The semivariogram is a statistical measure of the spatial distribution of data, and is based on Markov Random Fields (MRFs). Semivariogram analysis is a computationally intensive algorithm that has typically seen applications in the geosciences and remote sensing areas. Recently, applications in the area of medical imaging have been investigated, resulting in the need for efficient real time implementation of the algorithm. A semi-variance, Î(h), is defined as the half of the expected squared differences of pixel values between any two data locations with a lag distance of h. Due to the need to examine each pair of pixels in the image or sub-image being processed, the base algorithm complexity for an image window with n pixels is O (n2). Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) are an attractive solution for such demanding applications due to their parallel processing capability. FPGAs also tend to operate at relatively modest clock rates measured in a few hundreds of megahertz. This thesis presents a technique for the fast computation of the semivariogram using two custom FPGA architectures. A modular architecture approach is chosen to allow for replication of processing units. This allows for high throughput due to concurrent processing of pixel pairs. The current implementation is focused on isotropic semivariogram computations only. The algorithm is benchmarked using VHDL on a Xilinx XUPV5-LX110T development Kit, which utilizes the Virtex5 FPGA. Medical image data from MRI scans are utilized for the experiments. Implementation results of the first architecture shows that a significant advantage in computational speed is attained by the architectures with respect to Matlab implementation on a personal computer with an Intel i7 multi-core processor. It is also observed that the massively pipelined architecture is nearly 100 times faster than the non-pipelined architecture.

Date of publication

Spring 5-28-2015

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