What Are Computer Vision Algorithms?

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  • Written By: A. Leverkuhn
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 06 October 2019
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Computer vision algorithms are mathematical models that attempt to help a computer to interpret an image. Humans interpret images in many complex ways, where the actual ability of computers to interpret images is extremely limited, even with the newest technology. Computer vision algorithms also help to make advances in the ways that computers can get specific kinds of data from an image.

The challenge of engineers using computer vision algorithms is that vision relies on a series of deductions related to unknown elements of the image. Scientists call this an “inverse problem,” and say that only complex physics-based probability models can help technology to interpret an image in profound ways. Scientists work on the general problem of computer vision from different angles, including three-dimensional modeling, recognition of parts of an image, and predictive image modeling.

A wide range of computer vision algorithms work in various ways. Some of them work to identify specific parts of a photograph or image. Some of this kind of technology leads to new facial recognition features on cameras or in security equipment.

Other kinds of computer vision algorithms attempt to capture specific kinds of data from an image. Many of these are now used in the retail field, where identifying patterns from documents can be useful, for example, in the analysis of printed bar codes and similar identifiers. Still other sorts of computer vision algorithms are used in three-dimensional rendering and simulations.


There’s also a whole different class of computer vision algorithms related to the automotive industry. Some of these are providing tools for what auto experts refer to as “augmented reality.” In the newest vehicle technologies, computers can help humans to interpret the road ahead and avoid road dangers or even imminent collisions. These technologies also often rely on computer vision algorithms that parse the visual data around the vehicle, delivering the interpreted results to the human driver.

Those who study algorithms for computer vision can often learn from some of the various types of algorithms used for different image tasks. One of these is the use of algorithms in “morphing,” where one image turns into another. Another type of algorithm is multi-view reconstruction. These different kinds of algorithms accomplish specific tasks in what’s called image processing, where humans program technologies to capture specific data and handle it in precise ways, or even for physical reproduction via 3D printing applications.


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