Use of Sub-Ensembles and Multi-Template Observers to Evaluate Detection Task Performance for Data That are Not Multivariate Normal

Xin Li, Abhinav K. Jha, Michael Ghaly, Fatma E.A. Elshahaby, Jonathan M. Links, Eric C. Frey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The Hotelling Observer (HO) is widely used to evaluate image quality in medical imaging. However, applying it to data that are not multivariate-normally (MVN) distributed is not optimal. In this paper, we apply two multi-template linear observer strategies to handle such data. First, the entire data ensemble is divided into sub-ensembles that are exactly or approximately MVN and homoscedastic. Next, a different linear observer template is estimated for and applied to each sub-ensemble. The first multi-template strategy, adapted from previous work, applies the HO to each sub-ensemble, calculates the area under the receiver operating characteristics curve (AUC) for each sub-ensemble, and averages the AUCs from all the sub-ensembles. The second strategy applies the Linear Discriminant (LD) to estimate test statistics for each sub-ensemble and calculates a single global AUC using the pooled test statistics from all the sub-ensembles. We show that this second strategy produces the maximum AUC when only shifting of the HO test statistics is allowed. We compared these strategies to the use of a single HO template for the entire data ensemble by applying them to the non-MVN data obtained from reconstructed images of a realistic simulated population of myocardial perfusion SPECT studies with the goal of optimizing the reconstruction parameters. Of the strategies investigated, the multi-template LD strategy yielded the highest AUC for any given set of reconstruction parameters. The optimal reconstruction parameters obtained by the two multi-template strategies were comparable and produced higher AUCs for each sub-ensemble than the single-template HO strategy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7795176
Pages (from-to)917-929
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE transactions on medical imaging
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2017


  • Model observers
  • multi-template model observer
  • objective image quality evaluation
  • parameter optimization
  • task-based evaluation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Use of Sub-Ensembles and Multi-Template Observers to Evaluate Detection Task Performance for Data That are Not Multivariate Normal'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this