Abstract

Modern imaging systems rely on complicated hardware and sophisticated image-processing methods to produce images. Owing to this complexity in the imaging chain, there are numerous variables in both the hardware and the software that need to be determined. We advocate a task-based approach to measuring and optimizing image quality in which one analyzes the ability of an observer to perform a task. Ideally, a task-based measure of image quality would account for all sources of variation in the imaging system, including object variability. Often, researchers ignore object variability even though it is known to have a large effect on task performance. The more accurate the statistical description of the objects, the more believable the task-based results will be. We have developed methods to fit statistical models of objects, using only noisy image data and a well-characterized imaging system. The results of these techniques could eventually be used to optimize both the hardware and the software components of imaging systems.

© 2003 Optical Society of America

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