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2019


Soft-magnetic coatings as possible sensors for magnetic imaging of superconductors
Soft-magnetic coatings as possible sensors for magnetic imaging of superconductors

Ionescu, A., Simmendinger, J., Bihler, M., Miksch, C., Fischer, P., Soltan, S., Schütz, G., Albrecht, J.

Supercond. Sci. and Tech., 33, pages: 015002, IOP, December 2019 (article)

Abstract
Magnetic imaging of superconductors typically requires a soft-magnetic material placed on top of the superconductor to probe local magnetic fields. For reasonable results the influence of the magnet onto the superconductor has to be small. Thin YBCO films with soft-magnetic coatings are investigated using SQUID magnetometry. Detailed measurements of the magnetic moment as a function of temperature, magnetic field and time have been performed for different heterostructures. It is found that the modification of the superconducting transport in these heterostructures strongly depends on the magnetic and structural properties of the soft-magnetic material. This effect is especially pronounced for an inhomogeneous coating consisting of ferromagnetic nanoparticles.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]

2019


link (url) DOI [BibTex]


Acoustic hologram enhanced phased arrays for ultrasonic particle manipulation
Acoustic hologram enhanced phased arrays for ultrasonic particle manipulation

Cox, L., Melde, K., Croxford, A., Fischer, P., Drinkwater, B.

Phys. Rev. Applied, 12, pages: 064055, November 2019 (article)

Abstract
The ability to shape ultrasound fields is important for particle manipulation, medical therapeutics and imaging applications. If the amplitude and/or phase is spatially varied across the wavefront then it is possible to project ‘acoustic images’. When attempting to form an arbitrary desired static sound field, acoustic holograms are superior to phased arrays due to their significantly higher phase fidelity. However, they lack the dynamic flexibility of phased arrays. Here, we demonstrate how to combine the high-fidelity advantages of acoustic holograms with the dynamic control of phased arrays in the ultrasonic frequency range. Holograms are used with a 64-element phased array, driven with continuous excitation. Moving the position of the projected hologram via phase delays which steer the output beam is demonstrated experimentally. This allows the creation of a much more tightly focused point than with the phased array alone, whilst still being reconfigurable. It also allows the complex movement at a water-air interface of a “phase surfer” along a phase track or the manipulation of a more arbitrarily shaped particle via amplitude traps. Furthermore, a particle manipulation device with two emitters and a single split hologram is demonstrated that allows the positioning of a “phase surfer” along a 1D axis. This paper opens the door for new applications with complex manipulation of ultrasound whilst minimising the complexity and cost of the apparatus.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


A Helical Microrobot with an Optimized Propeller-Shape for Propulsion in Viscoelastic Biological Media
A Helical Microrobot with an Optimized Propeller-Shape for Propulsion in Viscoelastic Biological Media

Li., D., Jeong, M., Oren, E., Yu, T., Qiu, T.

Robotics, 8, pages: 87, MDPI, October 2019 (article)

Abstract
One major challenge for microrobots is to penetrate and effectively move through viscoelastic biological tissues. Most existing microrobots can only propel in viscous liquids. Recent advances demonstrate that sub-micron robots can actively penetrate nanoporous biological tissue, such as the vitreous of the eye. However, it is still difficult to propel a micron-sized device through dense biological tissue. Here, we report that a special twisted helical shape together with a high aspect ratio in cross-section permit a microrobot with a diameter of hundreds-of-micrometers to move through mouse liver tissue. The helical microrobot is driven by a rotating magnetic field and localized by ultrasound imaging inside the tissue. The twisted ribbon is made of molybdenum and a sharp tip is chemically etched to generate a higher pressure at the edge of the propeller to break the biopolymeric network of the dense tissue.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]


Acoustic Holographic Cell Patterning in a Biocompatible Hydrogel
Acoustic Holographic Cell Patterning in a Biocompatible Hydrogel

Ma, Z., Holle, A., Melde, K., Qiu, T., Poeppel, K., Kadiri, V., Fischer, P.

Adv. Mat., October 2019 (article)

Abstract
Acoustophoresis is promising as a rapid, biocompatible, non-contact cell manipulation method, where cells are arranged along the nodes or antinodes of the acoustic field. Typically, the acoustic field is formed in a resonator, which results in highly symmetric regular patterns. However, arbitrary, non-symmetrically shaped cell assemblies are necessary to obtain the irregular cellular arrangements found in biological tissues. We show that arbitrarily shaped cell patterns can be obtained from the complex acoustic field distribution defined by an acoustic hologram. Attenuation of the sound field induces localized acoustic streaming and the resultant convection flow gently delivers the suspended cells to the image plane where they form the designed pattern. We show that the process can be implemented in a biocompatible collagen solution, which can then undergo gelation to immobilize the cell pattern inside the viscoelastic matrix. The patterned cells exhibit F-actin-based protrusions, which indicates that the cells grow and thrive within the matrix. Cell viability assays and brightfield imaging after one week confirm cell survival and that the patterns persist. Acoustophoretic cell manipulation by holographic fields thus holds promise for non-contact, long-range, long-term cellular pattern formation, with a wide variety of potential applications in tissue engineering and mechanobiology.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]


A High-Fidelity Phantom for the Simulation and Quantitative Evaluation of Transurethral Resection of the Prostate
A High-Fidelity Phantom for the Simulation and Quantitative Evaluation of Transurethral Resection of the Prostate

Choi, E., Adams, F., Gengenbacher, A., Schlager, D., Palagi, S., Müller, P., Wetterauer, U., Miernik, A., Fischer, P., Qiu, T.

Annals of Biomed. Eng., October 2019 (article)

Abstract
Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is a minimally invasive endoscopic procedure that requires experience and skill of the surgeon. To permit surgical training under realistic conditions we report a novel phantom of the human prostate that can be resected with TURP. The phantom mirrors the anatomy and haptic properties of the gland and permits quantitative evaluation of important surgical performance indicators. Mixtures of soft materials are engineered to mimic the physical properties of the human tissue, including the mechanical strength, the electrical and thermal conductivity, and the appearance under an endoscope. Electrocautery resection of the phantom closely resembles the procedure on human tissue. Ultrasound contrast agent was applied to the central zone, which was not detectable by the surgeon during the surgery but showed high contrast when imaged after the surgery, to serve as a label for the quantitative evaluation of the surgery. Quantitative criteria for performance assessment are established and evaluated by automated image analysis. We present the workflow of a surgical simulation on a prostate phantom followed by quantitative evaluation of the surgical performance. Surgery on the phantom is useful for medical training, and enables the development and testing of endoscopic and minimally invasive surgical instruments.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


Interactive Materials – Drivers of Future Robotic Systems
Interactive Materials – Drivers of Future Robotic Systems

Fischer, P.

Adv. Mat., October 2019 (article)

Abstract
A robot senses its environment, processes the sensory information, acts in response to these inputs, and possibly communicates with the outside world. Robots generally achieve these tasks with electronics-based hardware or by receiving inputs from some external hardware. In contrast, simple microorganisms can autonomously perceive, act, and communicate via purely physicochemical processes in soft material systems. A key property of biological systems is that they are built from energy-consuming ‘active’ units. Exciting developments in material science show that even very simple artificial active building blocks can show surprisingly rich emergent behaviors. Active non-equilibrium systems are therefore predicted to play an essential role to realize interactive materials. A major challenge is to find robust ways to couple and integrate the energy-consuming building blocks to the mechanical structure of the material. However, success in this endeavor will lead to a new generation of sophisticated micro- and soft-robotic systems that can operate autonomously.

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[BibTex]


Arrays of plasmonic nanoparticle dimers with defined nanogap spacers
Arrays of plasmonic nanoparticle dimers with defined nanogap spacers

Jeong, H., Adams, M. C., Guenther, J., Alarcon-Correa, M., Kim, I., Choi, E., Miksch, C., Mark, A. F. M., Mark, A. G., Fischer, P.

ACS Nano, September 2019 (article)

Abstract
Plasmonic molecules are building blocks of metallic nanostructures that give rise to intriguing optical phenomena with similarities to those seen in molecular systems. The ability to design plasmonic hybrid structures and molecules with nanometric resolution would enable applications in optical metamaterials and sensing that presently cannot be demonstrated, because of a lack of suitable fabrication methods allowing the structural control of the plasmonic atoms on a large scale. Here we demonstrate a wafer-scale “lithography-free” parallel fabrication scheme to realize nanogap plasmonic meta-molecules with precise control over their size, shape, material, and orientation. We demonstrate how we can tune the corresponding coupled resonances through the entire visible spectrum. Our fabrication method, based on glancing angle physical vapor deposition with gradient shadowing, permits critical parameters to be varied across the wafer and thus is ideally suited to screen potential structures. We obtain billions of aligned dimer structures with controlled variation of the spectral properties across the wafer. We spectroscopically map the plasmonic resonances of gold dimer structures and show that they not only are in good agreement with numerically modeled spectra, but also remain functional, at least for a year, in ambient conditions.

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link (url) DOI [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)

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [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]


Genetically modified M13 bacteriophage nanonets for enzyme catalysis and recovery
Genetically modified M13 bacteriophage nanonets for enzyme catalysis and recovery

Kadiri, V. M., Alarcon-Correa, M., Guenther, J. P., Ruppert, J., Bill, J., Rothenstein, D., Fischer, P.

Catalysts, 9, pages: 723, August 2019 (article)

Abstract
Enzyme-based biocatalysis exhibits multiple advantages over inorganic catalysts, including the biocompatibility and the unchallenged specificity of enzymes towards their substrate. The recovery and repeated use of enzymes is essential for any realistic application in biotechnology, but is not easily achieved with current strategies. For this purpose, enzymes are often immobilized on inorganic scaffolds, which could entail a reduction of the enzymes’ activity. Here, we show that immobilization to a nano-scaled biological scaffold, a nanonetwork of end-to-end cross-linked M13 bacteriophages, ensures high enzymatic activity and at the same time allows for the simple recovery of the enzymes. The bacteriophages have been genetically engineered to express AviTags at their ends, which permit biotinylation and their specific end-to-end self-assembly while allowing space on the major coat protein for enzyme coupling. We demonstrate that the phages form nanonetwork structures and that these so-called nanonets remain highly active even after re-using the nanonets multiple times in a flow-through reactor.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]


Light-controlled micromotors and soft microrobots
Light-controlled micromotors and soft microrobots

Palagi, S., Singh, D. P., Fischer, P.

Adv. Opt. Mat., 7, pages: 1900370, August 2019 (article)

Abstract
Mobile microscale devices and microrobots can be powered by catalytic reactions (chemical micromotors) or by external fields. This report is focused on the role of light as a versatile means for wirelessly powering and controlling such microdevices. Recent advances in the development of autonomous micromotors are discussed, where light permits their actuation with unprecedented control and thereby enables advances in the field of active matter. In addition, structuring the light field is a new means to drive soft microrobots that are based on (photo‐) responsive polymers. The behavior of the two main classes of thermo‐ and photoresponsive polymers adopted in microrobotics (poly(N‐isopropylacrylamide) and liquid‐crystal elastomers) is analyzed, and recent applications are reported. The advantages and limitations of controlling micromotors and microrobots by light are reviewed, and some of the remaining challenges in the development of novel photo‐active materials for micromotors and microrobots are discussed.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]


Learning Variable Impedance Control for Contact Sensitive Tasks
Learning Variable Impedance Control for Contact Sensitive Tasks

Bogdanovic, M., Khadiv, M., Righetti, L.

arXiv preprint, arXiv:1907.07500, July 2019 (article)

Abstract
Reinforcement learning algorithms have shown great success in solving different problems ranging from playing video games to robotics. However, they struggle to solve delicate robotic problems, especially those involving contact interactions. Though in principle a policy outputting joint torques should be able to learn these tasks, in practice we see that they have difficulty to robustly solve the problem without any structure in the action space. In this paper, we investigate how the choice of action space can give robust performance in presence of contact uncertainties. We propose to learn a policy that outputs impedance and desired position in joint space as a function of system states without imposing any other structure to the problem. We compare the performance of this approach to torque and position control policies under different contact uncertainties. Extensive simulation results on two different systems, a hopper (floating-base) with intermittent contacts and a manipulator (fixed-base) wiping a table, show that our proposed approach outperforms policies outputting torque or position in terms of both learning rate and robustness to environment uncertainty.

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[BibTex]


Self-Assembled Phage-Based Colloids for High Localized Enzymatic Activity
Self-Assembled Phage-Based Colloids for High Localized Enzymatic Activity

Alarcon-Correa, M., Guenther, J., Troll, J., Kadiri, V. M., Bill, J., Fischer, P., Rothenstein, D.

ACS Nano, March 2019 (article)

Abstract
Catalytically active colloids are model systems for chemical motors and active matter. It is desirable to replace the inorganic catalysts and the toxic fuels that are often used, with biocompatible enzymatic reactions. However, compared to inorganic catalysts, enzyme-coated colloids tend to exhibit less activity. Here, we show that the self-assembly of genetically engineered M13 bacteriophages that bind enzymes to magnetic beads ensures high and localized enzymatic activity. These phage-decorated colloids provide a proteinaceous environment for directed enzyme immobilization. The magnetic properties of the colloidal carrier particle permit repeated enzyme recovery from a reaction solution, while the enzymatic activity is retained. Moreover, localizing the phage-based construct with a magnetic field in a microcontainer allows the enzyme-phage-colloids to function as an enzymatic micropump, where the enzymatic reaction generates a fluid flow. This system shows the fastest fluid flow reported to date by a biocompatible enzymatic micropump. In addition, it is functional in complex media including blood where the enzyme driven micropump can be powered at the physiological blood-urea concentration.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]


Absolute diffusion measurements of active enzyme solutions by NMR
Absolute diffusion measurements of active enzyme solutions by NMR

Guenther, J., Majer, G., Fischer, P.

J. Chem. Phys., 150(124201), March 2019 (article)

Abstract
The diffusion of enzymes is of fundamental importance for many biochemical processes. Enhanced or directed enzyme diffusion can alter the accessibility of substrates and the organization of enzymes within cells. Several studies based on fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) report enhanced diffusion of enzymes upon interaction with their substrate or inhibitor. In this context, major importance is given to the enzyme fructose-bisphosphate aldolase, for which enhanced diffusion has been reported even though the catalysed reaction is endothermic. Additionally, enhanced diffusion of tracer particles surrounding the active aldolase enzymes has been reported. These studies suggest that active enzymes can act as chemical motors that self-propel and give rise to enhanced diffusion. However, fluorescence studies of enzymes can, despite several advantages, suffer from artefacts. Here we show that the absolute diffusion coefficients of active enzyme solutions can be determined with Pulsed Field Gradient Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (PFG-NMR). The advantage of PFG-NMR is that the motion of the molecule of interest is directly observed in its native state without the need for any labelling. Further, PFG-NMR is model-free and thus yields absolute diffusion constants. Our PFG-NMR experiments of solutions containing active fructose-bisphosphate aldolase from rabbit muscle do not show any diffusion enhancement for the active enzymes nor the surrounding molecules. Additionally, we do not observe any diffusion enhancement of aldolase in the presence of its inhibitor pyrophosphate.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]


Chemical Nanomotors at the Gram Scale Form a Dense Active Optorheological Medium
Chemical Nanomotors at the Gram Scale Form a Dense Active Optorheological Medium

Choudhury, U., Singh, D. P., Qiu, T., Fischer, P.

Adv. Mat., (1807382), Febuary 2019 (article)

Abstract
The rheological properties of a colloidal suspension are a function of the concentration of the colloids and their interactions. While suspensions of passive colloids are well studied and have been shown to form crystals, gels, and glasses, examples of energy‐consuming “active” colloidal suspensions are still largely unexplored. Active suspensions of biological matter, such as motile bacteria or dense mixtures of active actin–motor–protein mixtures have, respectively, reveals superfluid‐like and gel‐like states. Attractive inanimate systems for active matter are chemically self‐propelled particles. It has so far been challenging to use these swimming particles at high enough densities to affect the bulk material properties of the suspension. Here, it is shown that light‐triggered asymmetric titanium dioxide that self‐propel, can be obtained in large quantities, and self‐organize to make a gram‐scale active medium. The suspension shows an activity‐dependent tenfold reversible change in its bulk viscosity.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]


First Observation of Optical Activity in Hyper-Rayleigh Scattering
First Observation of Optical Activity in Hyper-Rayleigh Scattering

Collins, J., Rusimova, K., Hooper, D., Jeong, H. H., Ohnoutek, L., Pradaux-Caggiano, F., Verbiest, T., Carbery, D., Fischer, P., Valev, V.

Phys. Rev. X, 9(011024), January 2019 (article)

Abstract
Chiral nano- or metamaterials and surfaces enable striking photonic properties, such as negative refractive index and superchiral light, driving promising applications in novel optical components, nanorobotics, and enhanced chiral molecular interactions with light. In characterizing chirality, although nonlinear chiroptical techniques are typically much more sensitive than their linear optical counterparts, separating true chirality from anisotropy is a major challenge. Here, we report the first observation of optical activity in second-harmonic hyper-Rayleigh scattering (HRS). We demonstrate the effect in a 3D isotropic suspension of Ag nanohelices in water. The effect is 5 orders of magnitude stronger than linear optical activity and is well pronounced above the multiphoton luminescence background. Because of its sensitivity, isotropic environment, and straightforward experimental geometry, HRS optical activity constitutes a fundamental experimental breakthrough in chiral photonics for media including nanomaterials, metamaterials, and chemical molecules.

pf

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [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)

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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]


Autonomous Identification and Goal-Directed Invocation of Event-Predictive Behavioral Primitives
Autonomous Identification and Goal-Directed Invocation of Event-Predictive Behavioral Primitives

Gumbsch, C., Butz, M. V., Martius, G.

IEEE Transactions on Cognitive and Developmental Systems, 2019 (article)

Abstract
Voluntary behavior of humans appears to be composed of small, elementary building blocks or behavioral primitives. While this modular organization seems crucial for the learning of complex motor skills and the flexible adaption of behavior to new circumstances, the problem of learning meaningful, compositional abstractions from sensorimotor experiences remains an open challenge. Here, we introduce a computational learning architecture, termed surprise-based behavioral modularization into event-predictive structures (SUBMODES), that explores behavior and identifies the underlying behavioral units completely from scratch. The SUBMODES architecture bootstraps sensorimotor exploration using a self-organizing neural controller. While exploring the behavioral capabilities of its own body, the system learns modular structures that predict the sensorimotor dynamics and generate the associated behavior. In line with recent theories of event perception, the system uses unexpected prediction error signals, i.e., surprise, to detect transitions between successive behavioral primitives. We show that, when applied to two robotic systems with completely different body kinematics, the system manages to learn a variety of complex behavioral primitives. Moreover, after initial self-exploration the system can use its learned predictive models progressively more effectively for invoking model predictive planning and goal-directed control in different tasks and environments.

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arXiv PDF video link (url) DOI Project Page [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

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[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Machine Learning for Haptics: Inferring Multi-Contact Stimulation From Sparse Sensor Configuration

Sun, H., Martius, G.

Frontiers in Neurorobotics, 13, pages: 51, 2019 (article)

Abstract
Robust haptic sensation systems are essential for obtaining dexterous robots. Currently, we have solutions for small surface areas such as fingers, but affordable and robust techniques for covering large areas of an arbitrary 3D surface are still missing. Here, we introduce a general machine learning framework to infer multi-contact haptic forces on a 3D robot’s limb surface from internal deformation measured by only a few physical sensors. The general idea of this framework is to predict first the whole surface deformation pattern from the sparsely placed sensors and then to infer number, locations and force magnitudes of unknown contact points. We show how this can be done even if training data can only be obtained for single-contact points using transfer learning at the example of a modified limb of the Poppy robot. With only 10 strain-gauge sensors we obtain a high accuracy also for multiple-contact points. The method can be applied to arbitrarily shaped surfaces and physical sensor types, as long as training data can be obtained.

al

link (url) DOI [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]

2007


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A Tutorial on Spectral Clustering

von Luxburg, U.

Statistics and Computing, 17(4):395-416, December 2007 (article)

Abstract
In recent years, spectral clustering has become one of the most popular modern clustering algorithms. It is simple to implement, can be solved efficiently by standard linear algebra software, and very often outperforms traditional clustering algorithms such as the k-means algorithm. On the first glance spectral clustering appears slightly mysterious, and it is not obvious to see why it works at all and what it really does. The goal of this tutorial is to give some intuition on those questions. We describe different graph Laplacians and their basic properties, present the most common spectral clustering algorithms, and derive those algorithms from scratch by several different approaches. Advantages and disadvantages of the different spectral clustering algorithms are discussed.

ei

PDF PDF DOI [BibTex]

2007


PDF PDF DOI [BibTex]


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A Tutorial on Kernel Methods for Categorization

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

Journal of Mathematical Psychology, 51(6):343-358, December 2007 (article)

Abstract
The abilities to learn and to categorize are fundamental for cognitive systems, be it animals or machines, and therefore have attracted attention from engineers and psychologists alike. Modern machine learning methods and psychological models of categorization are remarkably similar, partly because these two fields share a common history in artificial neural networks and reinforcement learning. However, machine learning is now an independent and mature field that has moved beyond psychologically or neurally inspired algorithms towards providing foundations for a theory of learning that is rooted in statistics and functional analysis. Much of this research is potentially interesting for psychological theories of learning and categorization but also hardly accessible for psychologists. Here, we provide a tutorial introduction to a popular class of machine learning tools, called kernel methods. These methods are closely related to perceptrons, radial-basis-function neural networks and exemplar theories of catego rization. Recent theoretical advances in machine learning are closely tied to the idea that the similarity of patterns can be encapsulated in a positive definite kernel. Such a positive definite kernel can define a reproducing kernel Hilbert space which allows one to use powerful tools from functional analysis for the analysis of learning algorithms. We give basic explanations of some key concepts—the so-called kernel trick, the representer theorem and regularization—which may open up the possibility that insights from machine learning can feed back into psychology.

ei

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]


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Accurate Splice site Prediction Using Support Vector Machines

Sonnenburg, S., Schweikert, G., Philips, P., Behr, J., Rätsch, G.

BMC Bioinformatics, 8(Supplement 10):1-16, December 2007 (article)

Abstract
Background: For splice site recognition, one has to solve two classification problems: discriminating true from decoy splice sites for both acceptor and donor sites. Gene finding systems typically rely on Markov Chains to solve these tasks. Results: In this work we consider Support Vector Machines for splice site recognition. We employ the so-called weighted degree kernel which turns out well suited for this task, as we will illustrate in several experiments where we compare its prediction accuracy with that of recently proposed systems. We apply our method to the genome-wide recognition of splice sites in Caenorhabditis elegans, Drosophila melanogaster, Arabidopsis thaliana, Danio rerio, and Homo sapiens. Our performance estimates indicate that splice sites can be recognized very accurately in these genomes and that our method outperforms many other methods including Markov Chains, GeneSplicer and SpliceMachine. We provide genome-wide predictions of splice sites and a stand-alone prediction tool ready to be used for incorporation in a gene finder. Availability: Data, splits, additional information on the model selection, the whole genome predictions, as well as the stand-alone prediction tool are available for download at http:// www.fml.mpg.de/raetsch/projects/splice.

ei

PDF DOI [BibTex]

PDF DOI [BibTex]


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A unifying framework for robot control with redundant DOFs

Peters, J., Mistry, M., Udwadia, F., Nakanishi, J., Schaal, S.

Autonomous Robots, 24(1):1-12, October 2007 (article)

Abstract
Recently, Udwadia (Proc. R. Soc. Lond. A 2003:1783–1800, 2003) suggested to derive tracking controllers for mechanical systems with redundant degrees-of-freedom (DOFs) using a generalization of Gauss’ principle of least constraint. This method allows reformulating control problems as a special class of optimal controllers. In this paper, we take this line of reasoning one step further and demonstrate that several well-known and also novel nonlinear robot control laws can be derived from this generic methodology. We show experimental verifications on a Sarcos Master Arm robot for some of the derived controllers. The suggested approach offers a promising unification and simplification of nonlinear control law design for robots obeying rigid body dynamics equations, both with or without external constraints, with over-actuation or underactuation, as well as open-chain and closed-chain kinematics.

ei

PDF PDF DOI [BibTex]

PDF PDF DOI [BibTex]


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The Need for Open Source Software in Machine Learning

Sonnenburg, S., Braun, M., Ong, C., Bengio, S., Bottou, L., Holmes, G., LeCun, Y., Müller, K., Pereira, F., Rasmussen, C., Rätsch, G., Schölkopf, B., Smola, A., Vincent, P., Weston, J., Williamson, R.

Journal of Machine Learning Research, 8, pages: 2443-2466, October 2007 (article)

Abstract
Open source tools have recently reached a level of maturity which makes them suitable for building large-scale real-world systems. At the same time, the field of machine learning has developed a large body of powerful learning algorithms for diverse applications. However, the true potential of these methods is not realized, since existing implementations are not openly shared, resulting in software with low usability, and weak interoperability. We argue that this situation can be significantly improved by increasing incentives for researchers to publish their software under an open source model. Additionally, we outline the problems authors are faced with when trying to publish algorithmic implementations of machine learning methods. We believe that a resource of peer reviewed software accompanied by short articles would be highly valuable to both the machine learning and the general scientific community.

ei

PDF Web [BibTex]

PDF Web [BibTex]


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Some observations on the masking effects of Mach bands

Curnow, T., Cowie, DA., Henning, GB., Hill, NJ.

Journal of the Optical Society of America A, 24(10):3233-3241, October 2007 (article)

Abstract
There are 8 cycle / deg ripples or oscillations in performance as a function of location near Mach bands in experiments measuring Mach bands’ masking effects on random polarity signal bars. The oscillations with increments are 180 degrees out of phase with those for decrements. The oscillations, much larger than the measurement error, appear to relate to the weighting function of the spatial-frequency-tuned channel detecting the broad- band signals. The ripples disappear with step maskers and become much smaller at durations below 25 ms, implying either that the site of masking has changed or that the weighting function and hence spatial-frequency tuning is slow to develop.

ei

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]


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Mining complex genotypic features for predicting HIV-1 drug resistance

Saigo, H., Uno, T., Tsuda, K.

Bioinformatics, 23(18):2455-2462, September 2007 (article)

Abstract
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) evolves in human body, and its exposure to a drug often causes mutations that enhance the resistance against the drug. To design an effective pharmacotherapy for an individual patient, it is important to accurately predict the drug resistance based on genotype data. Notably, the resistance is not just the simple sum of the effects of all mutations. Structural biological studies suggest that the association of mutations is crucial: Even if mutations A or B alone do not affect the resistance, a significant change might happen when the two mutations occur together. Linear regression methods cannot take the associations into account, while decision tree methods can reveal only limited associations. Kernel methods and neural networks implicitly use all possible associations for prediction, but cannot select salient associations explicitly. Our method, itemset boosting, performs linear regression in the complete space of power sets of mutations. It implements a forward feature selection procedure where, in each iteration, one mutation combination is found by an efficient branch-and-bound search. This method uses all possible combinations, and salient associations are explicitly shown. In experiments, our method worked particularly well for predicting the resistance of nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). Furthermore, it successfully recovered many mutation associations known in biological literature.

ei

Web DOI [BibTex]

Web DOI [BibTex]


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Real-Time Fetal Heart Monitoring in Biomagnetic Measurements Using Adaptive Real-Time ICA

Waldert, S., Bensch, M., Bogdan, M., Rosenstiel, W., Schölkopf, B., Lowery, C., Eswaran, H., Preissl, H.

IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, 54(10):1867-1874, September 2007 (article)

Abstract
Electrophysiological signals of the developing fetal brain and heart can be investigated by fetal magnetoencephalography (fMEG). During such investigations, the fetal heart activity and that of the mother should be monitored continuously to provide an important indication of current well-being. Due to physical constraints of an fMEG system, it is not possible to use clinically established heart monitors for this purpose. Considering this constraint, we developed a real-time heart monitoring system for biomagnetic measurements and showed its reliability and applicability in research and for clinical examinations. The developed system consists of real-time access to fMEG data, an algorithm based on Independent Component Analysis (ICA), and a graphical user interface (GUI). The algorithm extracts the current fetal and maternal heart signal from a noisy and artifact-contaminated data stream in real-time and is able to adapt automatically to continuously varying environmental parameters. This algorithm has been na med Adaptive Real-time ICA (ARICA) and is applicable to real-time artifact removal as well as to related blind signal separation problems.

ei

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]


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Feature Selection for Trouble Shooting in Complex Assembly Lines

Pfingsten, T., Herrmann, D., Schnitzler, T., Feustel, A., Schölkopf, B.

IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering, 4(3):465-469, July 2007 (article)

Abstract
The final properties of sophisticated products can be affected by many unapparent dependencies within the manufacturing process, and the products’ integrity can often only be checked in a final measurement. Troubleshooting can therefore be very tedious if not impossible in large assembly lines. In this paper we show that Feature Selection is an efficient tool for serial-grouped lines to reveal causes for irregularities in product attributes. We compare the performance of several methods for Feature Selection on real-world problems in mass-production of semiconductor devices. Note to Practitioners— We present a data based procedure to localize flaws in large production lines: using the results of final quality inspections and information about which machines processed which batches, we are able to identify machines which cause low yield.

ei

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]


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Gene selection via the BAHSIC family of algorithms

Song, L., Bedo, J., Borgwardt, K., Gretton, A., Smola, A.

Bioinformatics, 23(13: ISMB/ECCB 2007 Conference Proceedings):i490-i498, July 2007 (article)

Abstract
Motivation: Identifying significant genes among thousands of sequences on a microarray is a central challenge for cancer research in bioinformatics. The ultimate goal is to detect the genes that are involved in disease outbreak and progression. A multitude of methods have been proposed for this task of feature selection, yet the selected gene lists differ greatly between different methods. To accomplish biologically meaningful gene selection from microarray data, we have to understand the theoretical connections and the differences between these methods. In this article, we define a kernel-based framework for feature selection based on the Hilbert–Schmidt independence criterion and backward elimination, called BAHSIC. We show that several well-known feature selectors are instances of BAHSIC, thereby clarifying their relationship. Furthermore, by choosing a different kernel, BAHSIC allows us to easily define novel feature selection algorithms. As a further advantage, feature selection via BAHSIC works directly on multiclass problems. Results: In a broad experimental evaluation, the members of the BAHSIC family reach high levels of accuracy and robustness when compared to other feature selection techniques. Experiments show that features selected with a linear kernel provide the best classification performance in general, but if strong non-linearities are present in the data then non-linear kernels can be more suitable.

ei

Web DOI [BibTex]

Web DOI [BibTex]


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Phenotyping of Chondrocytes In Vivo and In Vitro Using cDNA Array Technology

Zien, A., Gebhard, P., Fundel, K., Aigner, T.

Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, 460, pages: 226-233, July 2007 (article)

Abstract
The cDNA array technology is a powerful tool to analyze a high number of genes in parallel. We investigated whether large-scale gene expression analysis allows clustering and identification of cellular phenotypes of chondrocytes in different in vivo and in vitro conditions. In 100% of cases, clustering analysis distinguished between in vivo and in vitro samples, suggesting fundamental differences in chondrocytes in situ and in vitro regardless of the culture conditions or disease status. It also allowed us to differentiate between healthy and osteoarthritic cartilage. The clustering also revealed the relative importance of the investigated culturing conditions (stimulation agent, stimulation time, bead/monolayer). We augmented the cluster analysis with a statistical search for genes showing differential expression. The identified genes provided hints to the molecular basis of the differences between the sample classes. Our approach shows the power of modern bioinformatic algorithms for understanding and class ifying chondrocytic phenotypes in vivo and in vitro. Although it does not generate new experimental data per se, it provides valuable information regarding the biology of chondrocytes and may provide tools for diagnosing and staging the osteoarthritic disease process.

ei

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Common Sequence Polymorphisms Shaping Genetic Diversity in Arabidopsis thaliana

Clark, R., Schweikert, G., Toomajian, C., Ossowski, S., Zeller, G., Shinn, P., Warthmann, N., Hu, T., Fu, G., Hinds, D., Chen, H., Frazer, K., Huson, D., Schölkopf, B., Nordborg, M., Rätsch, G., Ecker, J., Weigel, D.

Science, 317(5836):338-342, July 2007 (article)

Abstract
The genomes of individuals from the same species vary in sequence as a result of different evolutionary processes. To examine the patterns of, and the forces shaping, sequence variation in Arabidopsis thaliana, we performed high-density array resequencing of 20 diverse strains (accessions). More than 1 million nonredundant single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were identified at moderate false discovery rates (FDRs), and ~4% of the genome was identified as being highly dissimilar or deleted relative to the reference genome sequence. Patterns of polymorphism are highly nonrandom among gene families, with genes mediating interaction with the biotic environment having exceptional polymorphism levels. At the chromosomal scale, regional variation in polymorphism was readily apparent. A scan for recent selective sweeps revealed several candidate regions, including a notable example in which almost all variation was removed in a 500-kilobase window. Analyzing the polymorphisms we describe in larger sets of accessions will enable a detailed understanding of forces shaping population-wide sequence variation in A. thaliana.

ei

PDF DOI [BibTex]

PDF DOI [BibTex]


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Graph Laplacians and their Convergence on Random Neighborhood Graphs

Hein, M., Audibert, J., von Luxburg, U.

Journal of Machine Learning Research, 8, pages: 1325-1370, June 2007 (article)

Abstract
Given a sample from a probability measure with support on a submanifold in Euclidean space one can construct a neighborhood graph which can be seen as an approximation of the submanifold. The graph Laplacian of such a graph is used in several machine learning methods like semi-supervised learning, dimensionality reduction and clustering. In this paper we determine the pointwise limit of three different graph Laplacians used in the literature as the sample size increases and the neighborhood size approaches zero. We show that for a uniform measure on the submanifold all graph Laplacians have the same limit up to constants. However in the case of a non-uniform measure on the submanifold only the so called random walk graph Laplacian converges to the weighted Laplace-Beltrami operator.

ei

PDF PDF [BibTex]

PDF PDF [BibTex]


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Bayesian Reconstruction of the Density of States

Habeck, M.

Physical Review Letters, 98(20, 200601):1-4, May 2007 (article)

Abstract
A Bayesian framework is developed to reconstruct the density of states from multiple canonical simulations. The framework encompasses the histogram reweighting method of Ferrenberg and Swendsen. The new approach applies to nonparametric as well as parametric models and does not require simulation data to be discretized. It offers a means to assess the precision of the reconstructed density of states and of derived thermodynamic quantities.

ei

Web DOI [BibTex]

Web DOI [BibTex]


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PALMA: mRNA to Genome Alignments using Large Margin Algorithms

Schulze, U., Hepp, B., Ong, C., Rätsch, G.

Bioinformatics, 23(15):1892-1900, May 2007 (article)

Abstract
Motivation: Despite many years of research on how to properly align sequences in the presence of sequencing errors, alternative splicing and micro-exons, the correct alignment of mRNA sequences to genomic DNA is still a challenging task. Results: We present a novel approach based on large margin learning that combines accurate plice site predictions with common sequence alignment techniques. By solving a convex optimization problem, our algorithm – called PALMA – tunes the parameters of the model such that true alignments score higher than other alignments. We study the accuracy of alignments of mRNAs containing artificially generated micro-exons to genomic DNA. In a carefully designed experiment, we show that our algorithm accurately identifies the intron boundaries as well as boundaries of the optimal local alignment. It outperforms all other methods: for 5702 artificially shortened EST sequences from C. elegans and human it correctly identifies the intron boundaries in all except two cases. The best other method is a recently proposed method called exalin which misaligns 37 of the sequences. Our method also demonstrates robustness to mutations, insertions and deletions, retaining accuracy even at high noise levels. Availability: Datasets for training, evaluation and testing, additional results and a stand-alone alignment tool implemented in C++ and python are available at http://www.fml.mpg.de/raetsch/projects/palma.

ei

Web DOI [BibTex]

Web DOI [BibTex]


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Training a Support Vector Machine in the Primal

Chapelle, O.

Neural Computation, 19(5):1155-1178, March 2007 (article)

Abstract
Most literature on Support Vector Machines (SVMs) concentrate on the dual optimization problem. In this paper, we would like to point out that the primal problem can also be solved efficiently, both for linear and non-linear SVMs, and that there is no reason for ignoring this possibilty. On the contrary, from the primal point of view new families of algorithms for large scale SVM training can be investigated.

ei

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]


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Improving the Caenorhabditis elegans Genome Annotation Using Machine Learning

Rätsch, G., Sonnenburg, S., Srinivasan, J., Witte, H., Müller, K., Sommer, R., Schölkopf, B.

PLoS Computational Biology, 3(2, e20):0313-0322, February 2007 (article)

ei

PDF DOI [BibTex]

PDF DOI [BibTex]


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Statistical Consistency of Kernel Canonical Correlation Analysis

Fukumizu, K., Bach, F., Gretton, A.

Journal of Machine Learning Research, 8, pages: 361-383, February 2007 (article)

Abstract
While kernel canonical correlation analysis (CCA) has been applied in many contexts, the convergence of finite sample estimates of the associated functions to their population counterparts has not yet been established. This paper gives a mathematical proof of the statistical convergence of kernel CCA, providing a theoretical justification for the method. The proof uses covariance operators defined on reproducing kernel Hilbert spaces, and analyzes the convergence of their empirical estimates of finite rank to their population counterparts, which can have infinite rank. The result also gives a sufficient condition for convergence on the regularization coefficient involved in kernel CCA: this should decrease as n^{-1/3}, where n is the number of data.

ei

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]