Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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State Estimation and Smoothing for the Probability Hypothesis Density Filter

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posted on 2023-03-14, 23:27 authored by Hernandez, Sergio I.

Tracking multiple objects is a challenging problem for an automated system, with applications in many domains. Typically the system must be able to represent the posterior distribution of the state of the targets, using a recursive algorithm that takes information from noisy measurements. However, in many important cases the number of targets is also unknown, and has also to be estimated from data. The Probability Hypothesis Density (PHD) filter is an effective approach for this problem. The method uses a first-order moment approximation to develop a recursive algorithm for the optimal Bayesian filter. The PHD recursion can implemented in closed form in some restricted cases, and more generally using Sequential Monte Carlo (SMC) methods. The assumptions made in the PHD filter are appealing for computational reasons in real-time tracking implementations. These are only justifiable when the signal to noise ratio (SNR) of a single target is high enough that remediates the loss of information from the approximation. Although the original derivation of the PHD filter is based on functional expansions of belief-mass functions, it can also be developed by exploiting elementary constructions of Poisson processes. This thesis presents novel strategies for improving the Sequential Monte Carlo implementation of PHD filter using the point process approach. Firstly, we propose a post-processing state estimation step for the PHD filter, using Markov Chain Monte Carlo methods for mixture models. Secondly, we develop recursive Bayesian smoothing algorithms using the approximations of the filter backwards in time. The purpose of both strategies is to overcome the problems arising from the PHD filter assumptions. As a motivating example, we analyze the performance of the methods for the difficult problem of person tracking in crowded environments


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Computer Science

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Doctoral Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Engineering and Computer Science


Teal, Paul; Frean, Marcus