An Inductive Approach to Figural Perception
Technical note no. 325
SRI INTERNATIONAL MENLO PARK CA ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE CENTER
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The problem of interpreting single images of abstract figures is addressed. It is argued that neither rule-based deductive inference nor model-based matching are satisfactory computational paradigms for this problem. As an alternative, an inductive approach consisting of two parts is presented. The first part involves a scheme, based on differential geometry, for describing the shapes of curves and surfaces, and for generating these descriptions from images. The second part of the approach relies on a criterion for deciding which description, among the candidates allowed by the constraints in the image, is to be preferred. This criterion -- minimum entropy -- is related to concepts from Gestalt psychology, thermodynamics, and information theory. Several examples are given to illustrate the inductive approach.