Inexact Subgraph Matching Applied to Symbol Spotting in Graphical Documents

CVC has a new PhD on its record!

Anjan Dutta successfully defended his dissertation on Computer Science on May 06, 2014, and he is now Doctor of Philosophy by the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

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What is the thesis about?

There is a resurgence in the use of structural approaches in the usual object recognition and retrieval problem. Graph theory, in particular, graph matching plays a relevant role in that. Specifically, the detection of an object (or a part of that) in an image in terms of structural features can be formulated as a subgraph matching. Subgraph matching is a challenging task. Specially due to the presence of outliers most of the graph matching algorithms do not perform well in subgraph matching scenario. Also exact subgraph isomorphism has proven to be an NP-complete problem. So naturally, in graph matching community, there are lot of efforts addressing the problem of subgraph matching within suboptimal bound. Most of them work with approximate algorithms that try to get an inexact solution in estimated way. In addition, usual recognition must cope with distortion. Inexact graph matching consists in finding the best isomorphism under a similarity measure. Theoretically this thesis proposes algorithms for solving subgraph matching in an approximate and inexact way.

We consider the symbol spotting problem on graphical documents or line drawings from application point of view. This is a well known problem in the graphics recognition community. It can be further applied for indexing and classification of documents based on their contents. The structural nature of this kind of documents easily motivates one for giving a graph based representation. So the symbol spotting problem on graphical documents can be considered as a subgraph matching problem. The main challenges in this application domain is the noise and distortions that might come during the usage, digitalization and raster to vector conversion of those documents. Apart from that computer vision nowadays is not any more confined within a limited number of images. So dealing a huge number of images with graph based method is a further challenge.

In this thesis, on one hand, we have worked on efficient and robust graph representation to cope with the noise and distortions coming from documents. On the other hand, we have worked on different graph based methods and framework to solve the subgraph matching problem in a better approximated way, which can also deal with considerable number of images. Firstly, we propose a symbol spotting method by hashing serialized subgraphs. Graph serialization allows to create factorized substructures such as graph paths, which can be organized in hash tables depending on the structural similarities of the serialized subgraphs. The involvement of hashing techniques helps to reduce the search space substantially and speeds up the spotting procedure. Secondly, we introduce contextual similarities based on the walk based propagation on tensor product graph. These contextual similarities involve higher order information and more reliable than pairwise similarities. We use these higher order similarities to formulate subgraph matching as a node and edge selection problem in the tensor product graph. Thirdly, we propose near convex grouping to form near convex region adjacency graph which eliminates the limitations of traditional region adjacency graph representation for graphic recognition. Fourthly, we propose a hierarchical graph representation by simplifying/correcting the structural errors to create a hierarchical graph of the base graph. Later these hierarchical graph structures are matched with some graph matching methods. Apart from that, in this thesis we have provided an overall experimental comparison of all the methods and some of the state-of-the-art methods. Furthermore, some dataset models have also been proposed.