Probabilistic methods for finding people

S. Ioffe, D. A. Forsyth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Finding people in pictures presents a particularly difficult object recognition problem. We show how to find people by finding candidate body segments, and then constructing assemblies of segments that are consistent with the constraints on the appearance of a person that result from kinematic properties. Since a reasonable model of a person requires at least nine segments, it is not possible to inspect every group, due to the huge combinatorial complexity. We propose two approaches to this problem. In one, the search can be pruned by using projected versions of a classifier that accepts groups corresponding to people. We describe an efficient projection algorithm for one popular classifier, and demonstrate that our approach can be used to determine whether images of real scenes contain people. The second approach employs a probabilistic framework, so that we can draw samples of assemblies, with probabilities proportional to their likelihood, which allows to draw human-like assemblies more often than the non-person ones. The main performance problem is in segmentation of images, but the overall results of both approaches on real images of people are encouraging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-68
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Computer Vision
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Grouping correspondence search
  • Human detection
  • Object recognition
  • Probabilistic inference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Artificial Intelligence


Dive into the research topics of 'Probabilistic methods for finding people'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this