SR205 Image Processing

What is this course about?

Image processing (and computer vision) is a fun topic precisely because computers/robots are still so bad at what they do. This is perhaps the only field in which humans are faster than the computers. Here is an Economist article about computer vision.

What students will learn in SR 205 is the basic building blocks and their use to perform visual pattern recognition. It is just like learning Lego block building. Students will learn what types of pieces are there, and how to assemble them. It is up to the students to build a castle or a car or rocket with the pieces and the knowledge. If students can envision, they will know how to build it. And they will be able to create new pieces that will be useful for them, and for others.

The level of this course is somewhere between undergraduate and graduate level image processing course. During Dr.Choi’s time, it used to be a graduate level course partly because the equipment was so expensive. (It was unthinkable to have a personal computer vision system on one’s desk. It was over $5,000 for a basic set up, thus only professional labs could afford it.) Times have changed and all students have their own computers. A webcam and Mathematica can be had for under $100. Thus, now it became an undergraduate level course, and at Sabio Academy, high school level because the course is taught by an exceptional teacher to academically well performing high school students.

Students learn Image Processing tools that Mathematica provides but also learn how to create a (crude) version of tools themselves so that they can clearly understand the principles behind each, and be able to create their own tools in the future. Image processing has heavy duty mathematical background theories that go beyond calculus. Those topics will be explained as a extra studying material as a full command of them is not necessary to move forward with research, just as full understanding of music theory is not necessary to play or compose great music.

SR 205 is intense and yet fun. Students will look into human bodies, distant galaxies, satellite images and images from their own webcam and/or digital camera. And students will teach computers to make sense of what they see.

Who is the instructor?

The instructor is James Choi.

Do I need Mathematica?

Yes.  This is the third course of the sequence that started using Mathematica.  By this course, all students are expected to be experts.