Researchers teach computers how to name images by 'thinking'
University Park, Pa. -- Penn State researchers have "taught" computers how to interpret images using a vocabulary of up to 330 English words, so that a computer can describe a photograph of two polo players, for instance, as "sport," "people," "horse," "polo."
The new system, which can automatically annotate entire online collections of photographs as they are uploaded, means significant time-savings for the millions of Internet users who now manually tag or identify their images. It also facilitates retrieval of images through the use of search terms, said James Wang, associate professor in the Penn State College of Information Sciences and Technology, and one of the technology's two inventors.
The system is described in a paper, "Real-Time Computerized Annotation of Pictures," given at the recent ACM Multimedia 2006 conference in Santa Barbara, Calif., and authored by Jia Li, associate professor, Department of Statistics, and Wang. Penn State has filed a provisional patent application on the invention.