The quality of an image affects its utility and image quality assessment has been a hot research topic for many years. One widely used measure for image quality assessment is Shannon entropy, which has a well-established information-theoretic basis. The value of this entropy can be interpreted as the amount of information. However, Shannon entropy is badly adapted to information measurement in images, because it captures only the compositional information of an image and ignores the configurational aspect. To fix this problem, improved Shannon entropies have been actively proposed in the last few decades, but a thorough evaluation of their performance is still lacking. This study presents such an evaluation, involving twenty-three improved Shannon entropies based on various tools such as gray-level co-occurrence matrices and local binary patterns. For the evaluation, we proposed: (a) a strategy to generate testing (gray-level) images by simulating the mixing of ideal gases in thermodynamics; (b) three criteria consisting of validity, reliability, and ability to capture configurational disorder; and (c) three measures to assess the fulfillment of each criterion. The evaluation results show only the improved entropies based on local binary patterns are invalid for use in quantifying the configurational information of images, and the best variant of Shannon entropy in terms of reliability and ability is the one based on the average distance between same/different-value pixels. These conclusions are theoretically important in setting a direction for the future research on improving entropy and are practically useful in selecting an effective entropy for various image processing applications.
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