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Dynamical models and machine learning for supervised segmentation

Shepherd, T.; (2009) Dynamical models and machine learning for supervised segmentation. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis is concerned with the problem of how to outline regions of interest in medical images, when the boundaries are weak or ambiguous and the region shapes are irregular. The focus on machine learning and interactivity leads to a common theme of the need to balance conflicting requirements. First, any machine learning method must strike a balance between how much it can learn and how well it generalises. Second, interactive methods must balance minimal user demand with maximal user control. To address the problem of weak boundaries,methods of supervised texture classification are investigated that do not use explicit texture features. These methods enable prior knowledge about the image to benefit any segmentation framework. A chosen dynamic contour model, based on probabilistic boundary tracking, combines these image priors with efficient modes of interaction. We show the benefits of the texture classifiers over intensity and gradient-based image models, in both classification and boundary extraction. To address the problem of irregular region shape, we devise a new type of statistical shape model (SSM) that does not use explicit boundary features or assume high-level similarity between region shapes. First, the models are used for shape discrimination, to constrain any segmentation framework by way of regularisation. Second, the SSMs are used for shape generation, allowing probabilistic segmentation frameworks to draw shapes from a prior distribution. The generative models also include novel methods to constrain shape generation according to information from both the image and user interactions. The shape models are first evaluated in terms of discrimination capability, and shown to out-perform other shape descriptors. Experiments also show that the shape models can benefit a standard type of segmentation algorithm by providing shape regularisers. We finally show how to exploit the shape models in supervised segmentation frameworks, and evaluate their benefits in user trials.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Dynamical models and machine learning for supervised segmentation
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language:English

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