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Object Categorization: Computer and Human Vision Perspectives

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The recognition of object categories has a rich history in computer vision. In the 1970s, generic object recognition systems sought to model and recognize objects based on their coarse, prototypical shape. These early systems employed complex 3-D models, which offered invariance to viewpoint (including image translation, rotation, and scale), articulation, occlusion, and minor within-class shape deformation. Despite powerful modeling paradigms, however, these early systems lacked the low- and intermediatelevel segmentation, grouping, and abstraction machinery needed to recover prototypical shapes from real images of real objects. Over the next two decades, the recognition community began to back away from this “holy grail” of recognition, bringing new models closer to the image in an effort to reduce the representational gap between extractable image features and model features. During this time, the community migrated from the CAD-based vision era, in which exact 3-D geometry was specified, to the appearance-based vision era, in which exact 2-D photometry was specified (either globally, or locally at interest points). Almost in parallel, approaches to biological vision have followed a roughly similar path; that is, there has been a migration from CAD-inspired structural models comprised of 3-D parts, to image-based models preserving much of an object’s input appearance, to, most recently, hybrid fragment-based models that rely on hierarchies of more localized image features.

This edited volume presents a unique multidisciplinary perspective on the problem of visual object categorization. The result of a series of four highly successful workshops on the topic, the book gathers many of the most distinguished researchers from both computer and human vision to reflect on their experience, identify open problems, and foster a cross-disciplinary discussion with the idea that parallel problems and solutions have arisen in both domains. Twenty-seven of these workshop speakers have contributed chapters, including fourteen from computer vision and thirteen from human vision. Their contributions range from broad perspectives on the problem to more specific approaches, collectively providing important historical context, identifying the major challenges, and presenting recent research results. This multidisciplinary collection is the first of its kind on the topic of object categorization, providing an outstanding context for graduate students and researchers in both computer and human vision.

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