Sparse Regularization-Based Fuzzy C-Means Clustering Incorporating Morphological Grayscale Reconstruction and Wavelet Frames

Cong Wang, Witold Pedrycz, Mengchu Zhou, Zhiwu Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


The conventional fuzzy C-means (FCM) algorithm is not robust to noise and its rate of convergence is generally impacted by data distribution. Consequently, it is challenging to develop FCM-related algorithms that have good performance and require less computing time. In this article, we elaborate on a comprehensive FCM-related algorithm for image segmentation. To make FCM robust, we first utilize a morphological grayscale reconstruction (MGR) operation to filter observed images before clustering, which guarantees noise-immunity and image detail-preservation. Since real images can generally be approximated by sparse coefficients in a tight wavelet frame system, feature spaces of observed and filtered images can be obtained. Taking such features to be clustered, we investigate an improved FCM model in which a sparse regularization term is introduced into the objective function of FCM. We design a three-step iterative algorithm to solve the sparse regularization-based FCM model, which is constructed by the Lagrangian multiplier method, hard-threshold operator, and normalization operator, respectively. Such an algorithm can not only perform well for image segmentation, but also come with high computational efficiency. To further enhance the segmentation accuracy, we use MGR to filter the label set generated by clustering. Finally, a large number of supporting experiments and comparative studies with other FCM-related algorithms available in the literature are provided. The obtained results for synthetic, medical and color images indicate that the proposed algorithm has good ability for multiphase image segmentation, and performs better than other alternative FCM-related algorithms. Moreover, the proposed algorithm requires less time than most of the existing algorithms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9067059
Pages (from-to)1826-1840
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Fuzzy Systems
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Applied Mathematics


  • Fuzzy C-means (FCM) algorithm
  • Image segmentation
  • Morphological grayscale reconstruction (MGR)
  • Sparse regularization
  • Tight wavelet frame


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