Robust anisotropic diffusion and sharpening of scalar and vector images
Relations between anisotropic diffusion and robust statistics are described in this paper. We show that anisotropic diffusion can be seen as a robust estimation procedure that estimates a piecewise smooth image from a noisy input image. The `edge-stopping' function in the anisotropic diffusion equation is closely related to the error norm and influence function in the robust estimation framework. This connection leads to a new `edge-stopping' function based on Tukey's biweight robust estimator, that preserves sharper boundaries than previous formulations and improves the automatic stopping of the diffusion. The robust statistical interpretation also provides a means for detecting the boundaries (edges) between the piecewise smooth regions in the image. We extend the framework to vector-valued images and show applications to robust image sharpening.