Mean shift: A robust approach toward feature space analysis

Dorin Comaniciu, Peter Meer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8751 Scopus citations


A general nonparametric technique is proposed for the analysis of a complex multimodal feature space and to delineate arbitrarily shaped clusters in it. The basic computational module of the technique is an old pattern recognition procedure, the mean shift. We prove for discrete data the convergence of a recursive mean shift procedure to the nearest stationary point of the underlying density function and, thus, its utility in detecting the modes of the density. The relation of the mean shift procedure to the Nadaraya-Watson estimator from kernel regression and the robust M-estimators of location is also established. Algorithms for two low-level vision tasks, discontinuity preserving smoothing and image segmentation, are described as applications. In these algorithms, the only user set parameter is the resolution of the analysis and either gray level or color images are accepted as input. Extensive experimental results illustrate their excellent performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)603-619
Number of pages17
JournalIEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


  • Clustering
  • Feature space
  • Image segmentation
  • Image smoothing
  • Low-level vision
  • Mean shift


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