Ph.D thesis Daniel Berjón




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"Parallel Computer Vision Algorithms for Graphics Processing Units" 

Daniel Berjón

E.T.S. Ing. Telecomunicación, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Abril 2016, "Cum Laude".

Ph.D. thesis Directors: Francisco Morán Burgos and Carlos Cuevas.

The evolution of smartphones, all equipped with digital cameras, is driving a growing demand for ever more complex applications that need to rely on real-time computer vision algorithms. However, video signals are only increasing in size, whereas the performance of single-core processors has somewhat stagnated in the past few years. Consequently, new computer vision algorithms will need to be parallel to run on multiple processors and be computationally scalable. One of the most promising classes of processors nowadays can be found in graphics processing units (GPU). These are devices offering a high parallelism degree, excellent numerical performance and increasing versatility, which makes them interesting to run scientific computations.

In this thesis, we explore two computer vision applications with a high computational complexity that precludes them from running in real time on traditional uniprocessors. However, we show that by parallelizing subtasks and implementing them on a GPU, both applications attain their goals of running at interactive frame rates. In addition, we propose a technique for fast evaluation of arbitrarily complex functions, specially designed for GPU implementation. 

First, we explore the application of depth-image–based rendering techniques to the unusual configuration of two convergent, wide baseline cameras, in contrast to the usual configuration used in 3D TV, which are narrow baseline, parallel cameras. By using a backward mapping approach with a depth inpainting scheme based on median filters, we show that these techniques are adequate for free viewpoint video applications. In addition, we show that referring depth information to a global reference system is ill-advised and should be avoided. 

Then, we propose a background subtraction system based on kernel density estimation techniques. These techniques are very adequate for modelling complex scenes featuring multimodal backgrounds, but have not been so popular due to their huge computational and memory complexity. The proposed system, implemented in real time on a GPU, features novel proposals for dynamic kernel bandwidth estimation for the background model, selective update of the background model, update of the position of reference samples of the foreground model using a multi-region particle filter, and automatic selection of regions of interest to reduce computational cost. The results, evaluated on several databases and compared to other state-of-the-art algorithms, demonstrate the high quality and versatility of our proposal. 

Finally, we propose a general method for the approximation of arbitrarily complex functions using continuous piecewise linear functions, specially formulated for GPU implementation by leveraging their texture filtering units, normally unused for numerical computation. Our proposal features a rigorous mathematical analysis of the approximation error in function of the number of samples, as well as a method to obtain a suboptimal partition of the domain of the function to minimize approximation error. Download here