Neural networks for perceptual grouping
A number of researchers have investigated the application of neural networks to visual recognition, with much of the emphasis placed on exploiting the network's ability to generalise. However, despite the benefits of such an approach it is not at all obvious how networks can be developed which are capable of recognising objects subject to changes in rotation, translation and viewpoint. In this study, we suggest that a possible solution to this problem can be found by studying aspects of visual psychology and in particular, perceptual organisation. For example, it appears that grouping together lines based upon perceptually significant features can facilitate viewpoint independent recognition. The work presented here identifies simple grouping measures based on parallelism and connectivity and shows how it is possible to train multi-layer perceptrons (MLPs) to detect and determine the perceptual significance of any group presented. In this way, it is shown how MLPs which are trained via backpropagation to perform individual grouping tasks, can be brought together into a novel, large scale network capable of determining the perceptual significance of the whole input pattern. Finally the applicability of such significance values for recognition is investigated and results indicate that both the NILP and the Kohonen Feature Map can be trained to recognise simple shapes described in terms of perceptual significances. This study has also provided an opportunity to investigate aspects of the backpropagation algorithm, particularly the ability to generalise. In this study we report the results of various generalisation tests. In applying the backpropagation algorithm to certain problems, we found that there was a deficiency in performance with the standard learning algorithm. An improvement in performance could however, be obtained when suitable modifications were made to the algorithm. The modifications and consequent results are reported here.