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Proceedings of the ASME 2015 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences &

Computers and Information in Engineering Conference

August 2-5, 2015, Boston, Massachusetts, USA




Guimei Zhang, Binbin Chen YangQuan Chen∗

Computer vision Institute Mechatronics Embedded Systems and Automation Lab
Nanchang Hangkong University School of Engineering
Nanchang, Jiangxi, University of California
China, 330063 Merced, CA, 95343,
Email address: Email address:

Image matching is one of the most important problems in Fraction calculus, a mathematical discipline dealing with
computer vision. Scale Invariant Feature Transform (SIFT) al- the derivative and integral of arbitrary order, is an extension
gorithm has been proved to be effective for detecting features for of integer one. It was proposed in the 17th and develope-
image matching. However SIFT algorithm has limitation to ex- d in the 19th[1]. Many definitions of fractional calculus have
tract features in textile image or self-similar construction image. been proposed and the most popular definitions among them
Fortunately fractional differentiation has advantage to strength- involve: Riemann-Liouville definition[2], Grünwald-Letnikow
en and extract textural features of digital images. Aiming at the definition[3] and Caputo definition[4], where R-L definition and
problem, this paper proposes a new method for image matching G-L definition can perform convolution operation, so they are
based on fractional differentiation and SIFT. The method calcu- wildly used in the fields of signal processing. But Caputo def-
lates the image pyramid combining the Riemann-Liouville(R-L) inition is more suitable for boundary analysis, thus it has been
fractional differentiation and the derivative of the Gaussian func- found in engineering computation. Recently, more and more
tion. Thus image feature has been enhanced, and more feature fractional differential-based methods were applied in the fields
points can be extracted. As a result the matching accuracy is of image processing, such as edge detection[5,6,7], noise remov-
improved. Additionally, a new feature detection mask based on ing[8], image enhancement[9,10], image segmentation[11] and
fractional differential is constructed. The proposed method is a image encryption[12]. However all these applications have lim-
significant extension of SIFT algorithm. The experiments car- itation in image low-lever processing. In this paper, we aim our
ried out with images in database and real images indicate that interests at middle-lever image processing using fractional order,
the proposed method can obtain good matching results. It can like image matching. Image matching is one of the most im-
be used for matching textile image or some self-similar construct portant problems in computer vision, it has been used in many
image. fields, such as object recognition, image retrieval, robot naviga-
tion and so on. Scale Invariant Feature Transform (SIFT) al-
gorithm[13,14] has been approved to be effective for extracting
features for image matching. However SIFT algorithm always
fails in extracting accurate feature points in textile or similar-
∗ Corresponding author. Tel: +86 13870995902; +86 791 87638712. E-mail: like structure image. As a result, the match accuracy is not high (G. M. Zhang), (Y, Q. Chen) as expected. Generally, the textile detail feature of image has

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fractal-like structure, and the fractional differentiation is an ef- here ∗ is the convolution operator, and (3) can be rewritten by
fective tool to cope with this fractal problem. Based on this fact,
we combine R-L definition-based fractional differentiation and α d d
SIFT to match textile image, and propose a new feature detection a Dt f (t ) = (a I 1−α f (t)) = (h(t, α ) ∗ f (t))
dt t dt
mask based on fractional differentiation. The proposed method −α · t −α −1
is a significant extension of the application of SIFT algorithm. = h′ (t, α ) ∗ f (t) = ∗ f (t), (5)
Γ(1 − α )
The outline of this paper is as follows. In Section 2, we in-
troduce the definition of R-L fractional differentiation and con-
struction method of fractional differentiation mask. In Section 3 so we get the fractional differential operator, as follow
a new SIFT algorithm is proposed based on fractional differenti-
ation. Some experiment results and analysis are given in Section −α · t −α −1
h′ (t, α ) = , (6)
4. Finally, the paper is concluded in Section 5. Γ(1 − α )

based on (6), we cut out the first n terms


 a0 = 1,
As mentioned above, G-L definition and R-L definition can 
 −α ·1−α −1

perform convolution operation when being used in image pro-
 ) ,
 a1 = Γ(1−−αα −1
cessing, furthermore, calculation simply is an important charac- −α ·2
a2 = Γ(1−α ) , (7)
teristic of R-L definitionso in this paper we propose a new SIFT 
 ..

algorithm based on R-L fractional differentiation. In addition, 
 .

 a = −α ·n−α −1 .
we construct a new fractional differential operator. n Γ(1−α )

2.1 Riemann-Liouville Fractional Differential Defini- Fractional operation can be also expanded to 2-D space eas-
tion ily, based on (7), we construct fractional differential mask from
Let Ω = [a, b](−∞ < a < b < ∞) is a finite real interval. The eight directions, its size is (2n + 1) × (2n + 1), denoted as Fig.1.
left R-L fractional integral of order is defined as As we know, the mask is decided by two parameters, one is mask
size n, the other is the order α of fractional differentiation. We
∫ t
α 1 usually select the optimal parameters based on experiments.
a It f (t) = (t − τ )α −1 f (τ )d τ ,t ∈ [a, b], (1)
Γ(α ) a

where the gamma function Γ(z) is defined by the integral

∫ ∞
Γ(z) = e−t t z−1 dt. (2)

Suppose f (t) is an absolutely continuous function in Ω, the

left R-L fractional differentiation of order α , a Dtα f (t) is given by

α d
a Dt f (t ) = (a I 1−α f (t))
dt t

1 d t
= (t − τ )−α f (τ )d τ ,t ∈ [a, b]. (3)
Γ(1 − α ) dt a FIGURE 1: (2n + 1) × (2n + 1) Fractional differentiation mask.

2.2 Design Fractional Differential Mask based on

Riemann-Liouville Definition
From (1), the fractional integral can be rewritten by convo-
1−α t −α ∗ f (t) SIFT algorithm is proposed by David Lowe, it can extract
a It f (t) = = h(t, α ) ∗ f (t), (4)
Γ(1 − α ) distinctive features from images which can be used to perform

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reliable matching between different views of an object or scene. (12).
The features are invariant to image scale, rotation, and partially
invariant, addition of noise, and change in illumination. Large √
numbers of features can be extracted from images with SIFT al- m(x, y) = (Lα (x + 1, y) − Lα (x − 1, y))2 + (Lα (x, y + 1) − Lα (x, y − 1))2 ,
gorithms. However SIFT algorithm does not work well when (11)
an image include lots of textile details or fractal-like structure,
in this case many feature points will not be extracted effective- Lα (x, y + 1) − Lα (x, y − 1)
ly. Fortunately fractional differential has advantage to strengthen θ (x, y) = arctan . (12)
Lα (x + 1, y) − Lα (x − 1, y)
and extract textural features and retain low-frequency componen-
t. So we combine Gaussian kernel function and fractional differ-
entiation operator, and propose a new image match algorithm, Then we statistics keypoints histogram in its 3 × 3 window,
the detail is as follows: the orientation corresponding to peak value is that of the key-
Step 1. Extreme point detection in scale-space: we com- point.
bine Gaussian kernel and R-L fractional differentiation to get the Step 4. Keypoints SIFT feature vector generation: To ensure
formula in scale space. rotation invariance, we first rotate coordinate axis to keypoints
principal orientation. Second we select size 16 × 16 window cen-
tered at the keypoint, and divide it into 4 × 4 small window. And
Lα (x, y, σ ) = G(x, y, σ ) ∗ w(i, j) ∗ I(x, y), (8) then we calculate eight directions gradient histogram in each s-
mall window. Finally, we can get a 128 dimension SIFT feature
descriptor for each keypoint. After that, similarity can be mea-
where ∗ is the convolution operator,α is the order of fractional
−(x2 +y2 )
sured by using Euclid distance.
differentiation. G(x, y, σ ) = 2πσ
2σ 2 is the Gaussian kernel
function, w(i, j) is differential operator, and I(i, j) denotes two
dimension image. In order to detect extreme point in scale space, 4 EXPERIMENTS RESULT AND ANALYSIS
we use two different scale Gaussian kernels to convolute with the 4.1 Parameter Analysis
input image, such as: This section aims at analyzing the relation between match
accuracy and the parameters α and n. Fig.2 shows the original
image and transformed image by being rotated 60◦ degree and
Dα (x, y, σ ) = (G(x, y, kσ ) − G(x, y, σ )) ∗ w(x, y) ∗ I(x, y) scaled. Fig.2a is original image, Fig.2b is the transformed image.
= Lα (x, y, kσ ) − Lα (x, y, σ ), (9)

where k is a constant. To get extreme point, we have to compare

it with its neighbors. If it is bigger or less than all adjacent pixels,
it is considered an extreme point.
Step 2. Keypoint selection and localization: unfold the (9)
and we can obtain the (10) as follow.

∂ DT 1 ∂ 2D
D(X) = D + X + XT X, (10) (a) Original image (b) Transformed image
∂X 2 ∂ X2
FIGURE 2: Lena image.
where X = (x, y, σ ). To locate keypoint accurately and decide it-
s scale, we introduce three dimensional quadratic function to fit
local extreme point, and eliminate the ones which have low con- In this experiment, a typical image, Lena image is used for
trast (and are therefore sensitive to noise) or are poorly localized analysis. First we fix masks size 5 × 5 and vary the order, α
along an edge. varies from 0.1 to 0.95, the interval is chosen as 0.05, the re-
Step 3. keypoints principal orientation assignment: To lation curve between match accuracy and α is shown in Fig.3.
achieve rotation invariance, we assign the principal orientation It can be seen that match accuracy increases as parameter α in-
of each keypoint using the gradient distribution of its neighbor- creases, but when α is 0.3-0.4, the match accuracy get the max-
hood pixels. Based on the location and scale of keypoint, we can ima(100%), and then match accuracy decreases as parameter α
compute pixels gradient and orientation using formula (11) and increases. The reason is that when parameter α is bigger or less,

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image density contrast is reduced. The fact is not benefit for 4.2 Contrast Experiments
extracting more features, which will result in lower match accu- This section aims at evaluating the proposed method by
racy. It can also be seen from Fig.3, when parameter α is 0.5 or comparing with the original SIFT algorithm.
0.55, the match accuracy become lower, that is because in this Experiment 1: standard image experiment
case more features are detected so that more match pairs are also
gotten, resulting in adding false match.
TABLE 1: Match data of Fig.2 using original SFIT and proposed
method (different α ).

Points Points Match False Match

in (a) in (b) pairs pairs accuracy
Original SIFT 340 159 56 2 96.43%
0.1 677 296 70 1 98.57%
0.2 822 361 99 0 100.0%

FIGURE 3: The relation between accuracy and α . 0.3 852 396 91 0 100.0%
method 0.4 817 415 99 0 100.0%
(differ- 0.5 811 408 99 2 97.98%
In addition, we fix parameter α as 0.3, vary the parameter α) 0.6 802 400 97 1 98.97%
n to analysis the relation between n and match accuracy. The 0.7 838 357 91 1 98.90%
experiment result is shown in Fig.4.
It can be seen from Fig.4 that match accuracy decreases as 0.8 758 341 89 1 98.88%
parameter n increases. The reason is that when parameter n in- 0.9 687 309 69 2 97.10%
creases, the fractional mask weaken some high frequency com-
ponent, this fact is not benefit for extracting more features, which
will result in lower match accuracy. In addition, it can also be
seen when n is 1 or 2, we can get the same match accuracy. But
we find in many experiments when n is 2, that is mask size is
5 × 5, more features can be detected and more match pairs will
be obtained.

(a) Original SIFT algorithm (b) Proposed method (α = 0.3)

FIGURE 4: The relation between accuracy and α .

(c) Proposed method (α = 0.6) (d) Proposed method (α = 0.9)

FIGURE 5: Some match results of Fig.2.

In conclusion, the relation curve between match accuracy
and fractional mask parameters can guide one to select optimal
parameters. We use Lena image to take experiment, as shown in Fig.2.

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In this experiment, we fix n as 2, then mask size is 5 × 5, the
order α varies from 0.1 to 0.9, the experiment data are shown in
Tab.1, and the match results are shown in Fig.5.
From Tab.1, it is noted that fractional differentiation-based
SIFT is capable of detecting more features, thus the match pairs
and match accuracy is improved. When alpha varies from 0.2 to
0.4, the match accuracy gets 100%. Additionally, it can also be
(a) Original SIFT algorithm (b) Proposed method (α = 0.2)
seen that when alpha is 0.3, the number of features get maxima
in Fig.2(a), but in Fig.2(b), the number of features get maxima
when alpha is 0.4. That means the optimal parameter alpha is
different in different image.
Experiment 2: real image experiment
In addition, we use real image to test the validity of proposed
method and compare it with original SIFT. As shown in Fig.6,
Fig.6(a) and Fig.6(b) are two images taken at two different view-
(c) Proposed method (α = 0.4) (d) Proposed method (α = 0.6)
points. The experiment results are shown in Tab.2 and Fig.7. It
can be seen from Tab.2, the match accuracy is improved. In ad-
FIGURE 7: Some match results of Fig.6.
dition, more feature are detected when α is 0.4, and the match
accuracy gets maxima.

A new SIFT algorithm based on R-L fractional differential
was proposed in this paper. In addition a fractional differential
mask is constructed. The R-L fractional differentiation is em-
ployed in SIFT algorithm so that our method can extract more
textile detail features. Experiment results show more feature
(a) Image 1 (b) Image 2 points are detected, thus the match accuracy is improved. The
experiments carried out with images in database and real images
FIGURE 6: Real image. indicate that the proposed method can obtain good matching re-
sults. It can be used for matching textile image or some self-
similar construct image. The method proposed in this paper is an
important extension of SIFT algorithm. However, different im-
age always respondent to different optimal parameters, so how
to optimize the fractional order is still keep open. Future works
TABLE 2: Match data of Fig.6 using original SFIT and proposed involve designing the optimization algorithm of fractional order
method(different α ) and applying this algorithm in ultrasonic image processing sys-
Points Points Match False Match
in (a) in (b) pairs pairs accuracy
Original SIFT 611 698 109 3 97.25%
The authors would like to acknowledge the supports
0.2 904 1534 87 2 97.70% from the National Natural Science Foundation of China(No:
Proposed 61462065, 61263046, 61165011).
method 0.4 1116 1868 96 0 100.0%
(differ- 0.5 1102 1787 90 1 98.89%
α) 0.6 1067 1837 108 2 98.15% REFERENCES
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