Minimum Barrier Salient Object Detection

We propose a highly efficient, yet powerful, salient object detection method based on a fast Minimum Barrier Distance Transform algorithm. Our salient object detection method (MB) achieves state-of-the-art performance and runs at about 80 FPS using a single thread. Furthermore, a technique based on color whitening is proposed to extend our method to leverage the appearance-based backgroundness cue. This extended version (MB+) further improves the performance, while still runs at about 50 FPS.


[PDF] [Error Bound Proof] [More Results][Slides]

Jianming Zhang, Stan Sclaroff, Zhe Lin, Xiaohui Shen, Brian Price and Radomír Měch. "Minimum Barrier Salient Object Detection at 80 FPS." To appear in Proc. IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV), 2015.

(Accepted for oral presentation)




  title={Minimum Barrier Salient Object Detection at 80 FPS},

  author={Zhang, Jianming and Sclaroff, Stan and Lin, Zhe and Shen, Xiaohui and Price, Brian and M\u{e}ch, Radom\'{i}r},

  booktitle={IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision(ICCV)},



Contact: jmzhang AT


We provide an executable program for 64-bit Windows system and a Matlab re-implementation. Part of this code is patent-pending so it should only be used for research purposes and anyone should not use it for commercial purposes.

Windows Executable: [download] (18M)

Matlab+mex: [download][Github] New


We compare our methods (MB and MB+) with FT [1], HC [3], SIA [2], RC [3], GS [6], HSal [7], AMC [4], SO [8] and the baseline method GD using geodesic distance. See our paper and the supplementary material for more results.

[1] R. Achanta, S. Hemami, F. Estrada, and S. Susstrunk. Frequency-tuned salient region detection. In CVPR, 2009.

[2] M.-M. Cheng, J. Warrell, W.-Y. Lin, S. Zheng, V. Vineet, and N. Crook. Efficient salient region detection with soft image abstraction. In CVPR, 2013.

[3] M.-M. Cheng, N. J. Mitra, X. Huang, P. H. S. Torr, and S.-M. Hu. Global contrast based salient region detection. TPAMI, 37(3):569–582, 2015.

[4] B. Jiang, L. Zhang, H. Lu, C. Yang, and M.-H. Yang. Saliency detection via absorbing markov chain. In ICCV, 2013.

[5] R. Margolin, A. Tal, and L. Zelnik-Manor. What makes a patch distinct? In CVPR, 2013.

[6] Y. Wei, F. Wen, W. Zhu, and J. Sun. Geodesic saliency using background priors. In ECCV. 2012.

[7] Q. Yan, L. Xu, J. Shi, and J. Jia. Hierarchical saliency detection. In CVPR, 2013.

[8] W. Zhu, S. Liang, Y. Wei, and J. Sun. Saliency optimization from robust background detection. In CVPR, 2014.


Change log:

09/07/2015: project page created.

03/24/2016: added the matlab code