Given an ensemble of distinct, low-level segmentations of an image, our goal is to identify visually “meaningful ” segments in the ensemble. Knowledge about any specific objects and surfaces present in the image is not available. The selection of image regions occupied by objects is formalized as the maximum-weight independent set (MWIS) problem. MWIS is the heaviest subset of mutually non-adjacent nodes of an attributed graph. We construct such a graph from all segments in the ensemble. Then, MWIS selects maximally distinctive segments that together partition the image. A new MWIS algorithm is presented. The algorithm seeks a solution directly in the discrete domain, instead of relaxing MWIS to a continuous problem, as common in previous work. It iteratively finds a candidate discrete solution of the Taylor series expansion of the original MWIS objective function around the previous solution. The algorithm is shown to converge to an optimum. Our empirical evaluation on the benchmark Berkeley segmentation dataset shows that the new algorithm eliminates the need for hand-picking optimal input parameters of the state-of-the-art segmenters, and outperforms their best, manually optimized results.
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