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2019


Decoding subcategories of human bodies from both body- and face-responsive cortical regions
Decoding subcategories of human bodies from both body- and face-responsive cortical regions

Foster, C., Zhao, M., Romero, J., Black, M. J., Mohler, B. J., Bartels, A., Bülthoff, I.

NeuroImage, 202(15):116085, November 2019 (article)

Abstract
Our visual system can easily categorize objects (e.g. faces vs. bodies) and further differentiate them into subcategories (e.g. male vs. female). This ability is particularly important for objects of social significance, such as human faces and bodies. While many studies have demonstrated category selectivity to faces and bodies in the brain, how subcategories of faces and bodies are represented remains unclear. Here, we investigated how the brain encodes two prominent subcategories shared by both faces and bodies, sex and weight, and whether neural responses to these subcategories rely on low-level visual, high-level visual or semantic similarity. We recorded brain activity with fMRI while participants viewed faces and bodies that varied in sex, weight, and image size. The results showed that the sex of bodies can be decoded from both body- and face-responsive brain areas, with the former exhibiting more consistent size-invariant decoding than the latter. Body weight could also be decoded in face-responsive areas and in distributed body-responsive areas, and this decoding was also invariant to image size. The weight of faces could be decoded from the fusiform body area (FBA), and weight could be decoded across face and body stimuli in the extrastriate body area (EBA) and a distributed body-responsive area. The sex of well-controlled faces (e.g. excluding hairstyles) could not be decoded from face- or body-responsive regions. These results demonstrate that both face- and body-responsive brain regions encode information that can distinguish the sex and weight of bodies. Moreover, the neural patterns corresponding to sex and weight were invariant to image size and could sometimes generalize across face and body stimuli, suggesting that such subcategorical information is encoded with a high-level visual or semantic code.

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paper pdf DOI [BibTex]

2019


paper pdf DOI [BibTex]


AirCap -- Aerial Outdoor Motion Capture
AirCap – Aerial Outdoor Motion Capture

Ahmad, A., Price, E., Tallamraju, R., Saini, N., Lawless, G., Ludwig, R., Martinovic, I., Bülthoff, H. H., Black, M. J.

IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2019), Workshop on Aerial Swarms, November 2019 (misc)

Abstract
This paper presents an overview of the Grassroots project Aerial Outdoor Motion Capture (AirCap) running at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems. AirCap's goal is to achieve markerless, unconstrained, human motion capture (mocap) in unknown and unstructured outdoor environments. To that end, we have developed an autonomous flying motion capture system using a team of aerial vehicles (MAVs) with only on-board, monocular RGB cameras. We have conducted several real robot experiments involving up to 3 aerial vehicles autonomously tracking and following a person in several challenging scenarios using our approach of active cooperative perception developed in AirCap. Using the images captured by these robots during the experiments, we have demonstrated a successful offline body pose and shape estimation with sufficiently high accuracy. Overall, we have demonstrated the first fully autonomous flying motion capture system involving multiple robots for outdoor scenarios.

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Talk slides Project Page Project Page [BibTex]

Talk slides Project Page Project Page [BibTex]


Active Perception based Formation Control for Multiple Aerial Vehicles
Active Perception based Formation Control for Multiple Aerial Vehicles

Tallamraju, R., Price, E., Ludwig, R., Karlapalem, K., Bülthoff, H. H., Black, M. J., Ahmad, A.

IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, Robotics and Automation Letters, 4(4):4491-4498, IEEE, October 2019 (article)

Abstract
We present a novel robotic front-end for autonomous aerial motion-capture (mocap) in outdoor environments. In previous work, we presented an approach for cooperative detection and tracking (CDT) of a subject using multiple micro-aerial vehicles (MAVs). However, it did not ensure optimal view-point configurations of the MAVs to minimize the uncertainty in the person's cooperatively tracked 3D position estimate. In this article, we introduce an active approach for CDT. In contrast to cooperatively tracking only the 3D positions of the person, the MAVs can actively compute optimal local motion plans, resulting in optimal view-point configurations, which minimize the uncertainty in the tracked estimate. We achieve this by decoupling the goal of active tracking into a quadratic objective and non-convex constraints corresponding to angular configurations of the MAVs w.r.t. the person. We derive this decoupling using Gaussian observation model assumptions within the CDT algorithm. We preserve convexity in optimization by embedding all the non-convex constraints, including those for dynamic obstacle avoidance, as external control inputs in the MPC dynamics. Multiple real robot experiments and comparisons involving 3 MAVs in several challenging scenarios are presented.

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pdf DOI Project Page [BibTex]

pdf DOI Project Page [BibTex]


Method for providing a three dimensional body model
Method for providing a three dimensional body model

Loper, M., Mahmood, N., Black, M.

September 2019, U.S.~Patent 10,417,818 (misc)

Abstract
A method for providing a three-dimensional body model which may be applied for an animation, based on a moving body, wherein the method comprises providing a parametric three-dimensional body model, which allows shape and pose variations; applying a standard set of body markers; optimizing the set of body markers by generating an additional set of body markers and applying the same for providing 3D coordinate marker signals for capturing shape and pose of the body and dynamics of soft tissue; and automatically providing an animation by processing the 3D coordinate marker signals in order to provide a personalized three-dimensional body model, based on estimated shape and an estimated pose of the body by means of predicted marker locations.

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MoSh Project pdf [BibTex]


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Convolutional neural networks: A magic bullet for gravitational-wave detection?

Gebhard, T., Kilbertus, N., Harry, I., Schölkopf, B.

Physical Review D, 100(6):063015, American Physical Society, September 2019 (article)

ei

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


3D Morphable Face Models - Past, Present and Future
3D Morphable Face Models - Past, Present and Future

Egger, B., Smith, W. A. P., Tewari, A., Wuhrer, S., Zollhoefer, M., Beeler, T., Bernard, F., Bolkart, T., Kortylewski, A., Romdhani, S., Theobalt, C., Blanz, V., Vetter, T.

arxiv preprint arXiv:1909.01815, September 2019 (article)

Abstract
In this paper, we provide a detailed survey of 3D Morphable Face Models over the 20 years since they were first proposed. The challenges in building and applying these models, namely capture, modeling, image formation,and image analysis, are still active research topics, and we review the state-of-the-art in each of these areas. We also look ahead, identifying unsolved challenges, proposing directions for future research and highlighting the broad range of current and future applications.

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paper project page [BibTex]

paper project page [BibTex]


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Data scarcity, robustness and extreme multi-label classification

Babbar, R., Schölkopf, B.

Machine Learning, 108(8):1329-1351, September 2019, Special Issue of the ECML PKDD 2019 Journal Track (article)

ei

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


Learning and Tracking the {3D} Body Shape of Freely Moving Infants from {RGB-D} sequences
Learning and Tracking the 3D Body Shape of Freely Moving Infants from RGB-D sequences

Hesse, N., Pujades, S., Black, M., Arens, M., Hofmann, U., Schroeder, S.

Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence (TPAMI), 2019 (article)

Abstract
Statistical models of the human body surface are generally learned from thousands of high-quality 3D scans in predefined poses to cover the wide variety of human body shapes and articulations. Acquisition of such data requires expensive equipment, calibration procedures, and is limited to cooperative subjects who can understand and follow instructions, such as adults. We present a method for learning a statistical 3D Skinned Multi-Infant Linear body model (SMIL) from incomplete, low-quality RGB-D sequences of freely moving infants. Quantitative experiments show that SMIL faithfully represents the RGB-D data and properly factorizes the shape and pose of the infants. To demonstrate the applicability of SMIL, we fit the model to RGB-D sequences of freely moving infants and show, with a case study, that our method captures enough motion detail for General Movements Assessment (GMA), a method used in clinical practice for early detection of neurodevelopmental disorders in infants. SMIL provides a new tool for analyzing infant shape and movement and is a step towards an automated system for GMA.

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pdf Journal DOI [BibTex]

pdf Journal DOI [BibTex]


 Perceptual Effects of Inconsistency in Human Animations
Perceptual Effects of Inconsistency in Human Animations

Kenny, S., Mahmood, N., Honda, C., Black, M. J., Troje, N. F.

ACM Trans. Appl. Percept., 16(1):2:1-2:18, Febuary 2019 (article)

Abstract
The individual shape of the human body, including the geometry of its articulated structure and the distribution of weight over that structure, influences the kinematics of a person’s movements. How sensitive is the visual system to inconsistencies between shape and motion introduced by retargeting motion from one person onto the shape of another? We used optical motion capture to record five pairs of male performers with large differences in body weight, while they pushed, lifted, and threw objects. From these data, we estimated both the kinematics of the actions as well as the performer’s individual body shape. To obtain consistent and inconsistent stimuli, we created animated avatars by combining the shape and motion estimates from either a single performer or from different performers. Using these stimuli we conducted three experiments in an immersive virtual reality environment. First, a group of participants detected which of two stimuli was inconsistent. Performance was very low, and results were only marginally significant. Next, a second group of participants rated perceived attractiveness, eeriness, and humanness of consistent and inconsistent stimuli, but these judgements of animation characteristics were not affected by consistency of the stimuli. Finally, a third group of participants rated properties of the objects rather than of the performers. Here, we found strong influences of shape-motion inconsistency on perceived weight and thrown distance of objects. This suggests that the visual system relies on its knowledge of shape and motion and that these components are assimilated into an altered perception of the action outcome. We propose that the visual system attempts to resist inconsistent interpretations of human animations. Actions involving object manipulations present an opportunity for the visual system to reinterpret the introduced inconsistencies as a change in the dynamics of an object rather than as an unexpected combination of body shape and body motion.

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publisher pdf DOI [BibTex]

publisher pdf DOI [BibTex]


Perceiving Systems (2016-2018)
Perceiving Systems (2016-2018)
Scientific Advisory Board Report, 2019 (misc)

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pdf [BibTex]

pdf [BibTex]


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A 32-channel multi-coil setup optimized for human brain shimming at 9.4T

Aghaeifar, A., Zhou, J., Heule, R., Tabibian, B., Schölkopf, B., Jia, F., Zaitsev, M., Scheffler, K.

Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, 2019, (Early View) (article)

ei

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


Multidimensional Contrast Limited Adaptive Histogram Equalization
Multidimensional Contrast Limited Adaptive Histogram Equalization

Stimper, V., Bauer, S., Ernstorfer, R., Schölkopf, B., Xian, R. P.

IEEE Access, 7, pages: 165437-165447, 2019 (article)

ei

arXiv link (url) DOI [BibTex]

arXiv link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Enhancing Human Learning via Spaced Repetition Optimization

Tabibian, B., Upadhyay, U., De, A., Zarezade, A., Schölkopf, B., Gomez Rodriguez, M.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2019, PNAS published ahead of print January 22, 2019 (article)

ei

DOI Project Page Project Page [BibTex]

DOI Project Page Project Page [BibTex]


Learning to Control Highly Accelerated Ballistic Movements on Muscular Robots
Learning to Control Highly Accelerated Ballistic Movements on Muscular Robots

Büchler, D., Calandra, R., Peters, J.

2019 (article) Submitted

Abstract
High-speed and high-acceleration movements are inherently hard to control. Applying learning to the control of such motions on anthropomorphic robot arms can improve the accuracy of the control but might damage the system. The inherent exploration of learning approaches can lead to instabilities and the robot reaching joint limits at high speeds. Having hardware that enables safe exploration of high-speed and high-acceleration movements is therefore desirable. To address this issue, we propose to use robots actuated by Pneumatic Artificial Muscles (PAMs). In this paper, we present a four degrees of freedom (DoFs) robot arm that reaches high joint angle accelerations of up to 28000 °/s^2 while avoiding dangerous joint limits thanks to the antagonistic actuation and limits on the air pressure ranges. With this robot arm, we are able to tune control parameters using Bayesian optimization directly on the hardware without additional safety considerations. The achieved tracking performance on a fast trajectory exceeds previous results on comparable PAM-driven robots. We also show that our system can be controlled well on slow trajectories with PID controllers due to careful construction considerations such as minimal bending of cables, lightweight kinematics and minimal contact between PAMs and PAMs with the links. Finally, we propose a novel technique to control the the co-contraction of antagonistic muscle pairs. Experimental results illustrate that choosing the optimal co-contraction level is vital to reach better tracking performance. Through the use of PAM-driven robots and learning, we do a small step towards the future development of robots capable of more human-like motions.

ei

Arxiv Video [BibTex]


The Virtual Caliper: Rapid Creation of Metrically Accurate Avatars from {3D} Measurements
The Virtual Caliper: Rapid Creation of Metrically Accurate Avatars from 3D Measurements

Pujades, S., Mohler, B., Thaler, A., Tesch, J., Mahmood, N., Hesse, N., Bülthoff, H. H., Black, M. J.

IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 25, pages: 1887,1897, IEEE, 2019 (article)

Abstract
Creating metrically accurate avatars is important for many applications such as virtual clothing try-on, ergonomics, medicine, immersive social media, telepresence, and gaming. Creating avatars that precisely represent a particular individual is challenging however, due to the need for expensive 3D scanners, privacy issues with photographs or videos, and difficulty in making accurate tailoring measurements. We overcome these challenges by creating “The Virtual Caliper”, which uses VR game controllers to make simple measurements. First, we establish what body measurements users can reliably make on their own body. We find several distance measurements to be good candidates and then verify that these are linearly related to 3D body shape as represented by the SMPL body model. The Virtual Caliper enables novice users to accurately measure themselves and create an avatar with their own body shape. We evaluate the metric accuracy relative to ground truth 3D body scan data, compare the method quantitatively to other avatar creation tools, and perform extensive perceptual studies. We also provide a software application to the community that enables novices to rapidly create avatars in fewer than five minutes. Not only is our approach more rapid than existing methods, it exports a metrically accurate 3D avatar model that is rigged and skinned.

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Project Page IEEE Open Access IEEE Open Access PDF DOI [BibTex]

Project Page IEEE Open Access IEEE Open Access PDF DOI [BibTex]


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Inferring causation from time series with perspectives in Earth system sciences

Runge, J., Bathiany, S., Bollt, E., Camps-Valls, G., Coumou, D., Deyle, E., Glymour, C., Kretschmer, M., Mahecha, M., van Nes, E., Peters, J., Quax, R., Reichstein, M., Scheffer, M. S. B., Spirtes, P., Sugihara, G., Sun, J., Zhang, K., Zscheischler, J.

Nature Communications, 2019 (article) In revision

ei

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Quantum mean embedding of probability distributions

Kübler, J. M., Muandet, K., Schölkopf, B.

Physical Review Research, 1(3):033159, American Physical Society, 2019 (article)

ei

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Eigendecompositions of Transfer Operators in Reproducing Kernel Hilbert Spaces

Klus, S., Schuster, I., Muandet, K.

Journal of Nonlinear Science, 2019, First Online: 21 August 2019 (article)

ei

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]

2009


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Efficient Subwindow Search: A Branch and Bound Framework for Object Localization

Lampert, C., Blaschko, M., Hofmann, T.

IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, 31(12):2129-2142, December 2009 (article)

Abstract
Most successful object recognition systems rely on binary classification, deciding only if an object is present or not, but not providing information on the actual object location. To estimate the object‘s location, one can take a sliding window approach, but this strongly increases the computational cost because the classifier or similarity function has to be evaluated over a large set of candidate subwindows. In this paper, we propose a simple yet powerful branch and bound scheme that allows efficient maximization of a large class of quality functions over all possible subimages. It converges to a globally optimal solution typically in linear or even sublinear time, in contrast to the quadratic scaling of exhaustive or sliding window search. We show how our method is applicable to different object detection and image retrieval scenarios. The achieved speedup allows the use of classifiers for localization that formerly were considered too slow for this task, such as SVMs with a spatial pyramid kernel or nearest-neighbor classifiers based on the chi^2 distance. We demonstrate state-of-the-art localization performance of the resulting systems on the UIUC Cars data set, the PASCAL VOC 2006 data set, and in the PASCAL VOC 2007 competition.

ei

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]

2009


PDF Web DOI [BibTex]


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Generation of three-dimensional random rotations in fitting and matching problems

Habeck, M.

Computational Statistics, 24(4):719-731, December 2009 (article)

Abstract
An algorithm is developed to generate random rotations in three-dimensional space that follow a probability distribution arising in fitting and matching problems. The rotation matrices are orthogonally transformed into an optimal basis and then parameterized using Euler angles. The conditional distributions of the three Euler angles have a very simple form: the two azimuthal angles can be decoupled by sampling their sum and difference from a von Mises distribution; the cosine of the polar angle is exponentially distributed and thus straighforward to generate. Simulation results are shown and demonstrate the effectiveness of the method. The algorithm is compared to other methods for generating random rotations such as a random walk Metropolis scheme and a Gibbs sampling algorithm recently introduced by Green and Mardia. Finally, the algorithm is applied to a probabilistic version of the Procrustes problem of fitting two point sets and applied in the context of protein structure superposition.

ei

PDF DOI [BibTex]

PDF DOI [BibTex]


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Adaptive Importance Sampling for Value Function Approximation in Off-policy Reinforcement Learning

Hachiya, H., Akiyama, T., Sugiyama, M., Peters, J.

Neural Networks, 22(10):1399-1410, December 2009 (article)

Abstract
Off-policy reinforcement learning is aimed at efficiently using data samples gathered from a policy that is different from the currently optimized policy. A common approach is to use importance sampling techniques for compensating for the bias of value function estimators caused by the difference between the data-sampling policy and the target policy. However, existing off-policy methods often do not take the variance of the value function estimators explicitly into account and therefore their performance tends to be unstable. To cope with this problem, we propose using an adaptive importance sampling technique which allows us to actively control the trade-off between bias and variance. We further provide a method for optimally determining the trade-off parameter based on a variant of cross-validation. We demonstrate the usefulness of the proposed approach through simulations.

ei

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]


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Guest editorial: special issue on structured prediction

Parker, C., Altun, Y., Tadepalli, P.

Machine Learning, 77(2-3):161-164, December 2009 (article)

ei

PDF DOI [BibTex]

PDF DOI [BibTex]


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Structured prediction by joint kernel support estimation

Lampert, CH., Blaschko, MB.

Machine Learning, 77(2-3):249-269, December 2009 (article)

ei

PDF DOI [BibTex]

PDF DOI [BibTex]


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A note on ethical aspects of BCI

Haselager, P., Vlek, R., Hill, J., Nijboer, F.

Neural Networks, 22(9):1352-1357, November 2009 (article)

Abstract
This paper focuses on ethical aspects of BCI, as a research and a clinical tool, that are challenging for practitioners currently working in the field. Specifically, the difficulties involved in acquiring informed consent from locked-in patients are investigated, in combination with an analysis of the shared moral responsibility in BCI teams, and the complications encountered in establishing effective communication with media.

ei

Web DOI [BibTex]

Web DOI [BibTex]


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Model Learning with Local Gaussian Process Regression

Nguyen-Tuong, D., Seeger, M., Peters, J.

Advanced Robotics, 23(15):2015-2034, November 2009 (article)

Abstract
Precise models of robot inverse dynamics allow the design of significantly more accurate, energy-efficient and compliant robot control. However, in some cases the accuracy of rigid-body models does not suffice for sound control performance due to unmodeled nonlinearities arising from hydraulic cable dynamics, complex friction or actuator dynamics. In such cases, estimating the inverse dynamics model from measured data poses an interesting alternative. Nonparametric regression methods, such as Gaussian process regression (GPR) or locally weighted projection regression (LWPR), are not as restrictive as parametric models and, thus, offer a more flexible framework for approximating unknown nonlinearities. In this paper, we propose a local approximation to the standard GPR, called local GPR (LGP), for real-time model online learning by combining the strengths of both regression methods, i.e., the high accuracy of GPR and the fast speed of LWPR. The approach is shown to have competitive learning performance for hig h-dimensional data while being sufficiently fast for real-time learning. The effectiveness of LGP is exhibited by a comparison with the state-of-the-art regression techniques, such as GPR, LWPR and ν-support vector regression. The applicability of the proposed LGP method is demonstrated by real-time online learning of the inverse dynamics model for robot model-based control on a Barrett WAM robot arm.

ei

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]


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Methods for feature selection in a learning machine

Weston, J., Elisseeff, A., Schölkopf, B., Pérez-Cruz, F.

United States Patent, No 7624074, November 2009 (patent)

ei

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Inferring textual entailment with a probabilistically sound calculus

Harmeling, S.

Natural Language Engineering, 15(4):459-477, October 2009 (article)

Abstract
We introduce a system for textual entailment that is based on a probabilistic model of entailment. The model is defined using a calculus of transformations on dependency trees, which is characterized by the fact that derivations in that calculus preserve the truth only with a certain probability. The calculus is successfully evaluated on the datasets of the PASCAL Challenge on Recognizing Textual Entailment.

ei

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]


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Modeling and Visualizing Uncertainty in Gene Expression Clusters using Dirichlet Process Mixtures

Rasmussen, CE., de la Cruz, BJ., Ghahramani, Z., Wild, DL.

IEEE/ACM Transactions on Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, 6(4):615-628, October 2009 (article)

Abstract
Although the use of clustering methods has rapidly become one of the standard computational approaches in the literature of microarray gene expression data, little attention has been paid to uncertainty in the results obtained. Dirichlet process mixture models provide a non-parametric Bayesian alternative to the bootstrap approach to modeling uncertainty in gene expression clustering. Most previously published applications of Bayesian model based clustering methods have been to short time series data. In this paper we present a case study of the application of non-parametric Bayesian clustering methods to the clustering of high-dimensional non-time series gene expression data using full Gaussian covariances. We use the probability that two genes belong to the same cluster in a Dirichlet process mixture model as a measure of the similarity of these gene expression profiles. Conversely, this probability can be used to define a dissimilarity measure, which, for the purposes of visualization, can be input to one of the standard linkage algorithms used for hierarchical clustering. Biologically plausible results are obtained from the Rosetta compendium of expression profiles which extend previously published cluster analyses of this data.

ei

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]


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Thermodynamic efficiency of information and heat flow

Allahverdyan, A., Janzing, D., Mahler, G.

Journal of Statistical Mechanics: Theory and Experiment, 2009(09):P09011, September 2009 (article)

Abstract
A basic task of information processing is information transfer (flow). P0 Here we study a pair of Brownian particles each coupled to a thermal bath at temperatures T1 and T2 . The information flow in such a system is defined via the time-shifted mutual information. The information flow nullifies at equilibrium, and its efficiency is defined as the ratio of the flow to the total entropy production in the system. For a stationary state the information flows from higher to lower temperatures, and its efficiency is bounded from above by (max[T1 , T2 ])/(|T1 − T2 |). This upper bound is imposed by the second law and it quantifies the thermodynamic cost for information flow in the present class of systems. It can be reached in the adiabatic situation, where the particles have widely different characteristic times. The efficiency of heat flow—defined as the heat flow over the total amount of dissipated heat—is limited from above by the same factor. There is a complementarity between heat and information flow: the set-up which is most efficient for the former is the least efficient for the latter and vice versa. The above bound for the efficiency can be (transiently) overcome in certain non-stationary situations, but the efficiency is still limited from above. We study yet another measure of information processing (transfer entropy) proposed in the literature. Though this measure does not require any thermodynamic cost, the information flow and transfer entropy are shown to be intimately related for stationary states.

ei

PDF DOI [BibTex]

PDF DOI [BibTex]


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Does Cognitive Science Need Kernels?

Jäkel, F., Schölkopf, B., Wichmann, F.

Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 13(9):381-388, September 2009 (article)

Abstract
Kernel methods are among the most successful tools in machine learning and are used in challenging data analysis problems in many disciplines. Here we provide examples where kernel methods have proven to be powerful tools for analyzing behavioral data, especially for identifying features in categorization experiments. We also demonstrate that kernel methods relate to perceptrons and exemplar models of categorization. Hence, we argue that kernel methods have neural and psychological plausibility, and theoretical results concerning their behavior are therefore potentially relevant for human category learning. In particular, we believe kernel methods have the potential to provide explanations ranging from the implementational via the algorithmic to the computational level.

ei

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]


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Inference algorithms and learning theory for Bayesian sparse factor analysis

Rattray, M., Stegle, O., Sharp, K., Winn, J.

Journal of Physics: Conference Series , IW-SMI 2009, 197(1: International Workshop on Statistical-Mechanical Informatics 2009):1-10, (Editors: Inoue, M. , S. Ishii, Y. Kabashima, M. Okada), Institute of Physics, Bristol, UK, International Workshop on Statistical-Mechanical Informatics (IW-SMI), September 2009 (article)

Abstract
Bayesian sparse factor analysis has many applications; for example, it has been applied to the problem of inferring a sparse regulatory network from gene expression data. We describe a number of inference algorithms for Bayesian sparse factor analysis using a slab and spike mixture prior. These include well-established Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) and variational Bayes (VB) algorithms as well as a novel hybrid of VB and Expectation Propagation (EP). For the case of a single latent factor we derive a theory for learning performance using the replica method. We compare the MCMC and VB/EP algorithm results with simulated data to the theoretical prediction. The results for MCMC agree closely with the theory as expected. Results for VB/EP are slightly sub-optimal but show that the new algorithm is effective for sparse inference. In large-scale problems MCMC is infeasible due to computational limitations and the VB/EP algorithm then provides a very useful computationally efficient alternative.

ei

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]


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Finite-time output stabilization with second order sliding modes

Dinuzzo, F., Ferrara, A.

Automatica, 45(9):2169-2171, September 2009 (article)

Abstract
In this note, a class of discontinuous feedback laws that switch over branches of parabolas in the auxiliary state plane is analyzed. Conditions are provided under which controllers belonging to this class are second order sliding-mode algorithms: they ensure uniform global finite-time output stability for uncertain systems of relative degree two.

ei

Web DOI [BibTex]

Web DOI [BibTex]


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Robot Learning

Peters, J., Morimoto, J., Tedrake, R., Roy, N.

IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine, 16(3):19-20, September 2009 (article)

Abstract
Creating autonomous robots that can learn to act in unpredictable environments has been a long-standing goal of robotics, artificial intelligence, and the cognitive sciences. In contrast, current commercially available industrial and service robots mostly execute fixed tasks and exhibit little adaptability. To bridge this gap, machine learning offers a myriad set of methods, some of which have already been applied with great success to robotics problems. As a result, there is an increasing interest in machine learning and statistics within the robotics community. At the same time, there has been a growth in the learning community in using robots as motivating applications for new algorithms and formalisms. Considerable evidence of this exists in the use of learning in high-profile competitions such as RoboCup and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) challenges, and the growing number of research programs funded by governments around the world.

ei

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]


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Higher order sliding mode controllers with optimal reaching

Dinuzzo, F., Ferrara, A.

IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, 54(9):2126-2136, September 2009 (article)

Abstract
Higher order sliding mode (HOSM) control design is considered for systems with a known permanent relative degree. In this paper, we introduce the robust Fuller's problem that is a robust generalization of the Fuller's problem, a standard optimal control problem for a chain of integrators with bounded control. By solving the robust Fuller's problem it is possible to obtain feedback laws that are HOSM algorithms of generic order and, in addition, provide optimal finite-time reaching of the sliding manifold. A common difficulty in the use of existing HOSM algorithms is the tuning of design parameters: our methodology proves useful for the tuning of HOSM controller parameters in order to assure desired performances and prevent instabilities. The convergence and stability properties of the proposed family of controllers are theoretically analyzed. Simulation evidence demonstrates their effectiveness.

ei

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Kernel Methods in Computer Vision

Lampert, CH.

Foundations and Trends in Computer Graphics and Vision, 4(3):193-285, September 2009 (article)

Abstract
Over the last years, kernel methods have established themselves as powerful tools for computer vision researchers as well as for practitioners. In this tutorial, we give an introduction to kernel methods in computer vision from a geometric perspective, introducing not only the ubiquitous support vector machines, but also less known techniques for regression, dimensionality reduction, outlier detection and clustering. Additionally, we give an outlook on very recent, non-classical techniques for the prediction of structure data, for the estimation of statistical dependency and for learning the kernel function itself. All methods are illustrated with examples of successful application from the recent computer vision research literature.

ei

Web DOI [BibTex]

Web DOI [BibTex]


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A Novel Approach to the Selection of Spatially Invariant Features for the Classification of Hyperspectral Images with Improved Generalization Capability

Bruzzone, L., Persello, C.

IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 47(9):3180-3191, September 2009 (article)

Abstract
This paper presents a novel approach to feature selection for the classification of hyperspectral images. The proposed approach aims at selecting a subset of the original set of features that exhibits at the same time high capability to discriminate among the considered classes and high invariance in the spatial domain of the investigated scene. This approach results in a more robust classification system with improved generalization properties with respect to standard feature-selection methods. The feature selection is accomplished by defining a multiobjective criterion function made up of two terms: (1) a term that measures the class separability and (2) a term that evaluates the spatial invariance of the selected features. In order to assess the spatial invariance of the feature subset, we propose both a supervised method (which assumes that training samples acquired in two or more spatially disjoint areas are available) and a semisupervised method (which requires only a standard training set acquired in a single area of the scene and takes advantage of unlabeled samples selected in portions of the scene spatially disjoint from the training set). The choice for the supervised or semisupervised method depends on the available reference data. The multiobjective problem is solved by an evolutionary algorithm that estimates the set of Pareto-optimal solutions. Experiments carried out on a hyperspectral image acquired by the Hyperion sensor on a complex area confirmed the effectiveness of the proposed approach.

ei

Web DOI [BibTex]


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Fast Kernel-Based Independent Component Analysis

Shen, H., Jegelka, S., Gretton, A.

IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing, 57(9):3498-3511, September 2009 (article)

Abstract
Recent approaches to independent component analysis (ICA) have used kernel independence measures to obtain highly accurate solutions, particularly where classical methods experience difficulty (for instance, sources with near-zero kurtosis). FastKICA (fast HSIC-based kernel ICA) is a new optimization method for one such kernel independence measure, the Hilbert-Schmidt Independence Criterion (HSIC). The high computational efficiency of this approach is achieved by combining geometric optimization techniques, specifically an approximate Newton-like method on the orthogonal group, with accurate estimates of the gradient and Hessian based on an incomplete Cholesky decomposition. In contrast to other efficient kernel-based ICA algorithms, FastKICA is applicable to any twice differentiable kernel function. Experimental results for problems with large numbers of sources and observations indicate that FastKICA provides more accurate solutions at a given cost than gradient descent on HSIC. Comparing with other recently published ICA methods, FastKICA is competitive in terms of accuracy, relatively insensitive to local minima when initialized far from independence, and more robust towards outliers. An analysis of the local convergence properties of FastKICA is provided.

ei

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]


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Qualia: The Geometry of Integrated Information

Balduzzi, D., Tononi, G.

PLoS Computational Biology, 5(8):1-24, August 2009 (article)

Abstract
According to the integrated information theory, the quantity of consciousness is the amount of integrated information generated by a complex of elements, and the quality of experience is specified by the informational relationships it generates. This paper outlines a framework for characterizing the informational relationships generated by such systems. Qualia space (Q) is a space having an axis for each possible state (activity pattern) of a complex. Within Q, each submechanism specifies a point corresponding to a repertoire of system states. Arrows between repertoires in Q define informational relationships. Together, these arrows specify a quale—a shape that completely and univocally characterizes the quality of a conscious experience. Φ— the height of this shape—is the quantity of consciousness associated with the experience. Entanglement measures how irreducible informational relationships are to their component relationships, specifying concepts and modes. Several corollaries follow from these premises. The quale is determined by both the mechanism and state of the system. Thus, two different systems having identical activity patterns may generate different qualia. Conversely, the same quale may be generated by two systems that differ in both activity and connectivity. Both active and inactive elements specify a quale, but elements that are inactivated do not. Also, the activation of an element affects experience by changing the shape of the quale. The subdivision of experience into modalities and submodalities corresponds to subshapes in Q. In principle, different aspects of experience may be classified as different shapes in Q, and the similarity between experiences reduces to similarities between shapes. Finally, specific qualities, such as the “redness” of red, while generated by a local mechanism, cannot be reduced to it, but require considering the entire quale. Ultimately, the present framework may offer a principled way for translating qualitative properties of experience into mathematics.

ei

Web DOI [BibTex]

Web DOI [BibTex]


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Guest editorial: Special issue on robot learning, Part B

Peters, J., Ng, A.

Autonomous Robots, 27(2):91-92, August 2009 (article)

ei

PDF PDF DOI [BibTex]

PDF PDF DOI [BibTex]


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Policy Search for Motor Primitives

Peters, J., Kober, J.

KI - Zeitschrift K{\"u}nstliche Intelligenz, 23(3):38-40, August 2009 (article)

Abstract
Many motor skills in humanoid robotics can be learned using parametrized motor primitives from demonstrations. However, most interesting motor learning problems require self-improvement often beyond the reach of current reinforcement learning methods due to the high dimensionality of the state-space. We develop an EM-inspired algorithm applicable to complex motor learning tasks. We compare this algorithm to several well-known parametrized policy search methods and show that it outperforms them. We apply it to motor learning problems and show that it can learn the complex Ball-in-a-Cup task using a real Barrett WAM robot arm.

ei

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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A neurophysiologically plausible population code model for human contrast discrimination

Goris, R., Wichmann, F., Henning, G.

Journal of Vision, 9(7):1-22, July 2009 (article)

Abstract
The pedestal effect is the improvement in the detectability of a sinusoidal grating in the presence of another grating of the same orientation, spatial frequency, and phase—usually called the pedestal. Recent evidence has demonstrated that the pedestal effect is differently modified by spectrally flat and notch-filtered noise: The pedestal effect is reduced in flat noise but virtually disappears in the presence of notched noise (G. B. Henning & F. A. Wichmann, 2007). Here we consider a network consisting of units whose contrast response functions resemble those of the cortical cells believed to underlie human pattern vision and demonstrate that, when the outputs of multiple units are combined by simple weighted summation—a heuristic decision rule that resembles optimal information combination and produces a contrast-dependent weighting profile—the network produces contrast-discrimination data consistent with psychophysical observations: The pedestal effect is present without noise, reduced in broadband noise, but almost disappears in notched noise. These findings follow naturally from the normalization model of simple cells in primary visual cortex, followed by response-based pooling, and suggest that in processing even low-contrast sinusoidal gratings, the visual system may combine information across neurons tuned to different spatial frequencies and orientations.

ei

Web DOI [BibTex]

Web DOI [BibTex]


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A Novel Context-Sensitive Semisupervised SVM Classifier Robust to Mislabeled Training Samples

Bruzzone, L., Persello, C.

IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 47(7):2142-2154, July 2009 (article)

Abstract
This paper presents a novel context-sensitive semisupervised support vector machine (CS4VM) classifier, which is aimed at addressing classification problems where the available training set is not fully reliable, i.e., some labeled samples may be associated to the wrong information class (mislabeled patterns). Unlike standard context-sensitive methods, the proposed CS4VM classifier exploits the contextual information of the pixels belonging to the neighborhood system of each training sample in the learning phase to improve the robustness to possible mislabeled training patterns. This is achieved according to both the design of a semisupervised procedure and the definition of a novel contextual term in the cost function associated with the learning of the classifier. In order to assess the effectiveness of the proposed CS4VM and to understand the impact of the addressed problem in real applications, we also present an extensive experimental analysis carried out on training sets that include different percentages of mislabeled patterns having different distributions on the classes. In the analysis, we also study the robustness to mislabeled training patterns of some widely used supervised and semisupervised classification algorithms (i.e., conventional support vector machine (SVM), progressive semisupervised SVM, maximum likelihood, and k-nearest neighbor). Results obtained on a very high resolution image and on a medium resolution image confirm both the robustness and the effectiveness of the proposed CS4VM with respect to standard classification algorithms and allow us to derive interesting conclusions on the effects of mislabeled patterns on different classifiers.

ei

Web DOI [BibTex]

Web DOI [BibTex]


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Falsificationism and Statistical Learning Theory: Comparing the Popper and Vapnik-Chervonenkis Dimensions

Corfield, D., Schölkopf, B., Vapnik, V.

Journal for General Philosophy of Science, 40(1):51-58, July 2009 (article)

Abstract
We compare Karl Popper’s ideas concerning the falsifiability of a theory with similar notions from the part of statistical learning theory known as VC-theory. Popper’s notion of the dimension of a theory is contrasted with the apparently very similar VC-dimension. Having located some divergences, we discuss how best to view Popper’s work from the perspective of statistical learning theory, either as a precursor or as aiming to capture a different learning activity.

ei

PDF DOI [BibTex]

PDF DOI [BibTex]


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Guest editorial: Special issue on robot learning, Part A

Peters, J., Ng, A.

Autonomous Robots, 27(1):1-2, July 2009 (article)

ei

PDF PDF DOI [BibTex]

PDF PDF DOI [BibTex]


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A Geometric Approach to Confidence Sets for Ratios: Fieller’s Theorem, Generalizations, and Bootstrap

von Luxburg, U., Franz, V.

Statistica Sinica, 19(3):1095-1117, July 2009 (article)

Abstract
We present a geometric method to determine confidence sets for the ratio E(Y)/E(X) of the means of random variables X and Y. This method reduces the problem of constructing confidence sets for the ratio of two random variables to the problem of constructing confidence sets for the means of one-dimensional random variables. It is valid in a large variety of circumstances. In the case of normally distributed random variables, the so constructed confidence sets coincide with the standard Fieller confidence sets. Generalizations of our construction lead to definitions of exact and conservative confidence sets for very general classes of distributions, provided the joint expectation of (X,Y) exists and the linear combinations of the form aX + bY are well-behaved. Finally, our geometric method allows to derive a very simple bootstrap approach for constructing conservative confidence sets for ratios which perform favorably in certain situations, in particular in the asymmetric heavy-tailed regime.

ei

PDF PDF Web [BibTex]