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Finding the centerline and estimating the radius of linear structures is a critical first step in many applications, ranging from road delineation in 2D aerial images to modeling blood vessels, lung bronchi, and dendritic arbors in 3D biomedical image stacks. Existing techniques rely either on filters designed to respond to ideal cylindrical structures or on classification techniques. The former tend to become unreliable when the linear structures are very irregular while the latter often has difficulties distinguishing centerline locations from neighboring ones, thus losing accuracy. We solve this problem by reformulating centerline detection in terms of a \emph{regression} problem. We first train regressors to return the distances to the closest centerline in scale-space, and we apply them to the input images or volumes. The centerlines and the corresponding scale then correspond to the regressors local maxima, which can be easily identified. We show that our method outperforms state-of-the-art techniques for various 2D and 3D datasets. Moreover, our approach is very generic and also performs well on contour detection. We show an improvement above recent contour detection algorithms on the BSDS500 dataset.