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2015


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Enzymatically active biomimetic micropropellers for the penetration of mucin gels

Walker (Schamel), D., Käsdorf, B. T., Jeong, H. H., Lieleg, O., Fischer, P.

Science Advances, 1(11):e1500501, December 2015 (article)

Abstract
In the body, mucus provides an important defense mechanism by limiting the penetration of pathogens. It is therefore also a major obstacle for the efficient delivery of particle-based drug carriers. The acidic stomach lining in particular is difficult to overcome because mucin glycoproteins form viscoelastic gels under acidic conditions. The bacterium Helicobacter pylori has developed a strategy to overcome the mucus barrier by producing the enzyme urease, which locally raises the pH and consequently liquefies the mucus. This allows the bacteria to swim through mucus and to reach the epithelial surface. We present an artificial system of reactive magnetic micropropellers that mimic this strategy to move through gastric mucin gels by making use of surface-immobilized urease. The results demonstrate the validity of this biomimetic approach to penetrate biological gels, and show that externally propelled microstructures can actively and reversibly manipulate the physical state of their surroundings, suggesting that such particles could potentially penetrate native mucus.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]

2015


link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Quantifying changes in climate variability and extremes: Pitfalls and their overcoming

Sippel, S., Zscheischler, J., Heimann, M., Otto, F. E. L., Peters, J., Mahecha, M. D.

Geophysical Research Letters, 42(22):9990-9998, November 2015 (article)

ei

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Diversity of sharp wave-ripple LFP signatures reveals differentiated brain-wide dynamical events

Ramirez-Villegas, J. F., Logothetis, N. K., Besserve, M.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U.S.A, 112(46):E6379-E6387, November 2015 (article)

ei

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Noise masking of White’s illusion exposes the weakness of current spatial filtering models of lightness perception

Betz, T., Shapley, R. M., Wichmann, F. A., Maertens, M.

Journal of Vision, 15(14):1-17, October 2015 (article)

ei

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Shifts of Gamma Phase across Primary Visual Cortical Sites Reflect Dynamic Stimulus-Modulated Information Transfer

Besserve, M., Lowe, S. C., Logothetis, N. K., Schölkopf, B., Panzeri, S.

PLOS Biology, 13(9):e1002257, September 2015 (article)

ei

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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The EChemPen: A Guiding Hand To Learn Electrochemical Surface Modifications

Valetaud, M., Loget, G., Roche, J., Hueken, N., Fattah, Z., Badets, V., Fontaine, O., Zigah, D.

J. of Chem. Ed., 92(10):1700-1704, September 2015 (article)

Abstract
The Electrochemical Pen (EChemPen) was developed as an attractive tool for learning electrochemistry. The fabrication, principle, and operation of the EChemPen are simple and can be easily performed by students in practical classes. It is based on a regular fountain pen principle, where the electrolytic solution is dispensed at a tip to locally modify a conductive surface by triggering a localized electrochemical reaction. Three simple model reactions were chosen to demonstrate the versatility of the EChemPen for teaching various electrochemical processes. We describe first the reversible writing/erasing of metal letters, then the electrodeposition of a black conducting polymer "ink", and finally the colorful writings that can be generated by titanium anodization and that can be controlled by the applied potential. These entertaining and didactic experiments are adapted for teaching undergraduate students that start to study electrochemistry by means of surface modification reactions.

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Semi-Supervised Interpolation in an Anticausal Learning Scenario

Janzing, D., Schölkopf, B.

Journal of Machine Learning Research, 16, pages: 1923-1948, September 2015 (article)

ei

link (url) [BibTex]

link (url) [BibTex]


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Testing the role of luminance edges in White’s illusion with contour adaptation

Betz, T., Shapley, R. M., Wichmann, F. A., Maertens, M.

Journal of Vision, 15(11):1-16, August 2015 (article)

ei

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Optimal Length of Low Reynolds Number Nanopropellers

Walker (Schamel), D., Kuebler, M., Morozov, K. I., Fischer, P., Leshansky, A. M.

Nano Letters, 15(7):4412-4416, June 2015 (article)

Abstract
Locomotion in fluids at the nanoscale is dominated by viscous drag. One efficient propulsion scheme is to use a weak rotating magnetic field that drives a chiral object. Froth bacterial flagella to artificial drills, the corkscrew is a universally useful chiral shape for propulsion in viscous environments. Externally powered magnetic micro- and nanomotors have been recently developed that allow for precise fuel-free propulsion in complex media. Here, we combine analytical and numerical theory with experiments on nanostructured screw-propellers to show that the optimal length is surprisingly short only about one helical turn, which is shorter than most of the structures in use to date. The results have important implications for the design of artificial actuated nano- and micropropellers and can dramatically reduce fabrication times, while ensuring optimal performance.

pf

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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A theoretical study of potentially observable chirality-sensitive NMR effects in molecules

Garbacz, P., Cukras, J., Jaszunski, M.

Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 17(35):22642-22651, May 2015 (article)

Abstract
Two recently predicted nuclear magnetic resonance effects, the chirality-induced rotating electric polarization and the oscillating magnetization, are examined for several experimentally available chiral molecules. We discuss in detail the requirements for experimental detection of chirality-sensitive NMR effects of the studied molecules. These requirements are related to two parameters: the shielding polarizability and the antisymmetric part of the nuclear magnetic shielding tensor. The dominant second contribution has been computed for small molecules at the coupled cluster and density functional theory levels. It was found that DFT calculations using the KT2 functional and the aug-cc-pCVTZ basis set adequately reproduce the CCSD(T) values obtained with the same basis set. The largest values of parameters, thus most promising from the experimental point of view, were obtained for the fluorine nuclei in 1,3-difluorocyclopropene and 1,3-diphenyl-2-fluoro-3-trifluoromethylcyclopropene.

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Dynamic Inclusion Complexes of Metal Nanoparticles Inside Nanocups

Alarcon-Correa, M., Lee, T. C., Fischer, P.

Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 54(23):6730-6734, May 2015, Featured cover article. (article)

Abstract
Host-guest inclusion complexes are abundant in molecular systems and of fundamental importance in living organisms. Realizing a colloidal analogue of a molecular dynamic inclusion complex is challenging because inorganic nanoparticles (NPs) with a well-defined cavity and portal are difficult to synthesize in high yield and with good structural fidelity. Herein, a generic strategy towards the fabrication of dynamic 1: 1 inclusion complexes of metal nanoparticles inside oxide nanocups with high yield (> 70%) and regiospecificity (> 90%) by means of a reactive double Janus nanoparticle intermediate is reported. Experimental evidence confirms that the inclusion complexes are formed by a kinetically controlled mechanism involving a delicate interplay between bipolar galvanic corrosion and alloying-dealloying oxidation. Release of the NP guest from the nanocups can be efficiently triggered by an external stimulus. Featured cover article.

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Blind multirigid retrospective motion correction of MR images

Loktyushin, A., Nickisch, H., Pohmann, R., Schölkopf, B.

Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, 73(4):1457-1468, April 2015 (article)

ei

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Surface roughness-induced speed increase for active Janus micromotors

Choudhury, U., Soler, L., Gibbs, J. G., Sanchez, S., Fischer, P.

Chem. Comm., 51(41):8660-8663, April 2015 (article)

Abstract
We demonstrate a simple physical fabrication method to control surface roughness of Janus micromotors and fabricate self-propelled active Janus microparticles with rough catalytic platinum surfaces that show a four-fold increase in their propulsion speed compared to conventional Janus particles coated with a smooth Pt layer.

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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A quantum advantage for inferring causal structure

Ried, K., Agnew, M., Vermeyden, L., Janzing, D., Spekkens, R. W., Resch, K. J.

Nature Physics, 11(5):414-420, March 2015 (article)

Abstract
The problem of inferring causal relations from observed correlations is relevant to a wide variety of scientific disciplines. Yet given the correlations between just two classical variables, it is impossible to determine whether they arose from a causal influence of one on the other or a common cause influencing both. Only a randomized trial can settle the issue. Here we consider the problem of causal inference for quantum variables. We show that the analogue of a randomized trial, causal tomography, yields a complete solution. We also show that, in contrast to the classical case, one can sometimes infer the causal structure from observations alone. We implement a quantum-optical experiment wherein we control the causal relation between two optical modes, and two measurement schemes—with and without randomization—that extract this relation from the observed correlations. Our results show that entanglement and quantum coherence provide an advantage for causal inference.

ei

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Active colloidal microdrills

Gibbs, J. G., Fischer, P.

Chem. Comm., 51(20):4192-4195, Febuary 2015 (article)

Abstract
We demonstrate a chemically driven, autonomous catalytic microdrill. An asymmetric distribution of catalyst causes the helical swimmer to twist while it undergoes directed propulsion. A driving torque and hydrodynamic coupling between translation and rotation at low Reynolds number leads to drill-like swimming behaviour.

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Positive definite matrices and the S-divergence

Sra, S.

Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society, 2015, Published electronically: October 22, 2015 (article)

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Structural Intervention Distance (SID) for Evaluating Causal Graphs

Peters, J., Bühlmann, P.

Neural Computation , 27(3):771-799, 2015 (article)

ei

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Likelihood and Consilience: On Forster’s Counterexamples to the Likelihood Theory of Evidence

Zhang, J., Zhang, K.

Philosophy of Science, Supplementary Volume 2015, 82(5):930-940, 2015 (article)

ei

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Crowdsourced analysis of clinical trial data to predict amyotrophic lateral sclerosis progression

Küffner, R., Zach, N., Norel, R., Hawe, J., Schoenfeld, D., Wang, L., Li, G., Fang, L., Mackey, L., Hardiman, O., Cudkowicz, M., Sherman, A., Ertaylan, G., Grosse-Wentrup, M., Hothorn, T., van Ligtenberg, J., Macke, J., Meyer, T., Schölkopf, B., Tran, L., Vaughan, R., Stolovitzky, G., Leitner, M.

Nature Biotechnology, 33, pages: 51-57, 2015 (article)

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Probabilistic Interpretation of Linear Solvers

Hennig, P.

SIAM Journal on Optimization, 25(1):234-260, 2015 (article)

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Web PDF link (url) DOI [BibTex]

Web PDF link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Developing biorobotics for veterinary research into cat movements

Mariti, C., Muscolo, G., Peters, J., Puig, D., Recchiuto, C., Sighieri, C., Solanas, A., von Stryk, O.

Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 10(3):248-254, 2015 (article)

ei

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Spatial statistics and attentional dynamics in scene viewing

Engbert, R., Trukenbrod, H., Barthelmé, S., Wichmann, F.

Journal of Vision, 15(1):1-17, 2015 (article)

ei

Web PDF link (url) DOI [BibTex]

Web PDF link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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The Randomized Causation Coefficient

Lopez-Paz, D., Muandet, K., Recht, B.

Journal of Machine Learning, 16, pages: 2901-2907, 2015 (article)

ei

link (url) [BibTex]

link (url) [BibTex]


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Towards denoising XMCD movies of fast magnetization dynamics using extended Kalman filter

Kopp, M., Harmeling, S., Schütz, G., Schölkopf, B., Fähnle, M.

Ultramicroscopy, 148, pages: 115-122, 2015 (article)

Abstract
The Kalman filter is a well-established approach to get information on the time-dependent state of a system from noisy observations. It was developed in the context of the Apollo project to see the deviation of the true trajectory of a rocket from the desired trajectory. Afterwards it was applied to many different systems with small numbers of components of the respective state vector (typically about 10). In all cases the equation of motion for the state vector was known exactly. The fast dissipative magnetization dynamics is often investigated by x-ray magnetic circular dichroism movies (XMCD movies), which are often very noisy. In this situation the number of components of the state vector is extremely large (about 105), and the equation of motion for the dissipative magnetization dynamics (especially the values of the material parameters of this equation) is not well known. In the present paper it is shown by theoretical considerations that – nevertheless – there is no principle problem for the use of the Kalman filter to denoise XMCD movies of fast dissipative magnetization dynamics.

ei

Web DOI [BibTex]

Web DOI [BibTex]


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Artificial intelligence: Learning to see and act

Schölkopf, B.

Nature, News & Views, 518(7540):486-487, 2015 (article)

ei

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Context affects lightness at the level of surfaces

Maertens, M., Wichmann, F., Shapley, R.

Journal of Vision, 15(1):1-15, 2015 (article)

ei

Web PDF link (url) DOI [BibTex]

Web PDF link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Genome-wide analysis of local chromatin packing in Arabidopsis thaliana

Wang, C., Liu, C., Roqueiro, D., Grimm, D., Schwab, R., Becker, C., Lanz, C., Weigel, D.

Genome Research, 25(2):246-256, 2015 (article)

ei

PDF DOI [BibTex]

PDF DOI [BibTex]


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Segmentation-based attenuation correction in positron emission tomography/magnetic resonance: erroneous tissue identification and its impact on positron emission tomography interpretation

Brendle, C., Schmidt, H., Oergel, A., Bezrukov, I., Mueller, M., Schraml, C., Pfannenberg, C., la Fougère, C., Nikolaou, K., Schwenzer, N.

Investigative Radiology, 50(5):339-346, 2015 (article)

ei

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Active Reward Learning with a Novel Acquisition Function

Daniel, C., Kroemer, O., Viering, M., Metz, J., Peters, J.

Autonomous Robots, 39(3):389-405, 2015 (article)

am ei

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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A systematic search for transiting planets in the K2 data

Foreman-Mackey, D., Montet, B., Hogg, D., Morton, T., Wang, D., Schölkopf, B.

The Astrophysical Journal, 806(2), 2015 (article)

Abstract
Photometry of stars from the K2 extension of NASA’s Kepler mission is afflicted by systematic effects caused by small (few-pixel) drifts in the telescope pointing and other spacecraft issues. We present a method for searching K2 light curves for evidence of exoplanets by simultaneously fitting for these systematics and the transit signals of interest. This method is more computationally expensive than standard search algorithms but we demonstrate that it can be efficiently implemented and used to discover transit signals. We apply this method to the full Campaign 1 data set and report a list of 36 planet candidates transiting 31 stars, along with an analysis of the pipeline performance and detection efficiency based on artificial signal injections and recoveries. For all planet candidates, we present posterior distributions on the properties of each system based strictly on the transit observables.

ei

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Learning Movement Primitive Attractor Goals and Sequential Skills from Kinesthetic Demonstrations

Manschitz, S., Kober, J., Gienger, M., Peters, J.

Robotics and Autonomous Systems, 74, Part A, pages: 97-107, 2015 (article)

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Bayesian Optimization for Learning Gaits under Uncertainty

Calandra, R., Seyfarth, A., Peters, J., Deisenroth, M.

Annals of Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence, pages: 1-19, 2015 (article)

am ei

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Assessment of murine brain tissue shrinkage caused by different histological fixatives using magnetic resonance and computed tomography imaging

Wehrl, H. F., Bezrukov, I., Wiehr, S., Lehnhoff, M., Fuchs, K., Mannheim, J. G., Quintanilla-Martinez, L., Kneilling, M., Pichler, B. J., Sauter, A. W.

Histology and Histopathology, 30(5):601-613, 2015 (article)

ei

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Selectable Nanopattern Arrays for Nanolithographic Imprint and Etch-Mask Applications

Jeong, H. H., Mark, A. G., Lee, T., Son, K., Chen, W., Alarcon-Correa, M., Kim, I., Schütz, G., Fischer, P.

Adv. Science, 2(7):1500016, 2015, Featured cover article. (article)

Abstract
A parallel nanolithographic patterning method is presented that can be used to obtain arrays of multifunctional nanoparticles. These patterns can simply be converted into a variety of secondary nanopatterns that are useful for nanolithographic imprint, plasmonic, and etch-mask applications.

pf

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Improved Bayesian Information Criterion for Mixture Model Selection

Mehrjou, A., Hosseini, R., Araabi, B.

Pattern Recognition Letters, 69, pages: 22-27, 2015 (article)

ei

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Correlation matrix nearness and completion under observation uncertainty

Alaíz, C. M., Dinuzzo, F., Sra, S.

IMA Journal of Numerical Analysis, 35(1):325-340, 2015 (article)

ei

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Quantitative evaluation of segmentation- and atlas- based attenuation correction for PET/MR on pediatric patients

Bezrukov, I., Schmidt, H., Gatidis, S., Mantlik, F., Schäfer, J. F., Schwenzer, N., Pichler, B. J.

Journal of Nuclear Medicine, 56(7):1067-1074, 2015 (article)

ei

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Probabilistic numerics and uncertainty in computations

Hennig, P., Osborne, M. A., Girolami, M.

Proceedings of the Royal Society of London A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 471(2179), 2015 (article)

Abstract
We deliver a call to arms for probabilistic numerical methods: algorithms for numerical tasks, including linear algebra, integration, optimization and solving differential equations, that return uncertainties in their calculations. Such uncertainties, arising from the loss of precision induced by numerical calculation with limited time or hardware, are important for much contemporary science and industry. Within applications such as climate science and astrophysics, the need to make decisions on the basis of computations with large and complex data have led to a renewed focus on the management of numerical uncertainty. We describe how several seminal classic numerical methods can be interpreted naturally as probabilistic inference. We then show that the probabilistic view suggests new algorithms that can flexibly be adapted to suit application specifics, while delivering improved empirical performance. We provide concrete illustrations of the benefits of probabilistic numeric algorithms on real scientific problems from astrometry and astronomical imaging, while highlighting open problems with these new algorithms. Finally, we describe how probabilistic numerical methods provide a coherent framework for identifying the uncertainty in calculations performed with a combination of numerical algorithms (e.g. both numerical optimizers and differential equation solvers), potentially allowing the diagnosis (and control) of error sources in computations.

ei pn

PDF DOI [BibTex]

PDF DOI [BibTex]


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Mass and galaxy distributions of four massive galaxy clusters from Dark Energy Survey Science Verification data

Melchior, P., Suchyta, E., Huff, E., Hirsch, M., Kacprzak, T., Rykoff, E., Gruen, D., Armstrong, R., Bacon, D., Bechtol, K., others,

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 449(3):2219-2238, Oxford University Press, 2015 (article)

ei

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Kinematic and gait similarities between crawling human infants and other quadruped mammals

Righetti, L., Nylen, A., Rosander, K., Ijspeert, A.

Frontiers in Neurology, 6(17), February 2015 (article)

Abstract
Crawling on hands and knees is an early pattern of human infant locomotion, which offers an interesting way of studying quadrupedalism in one of its simplest form. We investigate how crawling human infants compare to other quadruped mammals, especially primates. We present quantitative data on both the gait and kinematics of seven 10-month-old crawling infants. Body movements were measured with an optoelectronic system giving precise data on 3-dimensional limb movements. Crawling on hands and knees is very similar to the locomotion of non-human primates in terms of the quite protracted arm at touch-down, the coordination between the spine movements in the lateral plane and the limbs, the relatively extended limbs during locomotion and the strong correlation between stance duration and speed of locomotion. However, there are important differences compared to primates, such as the choice of a lateral-sequence walking gait, which is similar to most non-primate mammals and the relatively stiff elbows during stance as opposed to the quite compliant gaits of primates. These finding raise the question of the role of both the mechanical structure of the body and neural control on the determination of these characteristics.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Entropic Movement Complexity Reflects Subjective Creativity Rankings of Visualized Hand Motion Trajectories

Peng, Z, Braun, DA

Frontiers in Psychology, 6(1879):1-13, December 2015 (article)

Abstract
In a previous study we have shown that human motion trajectories can be characterized by translating continuous trajectories into symbol sequences with well-defined complexity measures. Here we test the hypothesis that the motion complexity individuals generate in their movements might be correlated to the degree of creativity assigned by a human observer to the visualized motion trajectories. We asked participants to generate 55 novel hand movement patterns in virtual reality, where each pattern had to be repeated 10 times in a row to ensure reproducibility. This allowed us to estimate a probability distribution over trajectories for each pattern. We assessed motion complexity not only by the previously proposed complexity measures on symbolic sequences, but we also propose two novel complexity measures that can be directly applied to the distributions over trajectories based on the frameworks of Gaussian Processes and Probabilistic Movement Primitives. In contrast to previous studies, these new methods allow computing complexities of individual motion patterns from very few sample trajectories. We compared the different complexity measures to how a group of independent jurors rank ordered the recorded motion trajectories according to their personal creativity judgment. We found three entropic complexity measures that correlate significantly with human creativity judgment and discuss differences between the measures. We also test whether these complexity measures correlate with individual creativity in divergent thinking tasks, but do not find any consistent correlation. Our results suggest that entropic complexity measures of hand motion may reveal domain-specific individual differences in kinesthetic creativity.

ei

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Bounded rationality, abstraction and hierarchical decision-making: an information-theoretic optimality principle

Genewein, T, Leibfried, F, Grau-Moya, J, Braun, DA

Frontiers in Robotics and AI, 2(27):1-24, October 2015 (article)

Abstract
Abstraction and hierarchical information-processing are hallmarks of human and animal intelligence underlying the unrivaled flexibility of behavior in biological systems. Achieving such a flexibility in artificial systems is challenging, even with more and more computational power. Here we investigate the hypothesis that abstraction and hierarchical information-processing might in fact be the consequence of limitations in information-processing power. In particular, we study an information-theoretic framework of bounded rational decision-making that trades off utility maximization against information-processing costs. We apply the basic principle of this framework to perception-action systems with multiple information-processing nodes and derive bounded optimal solutions. We show how the formation of abstractions and decision-making hierarchies depends on information-processing costs. We illustrate the theoretical ideas with example simulations and conclude by formalizing a mathematically unifying optimization principle that could potentially be extended to more complex systems.

ei

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Signaling equilibria in sensorimotor interactions

Leibfried, F, Grau-Moya, J, Braun, DA

Cognition, 141, pages: 73-86, August 2015 (article)

Abstract
Although complex forms of communication like human language are often assumed to have evolved out of more simple forms of sensorimotor signaling, less attention has been devoted to investigate the latter. Here, we study communicative sensorimotor behavior of humans in a two-person joint motor task where each player controls one dimension of a planar motion. We designed this joint task as a game where one player (the sender) possesses private information about a hidden target the other player (the receiver) wants to know about, and where the sender's actions are costly signals that influence the receiver's control strategy. We developed a game-theoretic model within the framework of signaling games to investigate whether subjects' behavior could be adequately described by the corresponding equilibrium solutions. The model predicts both separating and pooling equilibria, in which signaling does and does not occur respectively. We observed both kinds of equilibria in subjects and found that, in line with model predictions, the propensity of signaling decreased with increasing signaling costs and decreasing uncertainty on the part of the receiver. Our study demonstrates that signaling games, which have previously been applied to economic decision-making and animal communication, provide a framework for human signaling behavior arising during sensorimotor interactions in continuous and dynamic environments.

ei

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Structure Learning in Bayesian Sensorimotor Integration

Genewein, T, Hez, E, Razzaghpanah, Z, Braun, DA

PLoS Computational Biology, 11(8):1-27, August 2015 (article)

Abstract
Previous studies have shown that sensorimotor processing can often be described by Bayesian learning, in particular the integration of prior and feedback information depending on its degree of reliability. Here we test the hypothesis that the integration process itself can be tuned to the statistical structure of the environment. We exposed human participants to a reaching task in a three-dimensional virtual reality environment where we could displace the visual feedback of their hand position in a two dimensional plane. When introducing statistical structure between the two dimensions of the displacement, we found that over the course of several days participants adapted their feedback integration process in order to exploit this structure for performance improvement. In control experiments we found that this adaptation process critically depended on performance feedback and could not be induced by verbal instructions. Our results suggest that structural learning is an important meta-learning component of Bayesian sensorimotor integration.

ei

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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A Reward-Maximizing Spiking Neuron as a Bounded Rational Decision Maker

Leibfried, F, Braun, DA

Neural Computation, 27(8):1686-1720, July 2015 (article)

Abstract
Rate distortion theory describes how to communicate relevant information most efficiently over a channel with limited capacity. One of the many applications of rate distortion theory is bounded rational decision making, where decision makers are modeled as information channels that transform sensory input into motor output under the constraint that their channel capacity is limited. Such a bounded rational decision maker can be thought to optimize an objective function that trades off the decision maker's utility or cumulative reward against the information processing cost measured by the mutual information between sensory input and motor output. In this study, we interpret a spiking neuron as a bounded rational decision maker that aims to maximize its expected reward under the computational constraint that the mutual information between the neuron's input and output is upper bounded. This abstract computational constraint translates into a penalization of the deviation between the neuron's instantaneous and average firing behavior. We derive a synaptic weight update rule for such a rate distortion optimizing neuron and show in simulations that the neuron efficiently extracts reward-relevant information from the input by trading off its synaptic strengths against the collected reward.

ei

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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What is epistemic value in free energy models of learning and acting? A bounded rationality perspective

Ortega, PA, Braun, DA

Cognitive Neuroscience, 6(4):215-216, December 2015 (article)

Abstract
Free energy models of learning and acting do not only care about utility or extrinsic value, but also about intrinsic value, that is, the information value stemming from probability distributions that represent beliefs or strategies. While these intrinsic values can be interpreted as epistemic values or exploration bonuses under certain conditions, the framework of bounded rationality offers a complementary interpretation in terms of information-processing costs that we discuss here.

ei

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]

2014


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Nanopropellers and Their Actuation in Complex Viscoelastic Media

Schamel, D., Mark, A. G., Gibbs, J. G., Miksch, C., Morozov, K. I., Leshansky, A. M., Fischer, P.

ACS Nano, 8(9):8794-8801, June 2014, Featured cover article. (article)

Abstract
Tissue and biological fluids are complex viscoelastic media with a nanoporous macromolecular structure. Here, we demonstrate that helical nanopropellers can be controllably steered through such a biological gel. The screw-propellers have a filament diameter of about 70 nm and are smaller than previously reported nanopropellers as well as any swimming microorganism. We show that the nanoscrews will move through high-viscosity solutions with comparable velocities to that of larger micropropellers, even though they are so small that Brownian forces suppress their actuation in pure water. When actuated in viscoelastic hyaluronan gels, the nanopropellers appear to have a significant advantage, as they are of the same size range as the gel’s mesh size. Whereas larger helices will show very low or negligible propulsion in hyaluronan solutions, the nanoscrews actually display significantly enhanced propulsion velocities that exceed the highest measured speeds in Newtonian fluids. The nanopropellers are not only promising for applications in the extracellular environment but small enough to be taken up by cells.

Featured cover article.

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Video - Helical Micro and Nanopropellers for Applications in Biological Fluidic Environments link (url) DOI [BibTex]