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Vision: A Computational Investigation into the Human Representation and Processing of Visual Information Paperback – July 9, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (July 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262514621
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262514620
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 7.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #706,459 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

David Courtnay Marr (1945-1980), one of the originators of the field of computational neuroscience, was Professor of Psychology at MIT.

Shimon Ullman is Samy and Ruth Cohn Professor of Computer Science at Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.

Tomaso Poggio is Eugene McDermott Professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 42 people found the following review helpful By magellan HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
Although dead at the young age of 36 from leukemia, Marr's computational and mathematical approach to vision revolutionized the entire area of vision research, after which it was never the same. There are strong hints of this approach in the earlier work of Julesz and Gibson, but Marr's work takes the whole field a quantum leap further, giving it a rigorousness and mathematical elegance never before seen.
For example, to mention just a few of his important ideas, Marr's demonstrations that retinal receptive field geometry could be derived by Fourier transformation of spatial frequency sensitivity data, that edges and contours could be detected by finding zero crossings in the light gradient by taking the Laplacian or second directional derivative, that excitatory and inhibitory receptive fields could be constructed from "DOG" functions (the difference of two Gaussians), and that the visual system used a two-dimensional convolution integral with a Gaussian prefilter as an operator for bandwidth optimation on the retinal light distribution, were more powerful than anything that had been seen up to that time.
It was as if vision research suddenly acquired its own Principia Mathematica, or perhaps General Relativity Theory, in terms of the new explanatory power Marr's theories provided. Truly an extraordinary book from an extraordinary thinker in the area of perception, vision, and the brain.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book has quickly become a classic since its publication in 1982. It offers an innovative theoretical approach to explain what it means when we say that we "see" something. Due to Marr's particular interests, his approach also offers, to those interested in creating machine vision that mimics human vision, potential algorithms for doing so. His breadth and depth of knowledge in mathematics, psychology, neurophysiology, and engineering allowed him to integrate the fields in a way never done before. His untimely death was a tragic loss for us all. Although this book may be a bit difficult to understand for the typical psychology student studying human visual perception, it really belongs on his/her shelf. I agree with Marr in his statement that ignorance of the necessary mathematics is inexcusable. For the typical mathematics or engineering student, the book will probably read fairly easily. Although I represent the typical psychology graduate student, it's apparent from my exchanges with my computer science friends working in artificial intelligence that the theories in this book are very well accepted in their academic circles as well.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
It is quite true: this is probably the best book on vision ever published. David Marr combined an incredible depth and width of knowledge in all neccessary fields (psychology, biology, mathematics, computer science) into this book. You will need some background in mathematics before you can fully appreciate Marr's theories. (Notably Fourier transforms) The most important thing about this book is that it represents ONE paradigm to solve problems of perception, and proves that this paradigm works in a number of cases. Unfortunately, David Marr did not live long enough to implement his paradigm in all aspects of vision. Had he still been alive, we would be looking at a much more unified field of vision research today.
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David Marr's "Vision" presents a bold computational approach to studying vision. The book redefines lay and technical concepts in a way that set the reader up for a full understanding of his view of the way vision science should be approached and mastered.

I found the beginning of the book especially engaging, with an introduction to what human vision can do and how little we know about it. The rest of the book serves a separate purpose, namely to present an elaborate argument for the computational study of vision and Marr's own hypotheses, and interwoven proofs for both the approach and theories presented. During the introduction to Marr's thought process in Chapter 1, I did not want to put the book down. Chapter 2, on low-level representation, was a little difficult to swallow since I am more interested in the recognition and algorithmic approaches of the brain, but my patience was rewarded with the remaining chapters. The forward and afterward by those that perhaps knew Marr the best are a real treasure as well; too young to have known what an impact Marr was making the field, I appreciate the brief glimpse of this man that I was given through these two supplemental sections.

David Marr's writing style is conversational. He invites the reader to see the study of vision the way he sees it, and he uses first person narrative without hesitation. However, the book would hardly be labeled a 'quick read,' or a 'bedside book.' The technical content was a bit overwhelming at first to me, though the supplemental figures peppered throughout the book helped significantly. Marr's main thoughts were easy to follow because he heavily outlined his work not only in chapters and subheadings, but also lists and bulleted arguments embedded within the chapters.
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