Fast and robust earth mover's distances

Ofir Pele*, Michael Werman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

665 Scopus citations


We present a new algorithm for a robust family of Earth Mover's Distances - EMDs with thresholded ground distances. The algorithm transforms the flow-network of the EMD so that the number of edges is reduced by an order of magnitude. As a result, we compute the EMD by an order of magnitude faster than the original algorithm, which makes it possible to compute the EMD on large histograms and databases. In addition, we show that EMDs with thresholded ground distances have many desirable properties. First, they correspond to the way humans perceive distances. Second, they are robust to outlier noise and quantization effects. Third, they are metrics. Finally, experimental results on image retrieval show that thresholding the ground distance of the EMD improves both accuracy and speed.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publication2009 IEEE 12th International Conference on Computer Vision, ICCV 2009
Number of pages8
StatePublished - 2009
Event12th International Conference on Computer Vision, ICCV 2009 - Kyoto, Japan
Duration: 29 Sep 20092 Oct 2009

Publication series

NameProceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision


Conference12th International Conference on Computer Vision, ICCV 2009


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