of merit and on the cost-function minimization. The detected edges were thin, continuous, and well localized. Most of the basic edge features were detected, Results for different medical image modalities are promising and encourage further investigation to improve the accuracy and experiment with different cost functions and genetic operators.