Fractional Brownian Motion: A Maximum Likelihood Estimator and Its Application to Image Texture

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Fractals have been shown to be useful in characterizing texture in a variety of contexts. Use of this methodology normallyinvolves measurement of a parameter H, which is directly related to fractal dimension. In this work the basic theory of fractional Brownian motion is extended to the discrete case. It is shown that the power spectral density of such a discrete process is only approximately proportional to |f| a instead of in direct proportion as in the continuous case. An asymptotic Cramer-Rao bound is derived for the variance of an estimate of H. Subsequently, a maximum likelihood estimator (MLE) is developed to estimate H. It is shown that the variance of this estimator nearly achieves the minimum bound. A generation algorithm for discrete fractional motion is presented and used to demonstrate the capabilities of the MLE when the discrete fractional Brownian process is contaminated with additive Gaussian noise. The results show that even at signal-to-noise ratios of 30 dB, significant errors in estimation of H can result when noise is present. The MLE is then applied to X-ray images of the human calcaneus to demonstrate how the line-to-line formulation can be applied to the two-dimensional case. These results indicate that it has strong potential for quantifying texture. © 1986 IEEE

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IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging