A Topological Approach to Hierarchical Segmentation Using Mean Shift

Mean shift is a popular method to segment images and videos. Pixels are represented by feature points, and the segmentation is driven by the point density in feature space. In this paper, we introduce the use of Morse theory to interpret mean shift as a topological decomposition of the feature space into density modes. This allows us to build on the watershed technique and design a new algorithm to compute mean-shift segmentations of images and videos. In addition, we introduce the use of topological persistence to create a segmentation hierarchy. We validated our method by clustering images using color cues. In this context, our technique runs faster than previous work, especially on videos and large images. We evaluated accuracy with a classical benchmark which shows results on par with existing low-level techniques, i.e. we do not sacrifice accuracy for speed.