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Mathematical Problems in Engineering
Volume 2014, Article ID 471209, 16 pages
Research Article

A Novel Plant Root Foraging Algorithm for Image Segmentation Problems

1Laboratory of Information Service & Intelligent Control, Shenyang Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang 110016, China
2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100039, China

Received 4 May 2014; Accepted 12 June 2014; Published 16 July 2014

Academic Editor: Haipeng Peng

Copyright © 2014 Lianbo Ma et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper presents a new type of biologically-inspired global optimization methodology for image segmentation based on plant root foraging behavior, namely, artificial root foraging algorithm (ARFO). The essential motive of ARFO is to imitate the significant characteristics of plant root foraging behavior including branching, regrowing, and tropisms for constructing a heuristic algorithm for multidimensional and multimodal problems. A mathematical model is firstly designed to abstract various plant root foraging patterns. Then, the basic process of ARFO algorithm derived in the model is described in details. When tested against ten benchmark functions, ARFO shows the superiority to other state-of-the-art algorithms on several benchmark functions. Further, we employed the ARFO algorithm to deal with multilevel threshold image segmentation problem. Experimental results of the new algorithm on a variety of images demonstrated the suitability of the proposed method for solving such problem.