Don Williams: What is Image Science?
The term image science first came into popular use with the publication of a book, Image Science, by Dainty & Shaw in 1976. Both authors, with formal degrees in physics, formulated scientific methods for image evaluation and analysis. While their book largely concentrated on images captured with silver halide photographic film many of their fundamental concepts studied by them persist today. These include concepts like Modulation Transfer Function (MTF), Detective Quantum Efficiency (DQE), and Noise Equivalent Quanta (NEQ). These were fundamental Signal and Noise concepts that allowed image to be treated as information sources for efficient communication. Indeed, they adopted Shannon’s Information Theory concepts for image quality assessment.
Certainly, the systematic study of images in the physical and natural world existed before 1976 (e.g. Maxwell, Rayleigh), but the study of images as information entities began to form at that time. That thinking has evolved, almost unrecognizably, with the advent of digital imaging. Image science is now a multi-disciplinary field concerned with the measurement, generation, collection, modification, duplication, and visualization of images. That is, an image as any spatial mapping of energy, even when formed computationally.
This presentation will discuss how image science is involved in all types of imaging modalities. While the concentration will be on cultural heritage imaging, the connections to automotive, security, 3D, and medical imaging will be noted. The meaning of everyday imaging concepts like resolution, dynamic range, & color from a scientific perspective will be discussed and how these concepts are used across all imaging applications.
The speaker Don Williams worked as a research imaging scientist for Kodak for 25 years until he left the company in 2006. His work there focused on both digital and traditional imaging practices across a number of disciplines that included reconnaissance, microfilm, consumer photography, and professional photography sectors. In 2007 he founded Image Science Associates.
He has frequently taught and provided educational tools on digital imaging and has also published extensively on both technical and policy matters as they relate to digital image fidelity and metrology. He sits on international standards committees and is fully immersed and involved in the digital image archiving community, frequently contributing to the Federal Agencies Digital Guidelines Initiative (FADGI).
Don was the editor for ISO 12233, 2nd edition, Spatial Resolution Measurements, Digital Still Cameras, and has acted as coleader for equivalent performance standards on reflection and film scanners.
Don Williams is in Estonia by invitation of the Estonian Photographic Heritage Society, in addition to the public lecture he gave a keynote presentation at a symposium in the Estonian National Library and gave a 3 day practical training for the digitization practitioners from Estonian memory institutions. Dons visit is made possible by funding from the Baltic-American Freedom Foundation (BAFF). Also supported by the Estonian Ministry of Culture and Council of the Gambling Tax.