Goal for the summer: solve the problem of vision

Just came from the first "Seminar in Human Perception" (EXP 6208) class. In the best tradition of "you always learn something new", I learned about an MIT memo from 1966 by Seymour Papert, whose abstract reads:

The summer vision project is an attempt to use our summer workers effectively in the construction of a significant part of a visual system. The particular task was chosen partly because it can be segmented into sub-problems which allow individuals to work independently and yet participate in the construction of a system complex enough to be real landmark in the development of "pattern recognition". The basic structure is fixed for the first phase of work extending to some point in July. Everyone is invited to contribute to the discussion of the second phase. Sussman is coordinator of "Vision Project" meetings and should be consulted by anyone who wishes to participate. The primary goal of the project is to construct a system of programs which will divide a vidisector picture into regions such as likely objects, likely background areas and chaos. We shall call this part of its operation FIGURE-GROUND analysis. It will be impossible to do this without considerable analysis of shape and surface properties, so FIGURE-GROUND analysis is really inseparable in practice from the second goal which is REGION DESCRIPTION. The final goal is OBJECT IDENTIFICATION which will actually name objects by matching them with a vocabulary of known objects.

As Keith Price puts it, "Interesting for what it seemed to think could be done in vision in a summer."

I thank my colleague Dr. Elan Barenholtz for pointing it out and for getting the class started in a great way!

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