Hyper-heuristic method for multilevel thresholding image segmentation

Mohamed Abd Elaziz, Ahmed A. Ewees, Diego Oliva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


In digital image processing, one of the most relevant tasks is to classify pixels depending on their intensity level. To perform this process there exist different traditional methods as Otsu or Kapur, such methods are used to compute the thresholds that divide the histogram of the image into different groups. These methods are easy to implement for a single threshold; however, the computational effort is affected when more thresholds are required. Therefore, different meta-heuristic based approaches have been proposed, but each of them has its properties and limitations. So, this paper introduces an alternative concept to the image segmentation which is called hyper-heuristic that at each iteration determines the optimal execution sequence of meta-heuristic algorithms that provides the optimal thresholds. The proposed method consists of two layers, in the first layer, the genetic algorithm (GA) is used to determine the execution sequence of the meta-heuristic algorithms. While the second layer contains the set of four meta-heuristic algorithms that executed in a specific order, assigned by the current solution of GA, to update the threshold population. In order to evaluate the performance of the proposed approach, it has been tested over a set of benchmark images and the results provide a good performance in terms of quality of segmentation. Moreover, experimental comparisons support that the proposed hyper-heuristic is able to find more accurate solutions than other algorithms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113201
JournalExpert Systems with Applications
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Hyper-Heuristic
  • Image processing
  • Image segmentation
  • Meta-heuristic algorithms
  • Multilevel thresholding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Artificial Intelligence

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