Self-organising maps : statistical analysis, treatment and applications
This thesis presents some substantial theoretical analyses and optimal treatments of Kohonen's self-organising map (SOM) algorithm, and explores the practical application potential of the algorithm for vector quantisation, pattern classification, and image processing. It consists of two major parts. In the first part, the SOM algorithm is investigated and analysed from a statistical viewpoint. The proof of its universal convergence for any dimensionality is obtained using a novel and extended form of the Central Limit Theorem. Its feature space is shown to be an approximate multivariate Gaussian process, which will eventually converge and form a mapping, which minimises the mean-square distortion between the feature and input spaces. The diminishing effect of the initial states and implicit effects of the learning rate and neighbourhood function on its convergence and ordering are analysed and discussed. Distinct and meaningful definitions, and associated measures, of its ordering are presented in relation to map's fault-tolerance. The SOM algorithm is further enhanced by incorporating a proposed constraint, or Bayesian modification, in order to achieve optimal vector quantisation or pattern classification. The second part of this thesis addresses the task of unsupervised texture-image segmentation by means of SOM networks and model-based descriptions. A brief review of texture analysis in terms of definitions, perceptions, and approaches is given. Markov random field model-based approaches are discussed in detail. Arising from this a hierarchical self-organised segmentation structure, which consists of a local MRF parameter estimator, a SOM network, and a simple voting layer, is proposed and is shown, by theoretical analysis and practical experiment, to achieve a maximum likelihood or maximum a posteriori segmentation. A fast, simple, but efficient boundary relaxation algorithm is proposed as a post-processor to further refine the resulting segmentation. The class number validation problem in a fully unsupervised segmentation is approached by a classical, simple, and on-line minimum mean-square-error method. Experimental results indicate that this method is very efficient for texture segmentation problems. The thesis concludes with some suggestions for further work on SOM neural networks.