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Unsupervised image segmentation is an important component in many image understanding algorithms and practical vision systems. However, evaluation of segmentation algorithms thus far has been largely subjective, leaving a system designer to judge the effectiveness of a technique based only on intuition and results in the form of a few example segmented images. This is largely due to image segmentation being an ill-defined problem—there is no unique ground-truth segmentation of an image against which the output of an algorithm may be compared. This paper demonstrates how a recently proposed measure of similarity, the Normalized Probabilistic Rand (NPR) index, can be used to perform a quantitative comparison between image segmentation algorithms using a hand-labeled set of ground-truth segmentations. We show that the measure allows principled comparisons between segmentations created by different algorithms, as well as segmentations on different images. We outline a procedure for algorithm evaluation through an example evaluation of some familiar algorithms—the mean-shift-based algorithm, an efficient graph-based segmentation algorithm, a hybrid algorithm that combines the strengths of both methods, and expectation maximization. Results are presented on the 300 images in the publicly available Berkeley Segmentation Data Set.
Computer vision, image segmentation, performance evaluation of algorithms.

R. Unnikrishnan, C. Pantofaru and M. Hebert, "Toward Objective Evaluation of Image Segmentation Algorithms," in IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis & Machine Intelligence, vol. 29, no. , pp. 929-944, 2007.
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