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As other approaches do, we start from low-level features extracted with image analysis to detect and characterize regions in an image. However, in contrast with feature-based approaches, we provide a syntax to describe segmented regions as basic objects and complex objects as compositions of basic ones. Then we introduce a companion extensional semantics for defining reasoning services, such as retrieval, classification, and subsumption. These services can be used for both exact and approximate matching, using similarity measures.
Using our logical approach as a formal specification, we implemented a complete client-server image retrieval system, which allows a user to pose both queries by sketch and queries by example. A set of experiments has been carried out on a testbed of images to assess the retrieval capabilities of the system in comparison with expert users ranking. Results are presented adopting a well-established measure of quality borrowed from textual information retrieval.