An improved model for surround suppression by steerable filters and multilevel inhibition with application to contour detection

Giuseppe Papari*, Nicolai Petkov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademic

54 Citations (Scopus)
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Psychophysical and neurophysiological evidence about the human visual system shows the existence of a mechanism, called surround suppression, which inhibits the response of an edge in the presence of other similar edges in the surroundings. A simple computational model of this phenomenon has been previously proposed by us, by introducing an inhibition term that is supposed to be high on texture and low on isolated edges. While such an approach leads to better discrimination between object contours and texture edges w.r.t. methods based on the sole gradient magnitude, it has two drawbacks: first, a phenomenon called self-inhibition occurs, so that the inhibition term is quite high on isolated contours too; previous attempts to overcome self-inhibition result in slow and inelegant algorithms. Second, an input parameter called "inhibition level" needs to be introduced, whose value is left to heuristics. The contribution of this paper is two-fold: on one hand, we propose a new model for the inhibition term, based on the theory of steerable filters, to reduce self-inhibition. On the other hand, we introduce a simple method to combine the binary edge maps obtained by different inhibition levels, so that the inhibition level is no longer specified by the user. The proposed approach is validated by a broad range of experimental results. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1999-2007
Number of pages9
JournalPattern recognition
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept-2011
Event13th International Conference on Computer Analysis of Images and Patterns - , Germany
Duration: 2-Sept-20094-Sept-2009


  • Contour detection
  • Surround suppression
  • Steerable filters
  • CUES

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