A Practical Parallel Architecture for Stacks Filters

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Stack filters belong to the class of non-linear filters and include the well-known median filter, weighted median filters, order statistic filters and weighted order statistic filters. Any stack filter can be implemented by using the parallel threshold decomposition architecture which allows implementing their non-linear processing by means of a collection of identical binary filters (Boolean logic circuits). Although it is conceptually simple and useful to study the filter properties, this architecture is not practical for direct hardware implementation because as many as (M − 1) binary filters are required for a M-valued input signal and M is large in many applications.In this paper we introduce a new parallel architecture for stack filter implementations. The complexity is now proportional to the window width L of the filter, instead of to M. In most applications L is much smaller than M which translates into efficient hardware implementations. The attractive characteristic of ease of design exhibited by the threshold decomposition architecture is kept. In fact, for a given stack filter both in the conventional implementation and in the proposed one, the same binary filter is required. The key concept supporting the new architecture is a modified decomposition scheme which generates L binary signals for a multi-valued input. As an application example, a complex WOS filter is designed and prototyped in an FPGA.

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