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An Efficient Uniform Cost Algorithm Applied to Distance Transforms
April 1989 (vol. 11 no. 4)
pp. 425-429

The uniform-cost algorithm is a special case of the A*-algorithm for finding the shortest paths in graphs. In the uniform-cost algorithm, nodes are expanded in order of increasing cost. An efficient version of this algorithm is developed for integer cost values. Nodes are sorted by storing them at predefined places (bucket sort), keeping the overhead low. The algorithm is applied to general distance transformation. A constrained distance transform is an operation which calculates at each pixel of an image the distance to the nearest pixel of a reference set, distance being defined as minimum path length. The uniform-cost algorithm, in the constrained case, proves to be the best solution for distance transformation. It is fast, the processing time is independent of the complexity of the image, and memory requirements are moderate.

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Index Terms:
picture processing; uniform cost propagation; uniform cost algorithm; distance transforms; shortest paths; bucket sort; pixel; graph theory; optimisation; pattern recognition; picture processing
Citation:
B.J.H. Verwer, P.W. Verbeek, S.T. Dekker, "An Efficient Uniform Cost Algorithm Applied to Distance Transforms," IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, vol. 11, no. 4, pp. 425-429, April 1989, doi:10.1109/34.19041
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