Ideal-observer performance under signal and background uncertainty

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34 Scopus citations


We use the performance of the Bayesian ideal observer as a figure of merit for hardware optimization because this observer makes optimal use of signal-detection information. Due to the high dimensionality of certain integrals that need to be evaluated, it is difficult to compute the ideal observer test statistic, the likelihood ratio, when background variability is taken into account. Methods have been developed in our laboratory for performing this computation for fixed signals in random backgrounds. In this work, we extend these computational methods to compute the likelihood ratio in the case where both the backgrounds and the signals are random with known statistical properties. We are able to write the likelihood ratio as an integral over possible backgrounds and signals, and we have developed Markov-chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) techniques to estimate these high-dimensional integrals. We can use these results to quantify the degradation of the ideal-observer performance when signal uncertainties are present in addition to the randomness of the backgrounds. For background uncertainty, we use lumpy backgrounds. We present the performance of the ideal observer under various signal-uncertainty paradigms with different parameters of simulated parallel-hole collimator imaging systems. We are interested in any change in the rankings between different imaging systems under signal and background uncertainty compared to the background-uncertainty case. We also compare psychophysical studies to the performance of the ideal observer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)342-353
Number of pages12
JournalLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
StatePublished - Dec 1 2003


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)

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