The convergence of object dependent resolution in maximum likelihood based tomographic image reconstruction

Phys Med Biol. 1993 Jan;38(1):55-70. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/38/1/005.


Study of the maximum likelihood by EM algorithm (ML) with a reconstruction kernel equal to the intrinsic detector resolution and sieve regularization has demonstrated that any image improvements over filtered backprojection (FBP) are a function of image resolution. Comparing different reconstruction algorithms potentially requires measuring and matching the image resolution. Since there are no standard methods for describing the resolution of images from a nonlinear algorithm such as ML, we have defined measures of effective local Gaussian resolution (ELGR) and effective global Gaussian resolution (EGGR) and examined their behaviour in FBP images and in ML images using two different measurement techniques. For FBP these two resolution measures are equal and exhibit the standard convolution behaviour of linear systems. For ML, the FWHM of the ELGR monotonically increased with decreasing Gaussian object size due to slower convergence rates for smaller objects. For the simple simulated phantom used, this resolution dependence is independent of object position. With increasing object size, number of iterations and sieve size the object size dependence of the ELGR decreased. The FWHM of the EGGR converged after approximately 200 iterations, masking the fact that the ELGR for small objects was far from convergence. When FBP is compared to a nonlinear algorithm such as ML, it is recommended that at least the EGGR be matched; for ML this requires more than the number of iterations (e.g., < 100) that are typically run to minimize the mean square error or to satisfy a feasibility or similar stopping criterion. For many tasks, matching the EGGR of ML to FBP images may be insufficient and >> 200 iterations may be needed, particularly for small objects in the ML image because their ELGR has not yet converged.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / statistics & numerical data*
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Models, Structural
  • Tomography / statistics & numerical data*