wwwqbic.almaden.ibm.com650 Harry Road
The QBIC (Query By Image Content) project at IBM's Almaden Research Center is studying methods to query large on-line image databases using the images' content as the basis of the queries. Examples of the content used include color, texture, shape, size, orientation, and position of image objects and regions. Key issues include derivation and computation of attributes of images and objects that provide useful query functionality, retrieval methods based on similarity as opposed to exact match, query by image example or user drawn image, the user interfaces, query refinement and navigation, high dimensional database indexing, and automatic and semi-automatic database population. We have developed AIX prototype system, a product called Ultimedia Manager (with STL), a set of APIs, plus a WWW demo. We have also developed a separate QBIC search engine for AIX, NT, Linux, Win95 and OS/2 that can be dowloaded from the WWW. Our test databases include over 10000 images from variety of sources. The key applications of this technology are in the areas where image patterns are the basis of the queries, like in retail cataloging, stock photo archives, art, textile manufacturing, and business graphics. QBIC technology has to be integrated with other traditional search technologies like SQL and text search in order to be useful in real applications. Among others, this technology is used by UC Davis Art Library (Prof. B. Holt) to answer queries like "Give me all artists that use brush strokes like Van Gough" which were not possible to answer using standard keyword search methods, and by Prof. J. Hethorn also from UC Davis to study trends in fashion. Museums that use the QBIC technology for querying similar paintings on WWW include San Francisco Fine Arts Museums and the French Ministry of Culture.
Last modified: February 28, 1997
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