Why you should learn Computer Vision and how you can get started

Why you should learn Computer Vision and how you can get started

A few compelling reasons for you to starting learning Computer. In today’s world, Computer Vision technologies are everywhere.

I. Motivation

In today’s world, Computer Vision technologies are everywhere. They are embedded within many of the tools and applications that we use on a daily basis. However, we often pay little attention to those underlaying Computer Vision technologies because they tend to run in the background. As a result, only a small fraction of those outside the tech industries know about the importance of those technologies. Therefore, the goal of this article is to provide an overview of Computer Vision to those with little to no knowledge about the field. I attempt to achieve this goal by answering three questions: What is Computer Vision?, Why should you learn Computer Vision? and How you can get started?

II. What is Computer Vision?

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Figure 1: Portrait of Larry Roberts. The field of Computer Vision dates back to the 1960s when Larry Roberts, who is now widely considered as the “Father of Computer Vision”, published his paper _Machine Perception of Three-Dimensional Solids _detailing how a computer can infer 3D shapes from a 2D image (Roberts, 1995). Since then, other researchers have made amazing contributions to the field. These advances, however, have not changed the underlaying goal of Computer Vision which is to mimic the human visual system. From an engineering point of view, this means being able to build autonomous systems that can do things a human visual system can do such as detecting and recognizing objects, recognizing faces and facial expressions, etc. (Huang, 1996). Traditionally, many approaches in Computer Vision involves manual feature extraction. This means manually finding some unique features/characteristics (edges, shapes, etc) that are only present in an object to be able to detect and recognize what that object is. Unfortunately, one major issue arises when trying to detect and recognize variations (sizes, lightning conditions, etc) of that same object. It is difficult to find features that can uniquely identify an object across all variations. Fortunately, this problem is now solved with the introduction of Machine Learning, particularly a sub-field of Machine Learning called Deep Learning. Deep Learning utilizes a form of Neural Networks called Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs). Unlike the traditional methods, methods that utilize CNNs are able to extract features automatically. Instead of trying to figure out which features can represent an object manually, a CNN can learn those features automatically by looking at many variations of that same object. As result, many recent advancements in the field of Computer Vision involves the use of CNNs.

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