Efficient Visual Search: A Connectionist Solution

TitleEfficient Visual Search: A Connectionist Solution
Publication TypeTechnical Report
Year of Publication1991
AuthorsAhmad, S., & Omohundro S.
Other Numbers670

Searching for objects in scenes is a natural task for people and has been extensively studied by psychologists. In this paper we examine this task from a connectionist perspective. Computational complexity arguments suggest that parallel feed-forward networks cannot perform this task efficiently. One difficulty is that, in order to distinguish the target from distractors, a combination of features must be associated with a single object. Often called the binding problem, this requirement presents a serious hurdle for connectionist models of visual processing when multiple objects are present. Psychophysical experiments suggest that people use covert visual attention to get around this problem. In this paper we describe a psychologically plausible system which uses a focus of attention mechanism to locate target objects. A strategy that combines top-down and bottom-up information is used to minimize search time. The behavior of the resulting system matches the reaction time behavior of people in several interesting tasks.

Bibliographic Notes

ICSI Technical Report TR-91-040

Abbreviated Authors

S. Ahmad and S. Omohundro

ICSI Publication Type

Technical Report