P. F. Felzenswalb and D. P. Huttenlocher. Efficient graph-based image segmentation. International Journal of Computer Vision, volume 59, number 2, 2004.

After introducing SEEDS [1] and SLIC [2], this article focusses on another approach to superpixel segmentation proposed by Felzenswalb & Huttenlocher. The procedure is summarized in algorithm 1 and based on the following definitions. Given an image $I$, $G = (V, E)$ is the graph with nodes corresponding to pixels, and edges between adjacent pixels. Each edge $(n,m) \in E$ is assigned a weight $w_{n,m} = \|I(n) - I(m)\|_2$. Then, for subsets $A,B \subseteq V$ we define $MST(A)$ to be the minimum spanning tree of $A$ and

$Int(A) = max_{n,m \in MST(A)} \{w_{n,m}\}$,

$MInt(A,B) = min\{Int(A) + \frac{\tau}{|A|}, Int(B) + \frac{\tau}{|B|}\}$.

where $\tau$ is a threshold parameter and $MInt(A,B)$ is called the minimum internal difference between components $A$ and $B$. Starting from an initial superpixel segmentation where each pixel forms its own superpixel the algorithm processes all edges in order of increasing edge weight. Whenever an edge connects two different superpixels, these are merged if the edge weight is small compared to the minimum internal difference.

function fh(
        $G = (V,E)$ // Undirected, weighted graph.
    sort $E$ by increasing edge weight
    let $S$ be the initial superpixel segmentation
    for $k = 1,\ldots,|E|$
        let $(n,m)$ be the $k^{\text{th}}$ edge
            if the edge connects different superpixels $S_i,S_j \in S$
                if $w_{n,m}$ is sufficiently small compared to $MInt(S_i,S_j)$
                    merge superpixels $S_i$ and $S_j$
    return $S$
Algorithm 1: The superpixel algorithm proposed by Felzenswalb & Huttenlocher.

The original implementation can be found on Felzenswalb's website. Generated superpixel segmentations can be found in figure 1.

ba_bsd_4_fh ba_bsd_5_fh ba_bsd_6_fh ba_bsd_7_fh ba_bsd_8_fh

Figure 1: Images from the Berkeley Segmentation Dataset [3] oversegmented using the algorithm proposed by Felzenswalb & Huttenlocher.
  • [1] R. Achanta, A. Shaji, K. Smith, A. Lucchi, P. Fua, S. Süsstrunk. SLIC superpixels. Technical report, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, 2010.
  • [2] M. van den Bergh, X. Boix, G. Roig, B. de Capitani, L. van Gool. SEEDS: Superpixels extracted via energy-driven sampling. European Conference on Computer Vision, pages 13–26, 2012.
  • [3] P. Arbeláez, M. Maire, C. Fowlkes, J. Malik. Contour detection and hierarchical image segmentation. Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, volume 33, number 5, pages 898–916, 2011.
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