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Beauty Now in the Eye of the Algorithm

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Credit: World of Stock

Xerox Research Center Europe computer scientists have developed technology that sorts photographs by their content as well as their aesthetic qualities. The technology could help with tasks such as choosing which of hundreds of digital photos should appear in an album. "What they show is that now you don't need a human to select images that are going to be judged beautiful," says Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Aude Olivia.

The technology learns about quality photographs by studying photos that have been placed on public display in online photo albums. "We try to learn what it is about these features that makes photos 'good,'" says Xerox's Craig Saunders. The technique is based on previous Xerox research that aims to improve image recognition by categorizing photos by their visual vocabulary. The technologies can develop knowledge about what pieces correspond to certain types of images by studying Internet-based photos that are already tagged with text identifying what is in each photo.

Xerox recently announced the development of a system that can find images that have similar characteristics, sorting through five million images in less than a second.

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