Efficient Image Matching with Distributions of Local Invariant Features

Unknown author (2004-11-22)

Sets of local features that are invariant to common image transformations are an effective representation to use when comparing images; current methods typically judge feature sets' similarity via a voting scheme (which ignores co-occurrence statistics) or by comparing histograms over a set of prototypes (which must be found by clustering). We present a method for efficiently comparing images based on their discrete distributions (bags) of distinctive local invariant features, without clustering descriptors. Similarity between images is measured with an approximation of the Earth Mover's Distance (EMD), which quickly computes the minimal-cost correspondence between two bags of features. Each image's feature distribution is mapped into a normed space with a low-distortion embedding of EMD. Examples most similar to a novel query image are retrieved in time sublinear in the number of examples via approximate nearest neighbor search in the embedded space. We also show how the feature representation may be extended to encode the distribution of geometric constraints between the invariant features appearing in each image.We evaluate our technique with scene recognition and texture classification tasks.