IQM: An Extensible and Portable Open Source Application for Image and Signal Analysis in Java
Image and signal analysis applications are substantial in scientific research. Both open source and commercial packages provide a wide range of functions for image and signal analysis, which are sometimes supported very well by the communities in the corresponding fields. Commercial software packages have the major drawback of being expensive and having undisclosed source code, which hampers extending the functionality if there is no plugin interface or similar option available. However, both variants cannot cover all possible use cases and sometimes custom developments are unavoidable, requiring open source applications. In this paper we describe IQM, a completely free, portable and open source (GNU GPLv3) image and signal analysis application written in pure Java. IQM does not depend on any natively installed libraries and is therefore runnable out-of-the-box. Currently, a continuously growing repertoire of 50 image and 16 signal analysis algorithms is provided. The modular functional architecture based on the three-tier model is described along the most important functionality. Extensibility is achieved using operator plugins, and the development of more complex workflows is provided by a Groovy script interface to the JVM. We demonstrate IQM’s image and signal processing capabilities in a proof-of-principle analysis and provide example implementations to illustrate the plugin framework and the scripting interface. IQM integrates with the popular ImageJ image processing software and is aiming at complementing functionality rather than competing with existing open source software. Machine learning can be integrated into more complex algorithms via the WEKA software package as well, enabling the development of transparent and robust methods for image and signal analysis.