Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Computer Science

First Advisor

Sitharama S. Iyengar


We propose an information theoretic approach to the representation and comparison of color features in digital images to handle various problems in the area of content-based image retrieval. The interpretation of color histograms as joint probability density functions enables the use of a wide range of concepts from information theory to be considered in the extraction of color features from images and the computation of similarity between pairs of images. The entropy of an image is a measure of the randomness of the color distribution in an image. Rather than replacing color histograms as an image representation, we demonstrate that image entropy can be used to augment color histograms for more efficient image retrieval. We propose an indexing algorithm in which image entropy is used to drastically reduce the search space for color histogram computations. Our experimental tests applied to an image database with 10,000 images suggest that the image entropy-based indexing algorithm is scalable for image retrieval of large image databases. We also proposed a new similarity measure called the maximum relative entropy measure for comparing image feature vectors that represent probability density functions. This measure is an improvement of the Kullback-Leibler number in that it is non-negative and satisfies the identity and symmetry axioms. We also propose a new usability paradigm called Query By Example Sets (QBES) that allows users, particularly novice users, the ability to express queries in terms of multiple images.