Sparse Coding Analysis
Some Yankee boffins in Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, reckon they've devised a way of telling genuine art from fakes. It's called Sparse Coding Analysis. First they digitize all the artist's known works. Then they get their computer to chop each artwork into 144 pieces (a 12 x 12 grid as shown). Next their computer generates a set of 144 random elements which are the same size as the 144 known pieces. Each of these random elements is then manipulated until some combination of them can recreate each piece from the original artwork. Are you with me so far? Next these random elements are refined until as few of them as possible can recreate the pieces from the original artwork. (That's the "sparse coding" bit.) Then a fake is tested against these refined pieces. If they cannot recreate the fake, this shows it's a fake. The boffins claim to have succeeded in detecting fake engravings purporting to be by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (note the lines in the graphic). I think they're on a sticky wicket here. Although Brueghel designed many engravings and etchings, he etched only one plate himself: The Rabbit Hunt (CLICK). So, Bruegel's designs were executed by other artists. Analysing his scratch marks doesn't prove a thing. And wait till they tackle the subtleties of painting! Oh well, it gets them a research grant, I suppose.