This article describes a parallel neural net architecture for efficient and robust visual selection in generic gray-level images. Objects are represented through flexible star-type planar arrangements of binary local features which are in turn star-type planar arrangements of oriented edges. Candidate locations are detected over a range of scales and other deformations, using a generalized Hough transform. The flexibility of the arrangements provides the required invariance. Training involves selecting a small number of stable local features from a predefined pool, which are well localized on registered examples of the object. Training therefore requires only small data sets. The parallel architecture is constructed so that the Hough transform associated with any object can be implemented without creating or modifying any connections. The different object representations are learned and stored in a central module. When one of these representations is evoked, it “primes” the appropriate layers in the network so that the corresponding Hough transform is computed. Analogies between the different layers in the network and those in the visual system are discussed. Furthermore, the model can be used to explain certain experiments on visual selection reported in the literature.

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