Massively multithreaded maxflow for image segmentation on the Cray XMT-2



Image segmentation is a very important step in the computerized analysis of digital images. The maxflow mincut approach has been successfully used to obtain minimum energy segmentations of images in many fields. Classical algorithms for maxflow in networks do not directly lend themselves to efficient parallel implementations on contemporary parallel processors. We present the results of an implementation of Goldberg–Tarjan preflow-push algorithm on the Cray XMT-2 massively multithreaded supercomputer. This machine has hardware support for 128 threads in each physical processor, a uniformly accessible shared memory of up to 4 TB and hardware synchronization for each 64 bit word. It is thus well-suited to the parallelization of graph theoretic algorithms, such as preflow-push. We describe the implementation of the preflow-push code on the XMT-2 and present the results of timing experiments on a series of synthetically generated as well as real images. Our results indicate very good performance on large images and pave the way for practical applications of this machine architecture for image analysis in a production setting. The largest images we have run are 320002 pixels in size, which are well beyond the largest previously reported in the literature.Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.