Rethinking the prior model for stereo

Hiroshi Ishikawa, Davi Geiger

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Sometimes called the smoothing assumption, the prior model of a stereo matching algorithm is the algorithm's expectation on the surfaces in the world. Any stereo algorithm makes assumptions about the probability to see each surface that can be represented in its representation system. Although the past decade has seen much continued progress in stereo matching algorithms, the prior models used in them have not changed much in three decades: most algorithms still use a smoothing prior that minimizes some function of the difference of depths between neighboring sites, sometimes allowing for discontinuities. However, one system seems to use a very different prior model from all other systems: the human vision system. In this paper, we first report the observations we made in examining human disparity interpolation using stereo pairs with sparse identifiable features. Then we mathematically analyze the implication of using current prior models and explain why the human system seems to use a model that is not only different but in a sense diametrically opposite from all current models. Finally, we propose two candidate models that reflect the behavior of human vision. Although the two models look very different, we show that they are closely related.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationComputer Vision - ECCV 2006, 9th European Conference on Computer Vision, Proceedings
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)3540338365, 9783540338369
StatePublished - 2006
Event9th European Conference on Computer Vision, ECCV 2006 - Graz, Austria
Duration: May 7 2006May 13 2006

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume3953 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Other9th European Conference on Computer Vision, ECCV 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


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