Theses and Dissertations


John E. Ball

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Bruce, Lori Mann

Committee Member

Fowler, James

Committee Member

Younan, Nicholas

Committee Member

King, Roger

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Electrical Engineering

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


James Worth Bagley College of Engineering


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering


In this dissertation, level set methods are employed to segment masses in digital mammographic images and to classify land cover classes in hyperspectral data. For the mammography computer aided diagnosis (CAD) application, level set-based segmentation methods are designed and validated for mass periphery segmentation, spiculation segmentation, and core segmentation. The proposed periphery segmentation uses the narrowband level set method in conjunction with an adaptive speed function based on a measure of the boundary complexity in the polar domain. The boundary complexity term is shown to be beneficial for delineating challenging masses with ill-defined and irregularly shaped borders. The proposed method is shown to outperform periphery segmentation methods currently reported in the literature. The proposed mass spiculation segmentation uses a generalized form of the Dixon and Taylor Line Operator along with narrowband level sets using a customized speed function. The resulting spiculation features are shown to be very beneficial for classifying the mass as benign or malignant. For example, when using patient age and texture features combined with a maximum likelihood (ML) classifier, the spiculation segmentation method increases the overall accuracy to 92% with 2 false negatives as compared to 87% with 4 false negatives when using periphery segmentation approaches. The proposed mass core segmentation uses the Chan-Vese level set method with a minimal variance criterion. The resulting core features are shown to be effective and comparable to periphery features, and are shown to reduce the number of false negatives in some cases. Most mammographic CAD systems use only a periphery segmentation, so those systems could potentially benefit from core features.