We address the problem of detecting anomalies in images, specifically that of detecting regions characterized by structures that do not conform those of normal images. In the proposed approach we exploit convolutional sparse models to learn a dictionary of filters from a training set of normal images. These filters capture the structure of normal images and are leveraged to quantitatively assess whether regions of a test image are normal or anomalous. Each test image is at first encoded with respect to the learned dictionary, yielding sparse coefficient maps, and then analyzed by computing indicator vectors that assess the conformance of local image regions with the learned filters. Anomalies are then detected by identifying outliers in these indicators.
Our experiments demonstrate that a convolutional sparse model provides better anomaly-detection performance than an equivalent method based on standard patch-based sparsity. Most importantly, our results highlight that monitoring the local group sparsity, namely the spread of nonzero coefficients across different maps, is essential for detecting anomalous regions.