The problem of detecting curves in visual images arises in both computer vision and biological visual systems. Our approach integrates constraints from these two sources and suggests that there are two different stages to curve detection, the first resulting in a local description, and the second in a global one. Each stage involves a different style of computation: in the first stage, hypotheses are represented explicitly and coarsely in a fixed, preconfigured architecture; in the second stage, hypotheses are represented implicitly and more finely in a dynamically constructed architecture. We also show how these stages could be related to physiology, specifying the earlier parts in a relatively fine-grained fashion and the later ones more coarsely.

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