Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

First Advisor

Dr. Sen-Ching S. Cheung


Wide-area camera networks are becoming more and more common. They have widerange of commercial and military applications from video surveillance to smart home and from traffic monitoring to anti-terrorism. The design of such a camera network is a challenging problem due to the complexity of the environment, self and mutual occlusion of moving objects, diverse sensor properties and a myriad of performance metrics for different applications. In this dissertation, we consider two such challenges: camera planing and camera fusion. Camera planning is to determine the optimal number and placement of cameras for a target cost function. Camera fusion describes the task of combining images collected by heterogenous cameras in the network to extract information pertinent to a target application.

I tackle the camera planning problem by developing a new unified framework based on binary integer programming (BIP) to relate the network design parameters and the performance goals of a variety of camera network tasks. Most of the BIP formulations are NP hard problems and various approximate algorithms have been proposed in the literature. In this dissertation, I develop a comprehensive framework in comparing the entire spectrum of approximation algorithms from Greedy, Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) to various relaxation techniques. The key contribution is to provide not only a generic formulation of the camera planning problem but also novel approaches to adapt the formulation to powerful approximation schemes including Simulated Annealing (SA) and Semi-Definite Program (SDP). The accuracy, efficiency and scalability of each technique are analyzed and compared in depth. Extensive experimental results are provided to illustrate the strength and weakness of each method.

The second problem of heterogeneous camera fusion is a very complex problem. Information can be fused at different levels from pixel or voxel to semantic objects, with large variation in accuracy, communication and computation costs. My focus is on the geometric transformation of shapes between objects observed at different camera planes. This so-called the geometric fusion approach usually provides the most reliable fusion approach at the expense of high computation and communication costs. To tackle the complexity, a hierarchy of camera models with different levels of complexity was proposed to balance the effectiveness and efficiency of the camera network operation. Then different calibration and registration methods are proposed for each camera model. At last, I provide two specific examples to demonstrate the effectiveness of the model: 1)a fusion system to improve the segmentation of human body in a camera network consisted of thermal and regular visible light cameras and 2) a view dependent rendering system by combining the information from depth and regular cameras to collecting the scene information and generating new views in real time.