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The registration of pre-operative volumetric datasets to intra-operative two-dimensional images provides an improved way of verifying patient position and medical instrument location. In applications from orthopedics to neurosurgery, it has great value in maintaining up-to-date information about changes due to intervention. We propose a mutual information-based registration algorithm which establishes the proper alignment via a stochastic gradient ascent strategy. Our main contribution lies in estimating probability density measures of image intensities with a sparse histogramming method which could lead to potential speedup over existing registration procedures and deriving the gradient estimates required by the maximization procedure. Experimental results are presented on fluoroscopy and CT datasets of a real skull, and on a CT-derived dataset of a real skull, a plastic skull and a plastic lumbar spine segment.