Parallel Networks for Machine Vision
The amount of computation required to solve many early vision problems is prodigious, and so it has long been thought that systems that operate in a reasonable amount of time will only become feasible when parallel systems become available. Such systems now exist in digital form, but most are large and expensive. These machines constitute an invaluable test-bed for the development of new algorithms, but they can probably not be scaled down rapidly in both physical size and cost, despite continued advances in semiconductor technology and machine architecture. Simple analog networks can perform interesting computations, as has been known for a long time. We have reached the point where it is feasible to experiment with implementation of these ideas in VLSI form, particularly if we focus on networks composed of locally interconnected passive elements, linear amplifiers, and simple nonlinear components. While there have been excursions into the development of ideas in this area since the very beginnings of work on machine vision, much work remains to be done. Progress will depend on careful attention to matching of the capabilities of simple networks to the needs of early vision. Note that this is not at all intended to be anything like a review of the field, but merely a collection of some ideas that seem to be interesting.