Journal of Pathology Informatics Journal of Pathology Informatics
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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 13

Spatially Invariant Vector Quantization: A pattern matching algorithm for multiple classes of image subject matter including pathology

1 Department of Pathology, University of Michigan Health System, M4233A Medical Science I, 1301 Catherine, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0602, USA
2 Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 16th Street Building 114, Charlestown, MA 02129, USA

Correspondence Address:
Ulysses J Balis
Department of Pathology, University of Michigan Health System, M4233A Medical Science I, 1301 Catherine, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0602
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2153-3539.77175

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Introduction: Historically, effective clinical utilization of image analysis and pattern recognition algorithms in pathology has been hampered by two critical limitations: 1) the availability of digital whole slide imagery data sets and 2) a relative domain knowledge deficit in terms of application of such algorithms, on the part of practicing pathologists. With the advent of the recent and rapid adoption of whole slide imaging solutions, the former limitation has been largely resolved. However, with the expectation that it is unlikely for the general cohort of contemporary pathologists to gain advanced image analysis skills in the short term, the latter problem remains, thus underscoring the need for a class of algorithm that has the concurrent properties of image domain (or organ system) independence and extreme ease of use, without the need for specialized training or expertise. Results: In this report, we present a novel, general case pattern recognition algorithm, Spatially Invariant Vector Quantization (SIVQ), that overcomes the aforementioned knowledge deficit. Fundamentally based on conventional Vector Quantization (VQ) pattern recognition approaches, SIVQ gains its superior performance and essentially zero-training workflow model from its use of ring vectors, which exhibit continuous symmetry, as opposed to square or rectangular vectors, which do not. By use of the stochastic matching properties inherent in continuous symmetry, a single ring vector can exhibit as much as a millionfold improvement in matching possibilities, as opposed to conventional VQ vectors. SIVQ was utilized to demonstrate rapid and highly precise pattern recognition capability in a broad range of gross and microscopic use-case settings. Conclusion: With the performance of SIVQ observed thus far, we find evidence that indeed there exist classes of image analysis/pattern recognition algorithms suitable for deployment in settings where pathologists alone can effectively incorporate their use into clinical workflow, as a turnkey solution. We anticipate that SIVQ, and other related class-independent pattern recognition algorithms, will become part of the overall armamentarium of digital image analysis approaches that are immediately available to practicing pathologists, without the need for the immediate availability of an image analysis expert.

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