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J. Vis. Commun. Image R.

20 (2009) 505–510

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

J. Vis. Commun. Image R.

journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/jvci

Fractal image compression based on spatial correlation and hybrid

genetic algorithm
Wang Xing-yuan *, Li Fan-ping, Wang Shu-guo
School of Electronic & Information Engineering, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian 116024, China

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: In order to solve the high complexity of the conventional encoding scheme for fractal image compression,
Received 6 March 2007 a spatial correlation hybrid genetic algorithm based on the characteristics of fractal and partitioned iter-
Accepted 4 July 2009 ated function system (PIFS) is proposed in this paper. There are two stages for the algorithm: (1) Make
Available online 21 August 2009
use of spatial correlation in images for both range and domain pool to exploit local optima. (2) Adopt sim-
ulated annealing genetic algorithm (SAGA) to explore the global optima if the local optima are not satis-
Keywords: fied. In order to avoid premature convergence, the algorithm adopt dyadic mutation operator to take
Fractal image compression
place of the traditional one. Experiment results show that the algorithm convergent rapidly. At the pre-
Block coding
mise of good quality of the reconstructed image, the algorithm saved the encoding time and obtained
Spatial correlation high compression ratio.
Hybrid genetic algorithm Ó 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Simulated annealing
Dyadic mutation operator

0. Introduction [9] proposed a kind of neighborhood matching method based on

spatial correlation which makes use of the information of matched
Fractals exist in nature widely. Fractal images contain few range blocks and effectively reduced the encoding time.
amount of information, but posses high-level of visual complexity SAGA is a kind of optimizing algorithm combining the conven-
[1]. At present, fractal image compression has become one of the tional genetic algorithm and simulated annealing algorithm (SAA).
most promising encoding technology in the new generation of im- Genetic algorithm (GA) is an adaptive randomization global search
age compression [2] for its novel idea, high compression ratio and technique mimicking the natural selection and natural genetic
resolution independence. In 1988, Barnsley [3–5] proposed the [10,11,15]. In the past, some researchers applied GA to the match-
idea of fractal image compression for the first time. Jacquin [6] ing searching problem for fractal image compression, and have re-
bring forward fractal block encoding which has taken a substantive ported some results. For example, Vences and Rudomin [12] and
step in the practice of fractal encoding study. The theoretical basic Mitra et al. [13] proposed some search strategies using GA, respec-
of fractal image compression is PIFS, which makes use of the sim- tively. Wu et al. [14] proposed a Spatial Correlation Genetic Algo-
ilarity of an image between different subimages. For this encoding rithm (SC-GA), which speeded up the encoding time and
method, each range block needs to find a best-matched domain increased compression ratio. In this paper, a fractal image com-
block from the domain pool. The traditional encoding method, pression algorithm based on spatial correlation and simulated
i.e. full search method must do a large amount of similarity compu- annealing genetic algorithm is proposed. Results show that pro-
tations in order to find the best-matched domain block, so it is posed algorithm reduced the coding time and retained high com-
time-consuming. Moreover, in order to obtain global optimization, pression ratio under the premise of good image quality.
the absolute positions of the matching blocks have to be recorded
and thus the fractal codes require a large space for saving. Based on
1. Theoretical basics of fractal image compression
faults just mentioned, the focal aims of fractal image compression
are reducing the encoding time and increasing the compression ra-
The fractal image compression is based on the local self-similar-
tio. So far, some improved approaches have been presented. Fisher
ity property and PIFS. The related definitions and theorems are sta-
and Wang et al. proposed their classification methods [7,8] based
ted as follows.
on the feature of the domain blocks, respectively. Truong et al.
Definition 1. Let X be a complete metric space with metric d. A
* Corresponding author. map w: X ? X is said to be contractive if there exists sð0  s < 1Þ
E-mail address: wangxy@dlut.edu.cn (W. Xing-yuan). such that

1047-3203/$ - see front matter Ó 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
506 W. Xing-yuan et al. / J. Vis. Commun. Image R. 20 (2009) 505–510

dðwðxÞ; wðyÞÞ 6 s  dðx; yÞ 8x; y 2 X: ð1Þ its matched domain block. The corresponding contractive mapping
We normally refer to the real numbers of s satisfying Eq. (1) as
the contractivity of w. N[
r N r

Definition 2. An iterated function system (IFS) consists of a com-
plete metric space (X, d) and a series of contractive mappings wn: for all of the range blocks
X ? X defined on it. The contractivities are sn (n = 1, 2, . . . , N). Usu- N[
r N r
ally an IFS is denoted by {X; wn, n = 1, 2, . . . , N} with contractivity Ri
s = max{sn, n = 1, 2, . . . , N}. i¼1

Let metric space X denote a set of N  N gray level images. The constitute a PIFS and its parameters are the fractal codes for the gi-
metric is defined as the usual Euclidean distance by regarding the ven image I .
elements in X as vectors of dimension N  N. Let I be the original
image belonging to X. Our goal is to find a set of transformations 2. SAGA
{w1, w2, . . . , wn}, each of which is a restricted function and satisfies
(1), such that the given image I is an approximate attractor. The set SAGA is a kind of optimizing algorithm combining the conven-
{w1, w2, . . . , wn} is called a PIFS. The following theorem is an tional genetic algorithm and simulated annealing algorithm. The
important fact for PIFS. related theories of schema theory and the evolutionary computa-
Theorem 1. Let {w1, w2, . . . , wn} (wi: X ? X) be a PIFS with con- tion are given as follows.
tractivity s < 1. Then, the transformation W defined by
2.1. Schema theorem
W¼ wi ;
Schema theorem is one of the important theorems in GA. A sche-
ma is a string of characters consisting of 1, 0, and a ‘‘do not care”
is a contractive mapping. There exists a unique fixed point such that character , which can both denote 1 and 0. For example, the sche-
A ¼ limn!1 W n ðBÞ, A is a set called attractor of PIFS. Where B is any ma 1100 means that the center two digits can be either 1 or 0. The
set, Wn(B) is the nth iteration of mappings W, and A = W(A). possible four chromosomes are 110000, 110100, 111000 and
111100. Schema is a fixed template describing a subset of chromo-
Theorem 2. Let (X, d) be a complete metric space and I 2 h(X), for a somes with similarities at certain defined positions. In the mean-
given small positive real number e > 0, if there exists a PIFS: time, chromosomes having the same schema will have similar
{w1, w2, . . . , wn} with contractivity sð0 6 s < 1Þ, and satisfies the fol- information to a certain degree. The schema theorem is list below:
lowing condition:
Theorem 3. Short schema with better than average costs occur
! exponentially more frequently in the next generation. Schema with
h I; wi ðIÞ 6 e; worse than average costs occur less frequently in the next generation.

we have hðI; AÞ 6 e=ð1  sÞ, where A is the attractor of the PIFS and Thus, if a schema is contained in a set of chromosomes which
h(., .) is the Hausdorff metric, at the meantime, the following inequality have better fitness, it will survive in further generations during
holds for any non-empty compact set B(B 2 X) evolution of GA. On the other hand, a schema will be eliminated
easily during the evolution of GA if it is contained in a set of chro-
hðA; BÞ 6 ð1  sÞ1 hðB; WðBÞÞ: mosomes which have worse fitness. Based on this idea, the genetic
operators in GA will be adaptively designed in order to find a suit-
Collage theorem indicates that for a given image I, if we can
able domain block and speed up the encoder.
construct a contractive IFS: {X; wn, n = 1, 2, . . . , N} which satisfies
2.2. Evolutionary computation of SAGA
I ¼ WðIÞ ¼ wi ðIÞ;
i¼1 The elementary operations of SAGA include selection, crossover,
mutation, and simulating annealing. The arithmetic flow is as
then after a large number of iterations, an attractor A is generated
which is sufficiently close to the given image I. Generally speaking,
the data size required to store the parameters of W is far less than
(1) Define chromosome formation and fitness function, initial-
that to store the image itself, so we can get higher compression ratio
ize the evolution generation counter.
accordingly. Based on Theorem 1 and Theorem 2, the original image
(2) Create the initial population.
I is the attractor of contractive transformation W.
(3) Evaluate fitness values and test stopping criterion.
For the simplest situation, let I be a given N  N gray level im-
(4) Selection, crossover, mutation and simulated annealing
age. The range pool is defined as the set of all non-overlapping
blocks of size B  B, and each of them is denoted by Ri, i.e.
(5) Evaluate fitness values after simulated annealing algorithm.
r N r (6) Test stopping criterion. If the fitness value satisfies the stop-
I¼ Ri ; Ri \ Rj ¼ U; i–j; ping criterion, then add one to the evolution generation
counter and go to step (4); otherwise record the current
where Nr = N/B. The domain pool is defined as the set of all possible best-matched individual.
blocks of size D  D (D > B), and each of them is denoted by Di. The
domain blocks can be overlapping or non-overlapping with double The above arithmetic flow shows that at the beginning of the ge-
size of the range blocks. For each range block, we need to find a netic process, the chromosome formation and fitness function are
best-matched domain block Di and a contractive mapping wi. In this defined and population is initialized randomly. For the subsequent
way, every range block Ri is denoted by the affine transformation of evolutionary generations, first evaluate the fitness values of all the
W. Xing-yuan et al. / J. Vis. Commun. Image R. 20 (2009) 505–510 507

individuals in the current population and then select parent indi- We should notice that some range blocks do not have the neigh-
viduals into the mating pool from the first half of the chromosomes bors and their extended domain blocks as shown in Fig. 1, such as
with higher fitness values. Usually, two parents are selected from the edge blocks of the image. In order to avoid the large similarity
the mating pool for crossover in order to generate new offspring gaps between the local minimum and the global minimum, one
controlled by a probability Pc. The mutation operation with proba- can set an appropriate threshold T according to actual demand.
bility Pm is then applied to the offspring to maintain the diversity of The threshold T is used to determine whether the second stage will
the population and to avoid premature convergence. In the process be invoked, so its value affects both the encoding time and bit rate
of genetic operations, we introduced simulated annealing opera- (bit per pixel, bpp). When the value of T is larger, the probability of
tion, which makes the high temperature GA in favor of global large finding the match domain block will be higher in the first stage. In
scale migration, while the low temperature GA in favor of local this case, the probability of invoking the second stage search is re-
small scale movement in optimizing process. With the execution duced. If the local optimum is bigger than T, the second stage of the
of evolution, the probability accepting inferior resolution decreases algorithm, i.e. global SAGA searching is exploited.
along with the decreasing temperature, so the searching capability The detailed design of SAGA is summarized as follows:
and efficiency in resolution space of the algorithm are enhanced.
(1) Chromosome formation: Since the fractal encoding scheme
3. Proposed method utilize the PIFS to encode every range block, one takes the
absolute position (tx, ty) of a domain block and the dihedral
The proposed method is implemented in two stages. The first transformation d to constitute a chromosome. A chromo-
stage makes full use of spatial correlations in images to exploit lo- some is 19 bits in length as shown in Fig. 2, in which 3, 8
cal optima. It can reduce the searching space of the similar match- and 8 bits are allocated for d and (tx, ty), respectively.
ing domain pool, and shorten the optimal searching time. The (2) Fitness function: The distance of both range block and sub-
second stage is operated on the whole image to explore more ade- sampled domain block is measured by MSE. The fitness
quate similarities if the local optima are not satisfied. The genetic value is defined as the reciprocal of MSE.
parameters such as crossover probability pc and mutation proba- (3) Initial population: Chromosomes are initialized randomly.
bility pm are set according to experiments and adjust them on (4) Selection: Classify the population as two categories according
the basis of fitness value. to fitness values and select two individuals into the mating
Statistical results show that for a given range block pool to take part in the genetic operation in term of roulette
Ri(0 6 i < 1024), the potential quasi-affine matched domain blocks method.
centralized around its vicinity. Therefore, for a given range block Ri, (5) Crossover: Based on the basis that individuals with better fit-
the proposed algorithm first makes use of the spatial correlation to ness have a rather large probability to find the optimal indi-
reduce the searching space. The first stage of proposed algorithm is vidual between its neighbors, the mating pool constitutes
first exploited so as to reduce the computations needed to find the the first half members of population according to the rank-
satisfactory matched domain blocks. Let Ri be a range block to be ing by their fitness values. Perform uniform crossover on
encoded and Fig. 1 depicted its nearby range blocks which are de- the selected chromosomes in the mating pool with probabil-
noted as R1, R2, R3, R4. Assume D11 ; D12 ; D13 ; D14 are the corresponding ity pc, the temporary offspring will replace the worse half
matched domain blocks matched in the previous time, respec- chromosomes in the population.
tively. The best-matched blocks to the block Ri should be the neigh- (6) Mutation: In the process of genetic operator design, we use
bors of block D11 ; D12 ; D13 ; D14 ; thus we expand the searching of the dyadic mutation operator to take place of the traditional
best match of block Ri to the nearest k neighbors for Ri. For exam- mutation operator because of its deficiency. The improved
ple, D12 is the matched domain block of R2 which is in the horizontal algorithm can effectively avoid premature convergence and
direction of Ri and we expands the searching space in the horizon- greatly save the time finding the best-matched domain
tal direction to D02 ; D12 ; D22 and D32 as depicted in Fig. 1 and denoted it blocks. Potts et al. [16] hold that premature convergence is
by S2. Similarly, D11 ; D13 ; D14 are expanded to S1, S3, S4 according to caused by deletion of effective allele. However, crossover
their directions. So the searching space of Ri is limited to operator does not generate new genes, the aim of selection
strategy is to speed up the convergence of genes, and thus
S ¼ fS1 ; S2 ; S3 ; S4 g lead into the decrease of some genes at the special location.
as depicted in Fig. 1. In this case, the expansion width k is set to be Based on the above reasons, mutation operator must keep
4, which can be set to other values according to the trade off be- the variety of alleles at the same gene location, which avoid
tween the encoding speed and the bit rate. maximum of the premature convergence. The process of bin-
ary mutation operation can be presented as follows:

Knowing from the execution process of binary mutation operator

that the individuals are complementary in genes after mutation oper-
ating, i.e. if the gene in one individual is ‘‘0”, it must be ‘‘1” in the other
individual at the same gene location. Dyadic mutation operations
guarantee the variety of allele at the same gene location, which speed
up the encoding time and avoid premature convergence.

(7) Simulated annealing operation: Following the genetic muta-

tion operator, if the fitness values of temporary offspring
Fig. 1. The searching space of the current range block in the first stage. are bigger than their parent chromosomes, the offspring
508 W. Xing-yuan et al. / J. Vis. Commun. Image R. 20 (2009) 505–510

At the earlier running period of genetic algorithm, since the indi-

vidual difference is great, the generating offspring number is in direct
proportion to its parent’s fitness value when employ classic roulette
method for selection and thus easily lead to premature convergence.
At the later running period of genetic algorithm, the fitness of individ-
uals are almost the same, so the excellent individuals have little
Fig. 2. Structure of a chromosome in the second stage; the length is l = ld + lx + ly. advantage in generating offspring, which makes the population evo-
lution come to a standstill. Based on the following analysis, it is nec-
are accepted and regarded as the new population, otherwise, essary to stretch the fitness value appropriately. At the earlier period
they are accepted according to Metrolpis acceptance criteria of genetic algorithm, individuals with little interval have almost the
  same probability to generate offspring. While at the later period of
f ðxnþ1 Þ  f ðxn Þ
exp > random½0; 1Þ: genetic algorithm, the value of temperature control parameter de-
T generation
crease continuously, stretching effect intensives, therefore, the differ-
where xn and xn+1 represent chromosome in the current pop- ence between individuals becomes greater, which makes the
ulation and its generated offspring, respectively, Tgeneration is advantages of excellent individuals much more obvious.
the annealing temperature corresponding to the generation, The detailed steps of the proposed improved algorithm are gi-
whose value degrade gently along the evolution generation. ven as follows:

Fig. 3. Comparison of reconstructed images between proposed method and some typical methods for fractal image compression. (a) Original image, Lena of size 8  8. (b) Full
search method, time used = 400.73 s, PSNR = 28.84, bit rate = 0.4844. (c) Truong method, time used = 125.32, PSNR = 28.51, bit rate = 0.4013. (d) SC-GA method, time
used = 16.51, PSNR = 27.15, bit rate = 0.3945. (e) Proposed method, time used = 9.15, PSNR = 27.19, bit rate = 0.3999.

Fig. 4. The comparison of generation-to-PSNR of proposed method and SC-GA Fig. 5. The comparison of generation-to-encoding time of proposed method and SC-
method for image Lena. GA method for image Lena.
W. Xing-yuan et al. / J. Vis. Commun. Image R. 20 (2009) 505–510 509

the domain block instead of the 16-bit absolute position. This will
improve the compression ratio. Let NR and NH denote the number
of range blocks and hit blocks, respectively. For hit blocks, 2 + Bw
bits are required to record the relative positions, where Bw denotes
the number of bits to represent the expansions. Let Bk, Bp and Bq de-
note the number of bits required to represent the orientation, the
contrast and the brightness, respectively. Then the bit rate can be
computed directly in terms of the number of hit blocks as

NH ð1 þ ð2 þ Bw Þ þ Bk þ Bp þ Bq Þ þ ðN R  NH Þð1 þ Bk þ Bp þ Bq Þ
bpp ¼ ;

where NTP is the total number of pixels in the image. Note that one
bit is required to indicate if the block is a hit block.

4. Experimental results

The image Lena, Pepper, Baboon and Zelda are tested to demon-
strate the speed up rate, bit rate and reconstructed image quality of
Fig. 6. The comparison of bpp-to-PSNR of proposed method, SC-GA method and proposed method. For a given image of size 256  256, the sizes of
Truong method for image Lena.
range block are chosen to be 8  8 and 4  4. The population size in
SAGA of the second stage is 180. For both the first and second
(1) Let j = 0. stage, the crossover rate is 0.6 and the mutation rate can be ad-
(2) Define the searching space S as depicted in Fig. 1. justed between 0.01 and 0.07 according to the evolution genera-
(3) Perform the first stage of the proposed algorithm on rj. Let tion counter. The software simulation is done using Visual C++
ds be the best-matched block in this stage. If its fitness value on a Celeron 2.66G Windows XP PC.
is bigger than the predefined value, record the fractal code As an illustrative example, Fig. 3 shows the results of recon-
and go to step (5). structed images by proposed method in compression to full search
(4) Perform the second stage of the proposed algorithm on rj. Let method, Truong method [9] and SC-GA method [14]. Fig. 3(a) is the
df be the best-matched block in this stage. If its fitness value original Lena image. Fig. 3(b)–(e) shows the difference between the
is bigger than the predefined value, record the fractal code. reconstructed image and the original Lena image using full search
ðjÞ ðjÞ
Otherwise, compare the fitness value of ds and df , and take method, Truong method, SC-GA method and the proposed method,
the better chromosome as the fractal code. respectively. Some comparative results between the proposed
(5) Let j = j + 1, If j is equal to 1024, then stop, otherwise go to method and SC-GA method are shown in Figs. 4–6 for Lena image
step (2). and the range block size is 8  8. In this simulation, the size of pop-
ulation is 180 and the number of generation is 15 and the thresh-
In step (2), since the range blocks located at the first row, the old is 50. In the comparison, the proposed method is superior to
first column, the last row, and the last column do not have the SC-GA method in the view of encoding time versus the number
neighbors as shown in Fig. 1, the first stage of the proposed algo- of generations and the reconstructed image quality (PSNR) varied
rithm is not performed on these blocks. in a relatively small scope.
If the fractal codes come from the second stage, the absolute po- Tables 1 and 2 show the results of the proposed method in com-
sition is recoded, the structure of the chromosome as shown in parison to some typical fractal image compression methods using
Fig. 2 which need 19 bits to store a chromosome. However, if the range block of 8  8 and 4  4. It is obviously that our proposed
fractal codes come from the first stage, the range block rj is called algorithm is faster than the full search algorithm, Truong’s algo-
‘‘hit” block, which indicates that the local optima can satisfy the de- rithm and SC-GA algorithm. Take 8  8 range blocks for example,
mand. For a hit block, fewer bits are required to record the offset of in comparison to full search method, the retrieved image quality

Table 1
The comparison of some fractal image compression methods with range block size 8  8.

Testing images Method PSNR Time (s) Hit blocks bpp Speed-up rate
Lena Full search method 28.84 400.73 0 0.4844 1
Truong method 28.51 135.32 539 0.4013 2.96
SC-GA method 27.15 16.51 576 0.3945 24.27
Proposed method 27.19 9.15 596 0.3908 43.19
Pepper Full search method 28.92 396.21 0 0.4844 1
Truong method 28.01 186.09 554 0.3985 2.12
SC-GA method 27.83 17.33 599 0.3902 22.86
Proposed method 27.85 10.96 628 0.3850 36.15
Zelda Full search method 30.08 392.61 0 0.4844 1
Truong method 29.73 149.30 679 0.3756 2.62
SC-GA method 28.85 15.32 701 0.3716 25.62
Proposed method 29.01 9.13 717 0.3687 43.00
Baboon Full search method 20.53 383.27 0 0.4844 1
Truong method 20.51 298.97 101 0.4815 1.28
SC-GA method 20.01 19.43 197 0.4639 19.72
Proposed method 20.43 14.18 201 0.4631 27.02
510 W. Xing-yuan et al. / J. Vis. Commun. Image R. 20 (2009) 505–510

Table 2
The comparison of some fractal image compression methods with range block size 4  4.

Testing images Method PSNR Time (s) Hit blocks bpp Speed-up rate
Lena Full search method 34.13 499.36 0 1.9375 1
Truong method 33.37 107.79 3167 1.4201 4.63
SC-GA method 31.85 14.01 3295 1.3966 35.64
Proposed method 32.08 6.87 3337 1.3889 72.68
Pepper Full search method 34.07 586.43 0 1.9375 1
Truong method 32.13 131.84 3051 1.4413 4.44
SC-GA method 30.14 14.83 3172 1.4191 39.54
Proposed method 31.03 9.65 3269 1.4014 60.76
Zelda Full search method 36.43 583.79 0 1.9375 1
Truong method 33.14 96.03 3336 1.3891 6.07
SC-GA method 31.21 14.11 3573 1.3457 41.37
Proposed method 31.99 6.23 3711 1.3204 93.70
Baboon Full search method 22.82 581.23 0 1.9375 1
Truong method 21.79 401.28 892 1.8366 1.44
SC-GA method 20.08 21.52 913 1.8328 27.00
Proposed method 21.64 16.48 1083 1.8016 35.26

reduced 0.97 dB in average, while the encoding speed up 22.93 tor subject special scientific research foundation of China (No.
times in average and the bit rate is improved about 20% in average. 20070141014) and the National Natural Science Foundation of Lia-
Compared to Truong algorithm, the encoding speed is nearly 18 oning province (No. 20082165).
times faster with only 0.57 dB degrade of image quality in average.
Compared to SC-GA algorithm, the encoding speed of the proposed
method is two times faster while the qualities of the reconstructed
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This research is supported by the National Natural Science

Foundation of China (No. 60573172), the Superior University doc-