The discriminant center-surround hypothesis for bottom-up saliency

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 20 (NIPS 2007)

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Dashan Gao, Vijay Mahadevan, Nuno Vasconcelos


The classical hypothesis, that bottom-up saliency is a center-surround process, is combined with a more recent hypothesis that all saliency decisions are optimal in a decision-theoretic sense. The combined hypothesis is denoted as discriminant center-surround saliency, and the corresponding optimal saliency architecture is derived. This architecture equates the saliency of each image location to the discriminant power of a set of features with respect to the classification problem that opposes stimuli at center and surround, at that location. It is shown that the resulting saliency detector makes accurate quantitative predictions for various aspects of the psychophysics of human saliency, including non-linear properties beyond the reach of previous saliency models. Furthermore, it is shown that discriminant center-surround saliency can be easily generalized to various stimulus modalities (such as color, orientation and motion), and provides optimal solutions for many other saliency problems of interest for computer vision. Optimal solutions, under this hypothesis, are derived for a number of the former (including static natural images, dense motion fields, and even dynamic textures), and applied to a number of the latter (the prediction of human eye fixations, motion-based saliency in the presence of ego-motion, and motion-based saliency in the presence of highly dynamic backgrounds). In result, discriminant saliency is shown to predict eye fixations better than previous models, and produce background subtraction algorithms that outperform the state-of-the-art in computer vision.