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HOME > PAST ISSUE > May-June 2000 > Article Detail

FEATURE ARTICLE

Vision and the Coding of Natural Images

The human brain may hold the secrets to the best image-compression algorithms

Bruno Olshausen, David Field

Figure 6. Synthetic image that preservesClick to Enlarge Image

Although the images we take in with our eyes are highly varied, most scenes share certain statistical properties. The eyes and brain take advantage of this similarity to encode images as they are sensed by the photoreceptors in the retina and passed on to higher levels of the visual system. In this way, the neural networks of the visual system function much like the image-compression algorithms devised for telecommunications. The authors explain this correspondence and describe their work to demonstrate the self-organizing principle behind this phenomenon.


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