TitleStatistical thermodynamics of natural images.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsStephens, GJ, Mora, T, Tkačik, G, Bialek, W
JournalPhys Rev Lett
Date Published2013 Jan 4
KeywordsImage Processing, Computer-Assisted, Models, Statistical, Models, Theoretical, Monte Carlo Method, Thermodynamics

The scale invariance of natural images suggests an analogy to the statistical mechanics of physical systems at a critical point. Here we examine the distribution of pixels in small image patches and show how to construct the corresponding thermodynamics. We find evidence for criticality in a diverging specific heat, which corresponds to large fluctuations in how "surprising" we find individual images, and in the quantitative form of the entropy vs energy. We identify special image configurations as local energy minima and show that average patches within each basin are interpretable as lines and edges in all orientations.

Alternate JournalPhys. Rev. Lett.