Applications of fractals to image data compression

  • Andrew P. Wilton

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Digital image processing is exploited in many diverse applications but the size of digital images places excessive demands on current storage and transmission technology. Image data compression is required to permit further use of digital image processing. Conventional image compression techniques based on statistical analysis have reached a saturation level so it is necessary to explore more radical methods. This thesis is concerned with novel methods, based on the use of fractals, for achieving significant compression of image data within reasonable processing time without introducing excessive distortion.
Images are modelled as fractal data and this model is exploited directly by compression schemes. The validity of this is demonstrated by showing that the fractal complexity measure of fractal dimension is an excellent predictor of image compressibility. A method of fractal waveform coding is developed which has low computational demands and performs better than conventional waveform coding methods such as PCM and DPCM.
Fractal techniques based on the use of space-filling curves are developed as a mechanism for hierarchical application of conventional techniques. Two particular applications are highlighted: the re-ordering of data during image scanning and the mapping of multi-dimensional data to one dimension. It is shown that there are many possible space-filling curves which may be used to scan images and that selection of an optimum curve leads to significantly improved data compression. The multi-dimensional mapping property of space-filling curves is used to speed up substantially the lookup process in vector quantisation.
Iterated function systems are compared with vector quantisers and the computational complexity or iterated function system encoding is also reduced by using the efficient matching algcnithms identified for vector quantisers.
Date of AwardMar 1996
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorGeoffrey F Carpenter (Supervisor)


  • image compression
  • fractals
  • space-filling curves
  • vector quantisation
  • iterated function systems

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