Spatial distance dependent Chinese restaurant processes for image segmentation

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 24 (NIPS 2011)

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Soumya Ghosh, Andrei Ungureanu, Erik Sudderth, David Blei


The distance dependent Chinese restaurant process (ddCRP) was recently introduced to accommodate random partitions of non-exchangeable data. The ddCRP clusters data in a biased way: each data point is more likely to be clustered with other data that are near it in an external sense. This paper examines the ddCRP in a spatial setting with the goal of natural image segmentation. We explore the biases of the spatial ddCRP model and propose a novel hierarchical extension better suited for producing "human-like" segmentations. We then study the sensitivity of the models to various distance and appearance hyperparameters, and provide the first rigorous comparison of nonparametric Bayesian models in the image segmentation domain. On unsupervised image segmentation, we demonstrate that similar performance to existing nonparametric Bayesian models is possible with substantially simpler models and algorithms.