An image segmentation algorithm delineates (an) object(s) of interest in an image. Its output is referred to as a segmentation. Developing these algorithms is a manual, iterative process involving repetitive verification and validation tasks. This process is time-consuming and depends on the availability of experts, who may be a scarce resource (e.g., medical experts). We propose a framework referred to as Image Segmentation Automated Oracle (ISAO) that uses machine learning to construct an oracle, which can then be used to automatically verify the correctness of image segmentations, thus saving substantial resources and making the image segmentation verification and validation task significantly more efficient. The framework also gives informative feedback to the developer as the segmentation algorithm evolves and provides a systematic means of testing different parametric configurations of the algorithm. During the initial learning phase, segmentations from the first few (optimally two) versions of the segmentation algorithm are manually verified by experts. The similarity of successive segmentations of the same images is also measured in various ways. This information is then fed to a machine learning algorithm to construct a classifier that distinguishes between consistent and inconsistent segmentation pairs (as determined by an expert) based on the values of the similarity measures associated with each segmentation pair. Once the accuracy of the classifier is deemed satisfactory to support a consistency determination, the classifier is then used to determine whether the segmentations that are produced by subsequent versions of the algorithm under test, are (in)consistent with already verified segmentations from previous versions. This information is then used to automatically draw conclusions about the correctness of the segmentations. We have successfully applied this approach to 3D segmentations of the cardiac left ventricle obtained from CT scans and have obtained promising results (accuracies of 95%). Even though more experiments are needed to quantify the effectiveness of the approach in real-world applications, ISAO shows promise in increasing the quality and testing efficiency of image segmentation algorithms.

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Keywords Image processing, Image segmentation, Machine learning, Verification and validation
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Journal Information and Software Technology
Frounchi, K. (Kambiz), Briand, L.C. (Lionel C.), Grady, L. (Leo), Labiche, Y, & Subramanyan, R. (Rajesh). (2010). Automating image segmentation verification and validation by learning test oracles. Information and Software Technology, 53(12), 1337–1348. doi:10.1016/j.infsof.2011.06.009