Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New algorithm finds you, even in untagged photos

Date:
December 2, 2013
Source:
University of Toronto
Summary:
A new algorithm has the power to profoundly change the way we find photos among the billions on social media sites such as Facebook and Flickr. The search tool uses tag locations to quantify relationships between individuals, even those not tagged in any given photo.

The location of tags in a images tells us a story. From them, we can extract a tag relativity graph. The graph enables social search by understanding tag relationships.
Credit: University of Toronto

A new algorithm designed at the University of Toronto has the power to profoundly change the way we find photos among the billions on social media sites such as Facebook and Flickr. This month, the United States Patent and Trademark Office will issue a patent on this technology.

Developed by Parham Aarabi, a professor in The Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, and his former Master's student Ron Appel, the search tool uses tag locations to quantify relationships between individuals, even those not tagged in any given photo.

Imagine you and your mother are pictured together, building a sandcastle at the beach. You're both tagged in the photo quite close together. In the next photo, you and your father are eating watermelon. You're both tagged. Because of your close 'tagging' relationship with both your mother in the first picture and your father in the second, the algorithm can determine that a relationship exists between those two and quantify how strong it may be.

In a third photo, you fly a kite with both parents, but only your mother is tagged. Given the strength of your 'tagging' relationship with your parents, when you search for photos of your father the algorithm can return the untagged photo because of the very high likelihood he's pictured.

"Two things are happening: we understand relationships, and we can search images better," says Professor Aarabi.

The nimble algorithm, called relational social image search, achieves high reliability without using computationally intensive object- or facial-recognition software. "If you want to search a trillion photos, normally that takes at least a trillion operations. It's based on the number of photos you have," says Aarabi. "Facebook has almost half a trillion photos, but a billion users -- it's almost a 500 order of magnitude difference. Our algorithm is simply based on the number of tags, not on the number of photos, which makes it more efficient to search than standard approaches."

Work on this project began in 2005 in Professor Aarabi's Mobile Applications Lab, Canada's first lab space for mobile application development.

Currently the algorithm's interface is primarily for research, but Aarabi aims to see it incorporated on the back-end of large image databases or social networks. "I envision the interface would be exactly like you use Facebook search -- for users, nothing would change. They would just get better results," says Aarabi.

While testing the algorithm, Aarabi and Appel discovered an unforeseen application: a new way to generate maps. They tagged a few photographs of buildings around the University of Toronto and ran them through the system with a bunch of untagged campus photos. "The result we got was of almost a pseudo-map of the campus from all these photos we had taken, which was very interesting," says Aarabi.

This work received support from the National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada. It will be presented at the IEEE International Symposium on Multimedia Dec. 10, 2013.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Toronto. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Toronto. "New algorithm finds you, even in untagged photos." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131202121248.htm>.
University of Toronto. (2013, December 2). New algorithm finds you, even in untagged photos. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131202121248.htm
University of Toronto. "New algorithm finds you, even in untagged photos." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131202121248.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Facebook Announces Location-Sharing Feature 'Nearby Friends'

Facebook Announces Location-Sharing Feature 'Nearby Friends'

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Facebook's pending Nearby Friends feature will give users the option to share their nonspecific or specific locations with certain friends. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Michaels Hack Compromises About 3 Million Credit Cards

Michaels Hack Compromises About 3 Million Credit Cards

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Michaels is now confirming that an eight-month security breach compromised about 3 million customers' credit and debit card data. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Twitter Introduces Facebook-Style App Install Ads

Twitter Introduces Facebook-Style App Install Ads

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) Twitter hopes to make money on app install ads, which has proven to be a successful strategy for Facebook. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Heartbleed Hack Leads To Arrest

Heartbleed Hack Leads To Arrest

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A 19-year-old computer science student has been arrested in relation to a data breach of 900 social insurance numbers from Canada's revenue agency. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins