New software makes digital photo searches simpler

November 14th, 2007 - 2:21 am ICT by admin  

The software automatically tags images as they are uploaded and also improves those tags by “learning” from users’ interactions with the system.

“Tagging itself is challenging as it involves converting an image’s pixels to descriptive words. But what is novel with the ‘Tagging over Time’ or T/T technology is that the system adapts as people’s preferences for images and words change,” said James Wang, lead researcher and associate professor of information sciences and technology (IST) at PSU.

Prof. Wang said the system is capable of accommodating evolving vocabulary and interpretations to images that people have uploaded and are uploading to systems such as Yahoo’s Flickr.

This allows the T/T system’s vocabulary to grow, replacing old tags with more relevant and more specific new tags, Prof. Wang said.

In tests, the T/T technology correctly annotated four out of every 10 images, which Prof. Wang said was a significant improvement over their earlier annotation system, ALIPR or Automatic Linguistic Indexing of Pictures-Real Time.

That system offered users a list of 15 possible annotations or words for an image-one of which was correct for 98 percent of images tested.

“The bottom line is that the system makes it easier to find photographs and is able to improve its performance by itself as time passes,” said graduate student Ritendra Datta.

“The advancement means time savings for consumers as well as improved searching and referral capabilities,” Datta said.

“With this system, users can more easily identify the best photographs in their collections. The system also suggests images which should be deleted from the digital cameras to make storage space for new photographs, for example,” he added.

Prof. Wang said the system could also improve image search engines by prioritizing visually pleasing images among the search results.

A paper describing the system was presented at the recent ACM Multimedia 2007 conference in Augsburg, Germany. (ANI)

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