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Using Free Energy Principle For Blind Image Quality Assessment

In this paper we propose a new no-reference (NR) image quality assessment (IQA) metric using the recently revealed free-energy-based brain theory and classical human visual system (HVS)-inspired features. The features used can be divided into three groups. The first involves the features inspired by the free energy principle and the structural degradation model. Furthermore, the free energy theory also reveals that the HVS always tries to infer the meaningful part from the visual stimuli. In terms of this finding, we first predict an image that the HVS perceives from a distorted image based on the free energy theory, then the second group of features is composed of some HVS-inspired features (such as structural information and gradient magnitude) computed using the distorted and predicted images.

The third group of features quantifies the possible losses of “naturalness” in the distorted image by fitting the generalized Gaussian distribution to mean subtracted contrast normalized coefficients. After feature extraction, our algorithm utilizes the support vector machine based regression module to derive the overall quality score. Experiments on LIVE, TID2008, CSIQ, IVC, and Toyama databases confirm the effectiveness of our introduced NR IQA metric compared to the state-of-the-art.