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OpenCV Logo with text svg version.svg
Original author(s)Intel Corporation, Willow Garage, Itseez
Initial releaseJune 2000; 18 years ago (2000-06)
Stable release
4.0.1 / 22 December 2018; 3 months ago (2018-12-22)
Repository Edit this at Wikidata
Written inC/C++
Operating systemCross-platform
Size~200 MB
LicenseBSD license

OpenCV (Open source computer vision) is a library of programming functions mainly aimed at real-time computer vision.[1] Originally developed by Intel,[2] it was later supported by Willow Garage then Itseez (which was later acquired by Intel[3]). The library is cross-platform and free for use under the open-source BSD license.

OpenCV supports the deep learning frameworks TensorFlow, Torch/PyTorch and Caffe.[4]


Officially launched in 1999, the OpenCV project was initially an Intel Research initiative to advance CPU-intensive applications, part of a series of projects including real-time ray tracing and 3D display walls.[5] The main contributors to the project included a number of optimization experts in Intel Russia, as well as Intel's Performance Library Team. In the early days of OpenCV, the goals of the project were described[6] as:

  • Advance vision research by providing not only open but also optimized code for basic vision infrastructure. No more reinventing the wheel.
  • Disseminate vision knowledge by providing a common infrastructure that developers could build on, so that code would be more readily readable and transferable.
  • Advance vision-based commercial applications by making portable, performance-optimized code available for free – with a license that did not require code to be open or free itself.

The first alpha version of OpenCV was released to the public at the IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition in 2000, and five betas were released between 2001 and 2005. The first 1.0 version was released in 2006. A version 1.1 "pre-release" was released in October 2008.

The second major release of the OpenCV was in October 2009. OpenCV 2 includes major changes to the C++ interface, aiming at easier, more type-safe patterns, new functions, and better implementations for existing ones in terms of performance (especially on multi-core systems). Official releases now occur every six months[7] and development is now done by an independent Russian team supported by commercial corporations.

In August 2012, support for OpenCV was taken over by a non-profit foundation, which maintains a developer[8] and user site.[9]

On May 2016, Intel signed an agreement to acquire Itseez,[10] a leading developer of OpenCV.[11]


openFrameworks running the OpenCV add-on example

OpenCV's application areas include:

To support some of the above areas, OpenCV includes a statistical machine learning library that contains:

Programming language[edit]

OpenCV is written in C++ and its primary interface is in C++, but it still retains a less comprehensive though extensive older C interface. There are bindings in Python, Java and MATLAB/OCTAVE. The API for these interfaces can be found in the online documentation.[13] Wrappers in other languages such as C#, Perl,[14] Ch,[15] Haskell,[16] and Ruby have been developed to encourage adoption by a wider audience.

Since version 3.4, OpenCV.js is a JavaScript binding for selected subset of OpenCV functions for the web platform. [17]

All of the new developments and algorithms in OpenCV are now developed in the C++ interface.

Hardware acceleration[edit]

If the library finds Intel's Integrated Performance Primitives on the system, it will use these proprietary optimized routines to accelerate itself.

A CUDA-based GPU interface has been in progress since September 2010.[18]

An OpenCL-based GPU interface has been in progress since October 2012,[19] documentation for version can be found at[20]

OS support[edit]

OpenCV runs on the following desktop operating systems: Windows, Linux, macOS, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD. OpenCV runs on the following mobile operating systems: Android, iOS, Maemo,[21] BlackBerry 10.[22] The user can get official releases from SourceForge or take the latest sources from GitHub.[23] OpenCV uses CMake.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pulli, Kari; Baksheev, Anatoly; Kornyakov, Kirill; Eruhimov, Victor (1 April 2012). "Realtime Computer Vision with OpenCV". Queue. pp. 40:40–40:56. doi:10.1145/2181796.2206309.
  2. ^ Taheri, Sajjad (2018-05-31). "Computer Vision for the Masses: Bringing Computer Vision to the Open Web Platform". eeTimes. Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  3. ^ Intel acquires Itseez:
  4. ^
  5. ^ Adrian Kaehler; Gary Bradski (14 December 2016). Learning OpenCV 3: Computer Vision in C++ with the OpenCV Library. O'Reilly Media. pp. 26ff. ISBN 978-1-4919-3800-3.
  6. ^ Bradski, Gary; Kaehler, Adrian (2008). Learning OpenCV: Computer vision with the OpenCV library. O'Reilly Media, Inc. p. 6.
  7. ^ OpenCV change logs:
  8. ^ OpenCV Developer Site:
  9. ^ OpenCV User Site:
  10. ^ "Intel Acquires Computer Vision for IOT, Automotive | Intel Newsroom". Intel Newsroom. Retrieved 2018-11-26.
  11. ^ "Intel acquires Russian computer vision company Itseez". East-West Digital News. 2016-05-31. Retrieved 2018-11-26.
  12. ^ OpenCV:
  13. ^ OpenCV C interface:
  14. ^ CPAN:
  15. ^ Ch OpenCV:
  16. ^ The haskell-opencv project on Github:
  17. ^ Introduction to OpenCV.js and Tutorials
  18. ^ Cuda GPU port:
  19. ^ OpenCL Announcement:
  20. ^ OpenCL-accelerated Computer Vision API Reference:
  21. ^ Maemo port:
  22. ^ BlackBerry 10 (partial port):
  23. ^