Environment Systems and Decisions

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 406–416 | Cite as

A multi-instance learning approach to filtering images for presentation to analysts

  • Mihnea Birisan
  • Peter A. Beling


This paper proposes an image filtering and retrieval system driven by the multi-instance learning (MIL) algorithm. This system is aimed at improving the mission effectiveness of human analysts in searching through imagery for environmental, defense, or other purposes. Thus, the system is tuned and the experimental results are measured in terms of the true positive rate in predicted labels. While MIL has been used in image retrieval before, this paper examines how different tasks and feature spaces impact the performance of the algorithm. Images are translated into the single blob with neighbors (SBN) feature space, a novel feature space called color, texture, and shape (CTS), and a combined SBN and CTS feature space, for processing by the MIL algorithm. The paper introduces a feature space selection step in the classification process and shows that the true positive rate can be increased through the addition of this step.


Multi-instance learning Machine learning Decision support Image processing Feature selection Information retrieval 



The authors would like to thank Laurie Gibson, Chief Scientist, SAIC Inc. for her gracious help with the human subject experiment and her advice regarding this paper. The first author gratefully acknowledges support from an SAIC Graduate Fellowship at the University of Virginia. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. EEC-0827153.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Agilex Technologies, Inc.ChantillyUSA
  2. 2.Department of Systems and Information EngineeringUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA

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