Maximum likelihood fitting of FROC curves under an initial-detection-and-candidate-analysis model

Darrin C. Edwards, Matthew A. Kupinski, Charles E. Metz, Robert M. Nishikawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


We have developed a model for FROC curve fitting that relates the observer's FROC performance not to the ROC performance that would be obtained if the observer's responses were scored on a per image basis, but rather to a hypothesized ROC performance that the observer would obtain in the task of classifying a set of "candidate detections" as positive or negative. We adopt the assumptions of the Bunch FROC model, namely that the observer's detections are all mutually independent, as well as assumptions qualitatively similar to, but different in nature from, those made by Chakraborty in his AFROC scoring methodology. Under the assumptions of our model, we show that the observer's FROC performance is a linearly scaled version of the candidate analysis ROC curve, where the scaling factors are just given by the FROC operating point coordinates for detecting initial candidates. Further, we show that the likelihood function of the model parameters given observational data takes on a simple form, and we develop a maximum likelihood method for fitting a FROC curve to this data. FROC and AFROC curves are produced for computer vision observer datasets and compared with the results of the AFROC scoring method. Although developed primarily with computer vision schemes in mind, we hope that the methodology presented here will prove worthy of further study in other applications as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2861-2870
Number of pages10
JournalMedical physics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002


  • Curve fitting
  • FROC
  • Maximum likelihood
  • ROC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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