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Leaving aerospace to pursue an oceanography career, she developed a photo-editing algorithm that surpassed Photoshop

Derya Akkaynak remembers the first time she saw the sea without looking through the water.

The late summer rains forced her to give up on a beach trip every Sunday, only to face the aching thing in her heart: she decided to adjust the algorithms she had to drastically type. so for the past 3 and a half years. She entered into the changes she had intended to make long ago – characters that haunted her mind but never once did they work so well, but this time it was different. In a way, the rain cleared away Derya Akkaynak’s low anxiety.

The photo of corals, distorted and obscured because the lens must see through the water, suddenly appeared colorful. Akkaynak’s voice was still full of emotion, just like the first day she saw the dream scene.

Leaving aerospace to pursue an oceanography career she developed a photo editing algorithm that surpassed Photoshop | Explore

Water is the key to determining whether the final product is beautiful or not. And not every underwater setting is the same; a photo of the seabed near Hawaii’s sand will be clear through the clear water, but the Atlantic Ocean will bring about distinct shades of gray. Even an area of ​​the sea in different weather conditions will bring about different photographic works.

At times, alluvium creates a layer of grain that blocks all views, but only the next day, algae bloom, causing the water to change from blue to green. The time of day also makes the picture different, as the Sun changes the position or angle of the camera a few degrees off. The relationship between water and light bizarre fruit, they blur the inherent color of things hidden under the water, and then distort the way we enjoy the sea. Sometimes, it is also difficult for scientists to use underwater photographs for research.

Named Derya (sea) from birth, Turkish girl Akkaynak lived in the fishing village of Cesmealti for many months of her childhood. The love for aquatic life flourished when little Derya Akkaynak spent many hours immersed in the salt water.

Leaving aerospace to pursue an oceanography career she developed a photo editing algorithm that surpassed Photoshop | Explore

After trying to become an aerospace engineer, Akkaynak returned to her childhood love. It was only when she studied the clever ability of the octopus to disguise it, she discovered a difficulty unlike any of the oceanographers: The quality of the underwater photos is so bad.

Any image taken in the water is a layer of green, blue or brown if you shoot in muddy water, damaging“It is hard to see an octopus hidden in the water, the research is stagnant because of that. The impact of the water on the photo makes Ms. Akkaynak very upset, but she can do nothing but to wish.

A few years later, the Sea-thru savior emerged from Akkaynak’s own hands. This image processing algorithm makes underwater photos as clear as land photos. The Marine Image Laboratory of Haifa University, Israel, led by Professor Tali Treibitz, is where Akkaynak helped develop this advanced algorithm; Sea-thru not only works to correct the color.

Leaving aerospace to pursue an oceanography career she developed a photo editing algorithm that surpassed Photoshop | Explore

Many people still say, ‘I can do that in Photoshop!“” Akkaynak said with a laugh. Sea-thru is a system that can manipulate images using algorithms rather than “rice-based” software, which is much more efficient than Photoshop, and her physical-based algorithm. Akkaynak does not need a color scheme to fill it properly, nor does it need to overlay colors on the image to create the most eye-catching product Sea-thru uses physical interactions between water and light, using reverse engineering. backwards to eliminate the effect of water from the image.

Basically, this algorithm understands how water affects light, and reverses any effect of “bending” the light of water. The end result: it seems that the sea floor image was taken without being “filtered” through the thick layer of water.

See through the ocean (by algorithm).

Leaving aerospace to pursue an oceanography career she developed a photo editing algorithm that surpassed Photoshop | Explore

The photos processed by Sea-thru bring a unique appeal. The striking colors, movements of marine creatures are clearer than ever, and the shape of things is clear like never before. But Sea-thru is not only that simple, this algorithm does more than capture photos to capture sharpness; This is also an effective tool for science. By automatically processing the input image data, Sea-thru saves tens, hundreds of hours of researchers’ time.

That was my original purpose, to help speed up the research of oceanography“In addition, Sea-thru also has the potential to solve the underlying problem of color reproduction and the native contrast of an image. Sea-thru makes it easy for scientists to identify children,” says Akkaynak. Octopus is cleverly immersed in the garish of the seabed.

Leaving aerospace to pursue an oceanography career she developed a photo editing algorithm that surpassed Photoshop | Explore

Alex Jordan, a researcher from the Max Planck Animal Behavior Institute, an expert on the evolution of animal behavior that affects the environment, decided to test Sea-thru himself. While studying the number of spiders and tilapia in Tanganyika (Africa), he wanted to test how useful the Sea-thru (see through the sea) algorithm is in fresh water.

Fish in the world’s second oldest freshwater lake are extremely diverse, they are the ideal research object for Jordan and the Sea-thru algorithm. The following video is the result of the team continuously rotating fish activity in the water, observing two species of fish standing very close to the evolutionary tree but opposite in character, one is a social species and one just likes to live. alone.

The original video was edited and then completed by the Sea-thru algorithm, Akkaynak’s enthusiastic lines of code filter out the redundancy, pick out the key details, the main activities of the fish swimming in the water. Combining the increased image quality with the ability to identify patterns of behavior of the fish, the algorithm makes Jordan’s research easier than ever.

The algorithm removes the opacity of the water, opening up the magical world hidden below.

Machine learning technology requires clean, homogeneous data to make it easier to learn (and to get accurate outputs), but underwater photos are never clear. The water prevents an algorithm from determining the activity of a particular organism; The first day’s data might have been a black and white fish swimming in brown water, but by the second day, the photo / video was sent to a blue-gray fish swimming in the water of sunlight!

Do you remember the illusion of the Internet headlining dress a few years ago? [Chụp ảnh dưới nước] almost the same. You are trying to train a machine learning model to spot differences, but day by day, the differences themselves are different. We have a great headache“, Jordan said.

Sea-thru’s algorithm takes these chaotic data back to a norm, eliminating the elements that ruin the image of water that both the naked eye and machine learning algorithm are hard to analyze.

Not only do oceanography benefit from Sea-thru, archeology can also apply advanced algorithms to better see the ancient ruins of human settling beneath the sea.

Zoë J. Wood, a professor of computer science at California University of Technology, teamed up with engineer Christopher Clark from Harvey Mudd University and Timmy Gambin from the University of Malta to survey the shipwreck area offshore. Malta coast. Two years ago, they discovered a British aircraft from World War II, now it is home to grouper and local crustaceans.

Leaving aerospace to pursue an oceanography career she developed a photo editing algorithm that surpassed Photoshop | Explore

The team of researchers not only wanted to unearth the old site, but also wanted to create 3D, high-resolution models of the entire plane crashed area; They want to follow the changing process of “historical witnesses” under the saline layer. By automated submarines, they photographed an ancient aircraft to build 3D models.

But the difficulties they encountered were similar to Jordan’s: the light passing through the water made the photos inaccurate, the model was practically false.

According to archaeologist Timmy Gambin, Sea-thru can help them a lot. The algorithm will both improve 3D models while reducing image processing time.

In addition to the reputation of photographic algorithms, Sea-thru can also be a bridge between humans and the beauty of the sea floor. Even images and videos processed by Sea-thru have the potential to become an effective environmental protection propaganda tool; Would you be willing to destroy the colorful underwater world?

Leaving aerospace to pursue an oceanography career she developed a photo editing algorithm that surpassed Photoshop | Explore

Jordan cherished the first moment to see the tilapia clearly. The red sand at the bottom of Tanganyika Lake always clung to the sole of his shoes every time the field survey, seeing the perch in the water on the bottom of the dark red lake made his eyes tremble.

Leaving aerospace to pursue an oceanography career she developed a photo editing algorithm that surpassed Photoshop | Explore

The purpose of the Sea-thru algorithm, of the sleeplessness of Akkaynak, is to help scientists increase research progress. Seeing the true colors of the water bottom is just a plus point but no less vivid.

Ms. Bien returned to the ocean of her childhood, trying to wash away the blur of the clear water, revealing the beauty of the magical world of aquariums.

See Scientific American, Freethink

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