Commute time distance transformation applied to spectral imagery and its utilization in material clustering

James A. Albano, David W. Messinger, Stanley R. Rotman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Spectral image analysis problems often begin by applying a transformation that generates an alternative representation of the spectral data with the intention of exposing hidden features not discernable in the original space. We introduce and demonstrate a transformation based on a Markov-chain model of a random walk on a graph via application to spectral image clustering. The random walk is quantified by a measure known as the average commute time distance (CTD), which is the average length that a random walker takes, when starting at one node, to transition to another and return to the starting node. This distance metric has the important characteristic of increasing when the number of paths between two nodes decreases and/or the lengths of those paths increase. Once a similarity graph is built on the spectral data, a transformation based on an eigendecomposition of the graph Laplacian matrix is applied that embeds the nodes of the graph into a Euclidean space with the separation between nodes equal to the square-root of the average commute time distance. This is referred to as the Commute Time Distance transformation. As an example of the utility of this data transformation, results are shown for standard clustering algorithms applied to hyperspectral data sets.

Original languageEnglish
Article number076202
JournalOptical Engineering
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • General Engineering


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