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2010


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Reinforcement Learning by Relative Entropy Policy Search

Peters, J., Mülling, K., Altun, Y.

30th International Workshop on Bayesian Inference and Maximum Entropy Methods in Science and Engineering (MaxEnt 2010), 30, pages: 69, July 2010 (poster)

Abstract
Policy search is a successful approach to reinforcement learning. However, policy improvements often result in the loss of information. Hence, it has been marred by premature convergence and implausible solutions. As first suggested in the context of covariant policy gradients, many of these problems may be addressed by constraining the information loss. In this book chapter, we continue this path of reasoning and suggest the Relative Entropy Policy Search (REPS) method. The resulting method differs significantly from previous policy gradient approaches and yields an exact update step. It works well on typical reinforcement learning benchmark problems. We will also present a real-world applications where a robot employs REPS to learn how to return balls in a game of table tennis.

PDF [BibTex]

2010

PDF [BibTex]


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Cooperative Cuts: Graph Cuts with Submodular Edge Weights

Jegelka, S., Bilmes, J.

24th European Conference on Operational Research (EURO XXIV), July 2010 (talk)

Abstract
We introduce cooperative cut, a minimum cut problem whose cost is a submodular function on sets of edges: the cost of an edge that is added to a cut set depends on the edges in the set. Applications are e.g. in probabilistic graphical models and image processing. We prove NP hardness and a polynomial lower bound on the approximation factor, and upper bounds via four approximation algorithms based on different techniques. Our additional heuristics have attractive practical properties, e.g., to rely only on standard min-cut. Both our algorithms and heuristics appear to do well in practice.

PDF Web [BibTex]

PDF Web [BibTex]


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A Maximum Entropy Approach to Semi-supervised Learning

Erkan, A., Altun, Y.

30th International Workshop on Bayesian Inference and Maximum Entropy Methods in Science and Engineering (MaxEnt 2010), 30, pages: 80, July 2010 (poster)

Abstract
Maximum entropy (MaxEnt) framework has been studied extensively in supervised learning. Here, the goal is to find a distribution p that maximizes an entropy function while enforcing data constraints so that the expected values of some (pre-defined) features with respect to p match their empirical counterparts approximately. Using different entropy measures, different model spaces for p and different approximation criteria for the data constraints yields a family of discriminative supervised learning methods (e.g., logistic regression, conditional random fields, least squares and boosting). This framework is known as the generalized maximum entropy framework. Semi-supervised learning (SSL) has emerged in the last decade as a promising field that combines unlabeled data along with labeled data so as to increase the accuracy and robustness of inference algorithms. However, most SSL algorithms to date have had trade-offs, e.g., in terms of scalability or applicability to multi-categorical data. We extend the generalized MaxEnt framework to develop a family of novel SSL algorithms. Extensive empirical evaluation on benchmark data sets that are widely used in the literature demonstrates the validity and competitiveness of the proposed algorithms.

PDF PDF [BibTex]

PDF PDF [BibTex]


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The effect of positioning aids on PET quantification following MR-based attenuation correction (AC) in PET/MR imaging

Mantlik, F., Hofmann, M., Kupferschläger, J., Werner, M., Pichler, B., Beyer, T.

Journal of Nuclear Medicine, 51(Supplement 2):1418 , June 2010 (poster)

Abstract
Objectives: We study the quantitative effect of not accounting for the attenuation of patient positioning aids in combined PET/MR imaging. Methods: Positioning aids cannot be detected with conventional MR sequences. We mimic this effect using PET/CT data (Biograph HiRez16) with the foams removed from CT images prior to using them for CT-AC. PET/CT data were acquired using standard parameters (phantoms/patients): 120/140 kVp, 30/250 mAs, 5 mm slices, OSEM (4i, 8s, 5 mm filter) following CT-AC. First, a uniform 68Ge-cylinder was positioned centrally in the PET/CT and fixed with a vacuum mattress (10 cm thick). Second, the same cylinder was placed in 3 positioning aids from the PET/MR (BrainPET-3T). Third, 5 head/neck patients who were fixed in a vacuum mattress were selected. In all 3 studies PET recon post CT-AC based on measured CT images was used as the reference (mCT-AC). The PET/MR set-up was mimicked by segmenting the foam inserts from the measured CT images and setting their voxel values to -1000 HU (air). PET images were reconstructed using CT-AC with the segmented CT images (sCT-AC). PET images with mCT- and sCT-AC were compared. Results: sCT-AC underestimated PET voxel values in the phantom by 6.7% on average compared to mCT-AC with the vacuum mattress in place. 5% of the PET voxels were underestimated by >=10%. Not accounting for MR positioning aids during AC led to an underestimation of 2.8% following sCT-AC, with 5% of the PET voxels being underestimated by >=7% wrt mCT-AC. Preliminary evaluation of the patient data indicates a slightly higher bias from not accounting for patient positioning aids (mean: -9.1%, 5% percentile: -11.2%). Conclusions: A considerable and regionally variable underestimation of the PET activity following AC is observed when positioning aids are not accounted for. This bias may become relevant in neurological activation or dementia studies with PET/MR

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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Multi-task Learning for Zero Training Brain-Computer Interfaces

Alamgir, M., Grosse-Wentrup, M., Altun, Y.

4th International BCI Meeting, June 2010 (poster)

Abstract
Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) are limited in their applicability in everyday settings by the current necessity to record subject-specific calibration data prior to actual use of the BCI for communication. In this work, we utilize the framework of multitask learning to construct a BCI that can be used without any subject-specific calibration process, i.e., with zero training data. In BCIs based on EEG or MEG, the predictive function of a subject's intention is commonly modeled as a linear combination of some features derived from spatial and spectral recordings. The coefficients of this combination correspond to the importance of the features for predicting the intention of the subject. These coefficients are usually learned separately for each subject due to inter-subject variability. Principle feature characteristics, however, are known to remain invariant across subject. For example, it is well known that in motor imagery paradigms spectral power in the mu- and beta frequency ranges (roughly 8-14 Hz and 20-30 Hz, respectively) over sensorimotor areas provides most information on a subject's intention. Based on this assumption, we define the intention prediction function as a combination of subject-invariant and subject-specific models, and propose a machine learning method that infers these models jointly using data from multiple subjects. This framework leads to an out-of-the-box intention predictor, where the subject-invariant model can be employed immediately for a subject with no prior data. We present a computationally efficient method to further improve this BCI to incorporate subject-specific variations as such data becomes available. To overcome the problem of high dimensional feature spaces in this context, we further present a new method for finding the relevance of different recording channels according to actions performed by subjects. Usually, the BCI feature representation is a concatenation of spectral features extracted from different channels. This representation, however, is redundant, as recording channels at different spatial locations typically measure overlapping sources within the brain due to volume conduction. We address this problem by assuming that the relevance of different spectral bands is invariant across channels, while learning different weights for each recording electrode. This framework allows us to significantly reduce the feature space dimensionality without discarding potentially useful information. Furthermore, the resulting out-of-the-box BCI can be adapted to different experimental setups, for example EEG caps with different numbers of channels, as long as there exists a mapping across channels in different setups. We demonstrate the feasibility of our approach on a set of experimental EEG data recorded during a standard two-class motor imagery paradigm from a total of ten healthy subjects. Specifically, we show that satisfactory classification results can be achieved with zero training data, and that combining prior recordings with subject-specific calibration data substantially outperforms using subject-specific data only.

Web [BibTex]


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Causal Influence of Gamma Oscillations on Performance in Brain-Computer Interfaces

Grosse-Wentrup, M., Hill, J., Schölkopf, B.

4th International BCI Meeting0, June 2010 (poster)

Abstract
Background and Objective: While machine learning approaches have led to tremendous advances in brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) in recent years (cf. [1]), there still exists a large variation in performance across subjects. Furthermore, a significant proportion of subjects appears incapable of achieving above chance-level classification accuracy [2], which to date includes all subjects in a completely locked-in state that have been trained in BCI control. Understanding the reasons for this variation in performance arguably constitutes one of the most fundamental open questions in research on BCIs. Methods & Results Using a machine learning approach, we derive a trial-wise measure of how well EEG recordings can be classified as either left- or right-hand motor imagery. Specifically, we train a support vector machine (SVM) on log-bandpower features (7-40 Hz) derived from EEG channels after spatial filtering with a surface Laplacian, and then compute the trial-wise distance of the output of the SVM from the separating hyperplane using a cross-validation procedure. We then correlate this trial-wise performance measure, computed on EEG recordings of ten healthy subjects, with log-bandpower in the gamma frequency range (55-85 Hz), and demonstrate that it is positively correlated with frontal- and occipital gamma-power and negatively correlated with centro-parietal gamma-power. This correlation is shown to be highly significant on the group level as well as in six out of ten subjects on the single-subject level. We then utilize the framework for causal inference developed by Pearl, Spirtes and others [3,4] to present evidence that gamma-power is not only correlated with BCI performance but does indeed exert a causal influence on it. Discussion and Conclusions Our results indicate that successful execution of motor imagery, and hence reliable communication by means of a BCI based on motor imagery, requires a volitional shift of gamma-power from centro-parietal to frontal and occipital regions. As such, our results provide the first non-trivial explanation for the variation in BCI performance across and within subjects. As this topographical alteration in gamma-power is likely to correspond to a specific attentional shift, we propose to provide subjects with feedback on their topographical distribution of gamma-power in order to establish the attentional state required for successful execution of motor imagery.

Web [BibTex]


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Solving large-scale nonnegative least-squares

Sra, S.

16th Conference of the International Linear Algebra Society (ILAS 2010), 16, pages: 19, June 2010, based on Joint work with Dongmin Kim and Inderjit Dhillon (poster)

Abstract
We study the fundamental problem of nonnegative least squares. This problem was apparently introduced by Lawson and Hanson [1] under the name NNLS. As is evident from its name, NNLS seeks least-squares solutions that are also nonnegative. Owing to its wide-applicability numerous algorithms have been derived for NNLS, beginning from the active-set approach of Lawson and Hanson [1] leading up to the sophisticated interior-point method of Bellavia et al. [2]. We present a new algorithm for NNLS that combines projected subgradients with the non-monotonic gradient descent idea of Barzilai and Borwein [3]. Our resulting algorithm is called BBSG, and we guarantee its convergence by exploiting properties of NNLS in conjunction with projected subgradients. BBSG is surprisingly simple and scales well to large problems. We substantiate our claims by empirically evaluating BBSG and comparing it with established convex solvers and specialized NNLS algorithms. The numerical results suggest that BBSG is a practical method for solving large-scale NNLS problems.

PDF Web [BibTex]

PDF Web [BibTex]


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Simultaneous PET/MRI for the evaluation of hemato-oncological diseases with lower extremity manifestations

Sauter, A., Horger, M., Boss, A., Kolb, A., Mantlik, F., Kanz, L., Pfannenberg, C., Stegger, L., Claussen, C., Pichler, B.

Journal of Nuclear Medicine, 51(Supplement 2):1001 , June 2010 (poster)

Abstract
Objectives: The study purpose is the evaluation of patients, suffering from hemato-oncological disease with complications at the lower extremities, using simultaneous PET/MRI. Methods: Until now two patients (chronic active graft-versus-host-disease [GvHD], B-non Hodgkin lymphoma [B-NHL]) before and after therapy were examined in a 3-Tesla-BrainPET/MRI hybrid system following F-18-FDG-PET/CT. Simultaneous static PET (1200 sec.) and MRI scans (T1WI, T2WI, post-CA) were acquired. Results: Initial results show the feasibility of using hybrid PET/MRI-technology for musculoskeletal imaging of the lower extremities. Simultaneous PET and MRI could be acquired in diagnostic quality. Before treatment our patient with GvHD had a high fascia and muscle FDG uptake, possibly due to muscle encasement. T2WI and post gadolinium T1WI revealed a fascial thickening and signs of inflammation. After therapy with steroids followed by imatinib the patient’s symptoms improved while, the muscular FDG uptake droped whereas the MRI signal remained unchanged. We assume that fascial elasticity improved during therapy despite persistance of fascial thickening. The examination of the second patient with B-NHL manifestation in the tibia showed a significant signal and uptake decrease in the bone marrow and surrounding lesions in both, MRI and PET after therapy with rituximab. The lack of residual FDG-uptake proved superior to MRI information alone helping for exclusion of vital tumor. Conclusions: Combined PET/MRI is a powerful tool to monitor diseases requiring high soft tissue contrast along with molecular information from the FDG uptake.

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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Solving Large-Scale Nonnegative Least Squares

Sra, S.

16th Conference of the International Linear Algebra Society (ILAS), June 2010 (talk)

Abstract
We study the fundamental problem of nonnegative least squares. This problem was apparently introduced by Lawson and Hanson [1] under the name NNLS. As is evident from its name, NNLS seeks least-squares solutions that are also nonnegative. Owing to its wide-applicability numerous algorithms have been derived for NNLS, beginning from the active-set approach of Lawson and Han- son [1] leading up to the sophisticated interior-point method of Bellavia et al. [2]. We present a new algorithm for NNLS that combines projected subgradients with the non-monotonic gradient descent idea of Barzilai and Borwein [3]. Our resulting algorithm is called BBSG, and we guarantee its convergence by ex- ploiting properties of NNLS in conjunction with projected subgradients. BBSG is surprisingly simple and scales well to large problems. We substantiate our claims by empirically evaluating BBSG and comparing it with established con- vex solvers and specialized NNLS algorithms. The numerical results suggest that BBSG is a practical method for solving large-scale NNLS problems.

PDF PDF [BibTex]

PDF PDF [BibTex]


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Matrix Approximation Problems

Sra, S.

EU Regional School: Rheinisch-Westf{\"a}lische Technische Hochschule Aachen, May 2010 (talk)

PDF AVI [BibTex]

PDF AVI [BibTex]


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BCI2000 and Python

Hill, NJ.

Invited lecture at the 7th International BCI2000 Workshop, Pacific Grove, CA, USA, May 2010 (talk)

Abstract
A tutorial, with exercises, on how to integrate your own Python code with the BCI2000 realtime software package.

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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Extending BCI2000 Functionality with Your Own C++ Code

Hill, NJ.

Invited lecture at the 7th International BCI2000 Workshop, Pacific Grove, CA, USA, May 2010 (talk)

Abstract
A tutorial, with exercises, on how to use BCI2000 C++ framework to write your own real-time signal-processing modules.

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Solving large-scale nonnegative least squares using an adaptive non-monotonic method

Sra, S., Kim, D., Dhillon, I.

24th European Conference on Operational Research (EURO 2010), 24, pages: 223, April 2010 (poster)

Abstract
We present an efficient algorithm for large-scale non-negative least-squares (NNLS). We solve NNLS by extending the unconstrained quadratic optimization method of Barzilai and Borwein (BB) to handle nonnegativity constraints. Our approach is simple yet efficient. It differs from other constrained BB variants as: (i) it uses a specific subset of variables for computing BB steps; and (ii) it scales these steps adaptively to ensure convergence. We compare our method with both established convex solvers and specialized NNLS methods, and observe highly competitive empirical performance.

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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Sparse regression via a trust-region proximal method

Kim, D., Sra, S., Dhillon, I.

24th European Conference on Operational Research (EURO 2010), 24, pages: 278, April 2010 (poster)

Abstract
We present a method for sparse regression problems. Our method is based on the nonsmooth trust-region framework that minimizes a sum of smooth convex functions and a nonsmooth convex regularizer. By employing a separable quadratic approximation to the smooth part, the method enables the use of proximity operators, which in turn allow tackling the nonsmooth part efficiently. We illustrate our method by implementing it for three important sparse regression problems. In experiments with synthetic and real-world large-scale data, our method is seen to be competitive, robust, and scalable.

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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Machine-Learning Methods for Decoding Intentional Brain States

Hill, NJ.

Symposium "Non-Invasive Brain Computer Interfaces: Current Developments and Applications" (BIOMAG), March 2010 (talk)

Abstract
Brain-computer interfaces (BCI) work by making the user perform a specific mental task, such as imagining moving body parts or performing some other covert mental activity, or attending to a particular stimulus out of an array of options, in order to encode their intention into a measurable brain signal. Signal-processing and machine-learning techniques are then used to decode the measured signal to identify the encoded mental state and hence extract the user‘s initial intention. The high-noise high-dimensional nature of brain-signals make robust decoding techniques a necessity. Generally, the approach has been to use relatively simple feature extraction techniques, such as template matching and band-power estimation, coupled to simple linear classifiers. This has led to a prevailing view among applied BCI researchers that (sophisticated) machine-learning is irrelevant since “it doesn‘t matter what classifier you use once your features are extracted.” Using examples from our own MEG and EEG experiments, I‘ll demonstrate how machine-learning principles can be applied in order to improve BCI performance, if they are formulated in a domain-specific way. The result is a type of data-driven analysis that is more than “just” classification, and can be used to find better feature extractors.

PDF Web [BibTex]

PDF Web [BibTex]


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PAC-Bayesian Analysis in Unsupervised Learning

Seldin, Y.

Foundations and New Trends of PAC Bayesian Learning Workshop, March 2010 (talk)

PDF Web [BibTex]

PDF Web [BibTex]


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PAC-Bayesian Bounds for Discrete Density Estimation and Co-clustering Analysis

Seldin, Y., Tishby, N.

Workshop "Foundations and New Trends of PAC Bayesian Learning", 2010, March 2010 (poster)

Abstract
We applied PAC-Bayesian framework to derive gen- eralization bounds for co-clustering1. The analysis yielded regularization terms that were absent in the preceding formulations of this task. The bounds sug- gested that co-clustering should optimize a trade-off between its empirical performance and the mutual in- formation that the cluster variables preserve on row and column indices. Proper regularization enabled us to achieve state-of-the-art results in prediction of the missing ratings in the MovieLens collaborative filtering dataset. In addition a PAC-Bayesian bound for discrete den- sity estimation was derived. We have shown that the PAC-Bayesian bound for classification is a spe- cial case of the PAC-Bayesian bound for discrete den- sity estimation. We further introduced combinatorial priors to PAC-Bayesian analysis. The combinatorial priors are more appropriate for discrete domains, as opposed to Gaussian priors, the latter of which are suitable for continuous domains. It was shown that combinatorial priors lead to regularization terms in the form of mutual information.

PDF Web [BibTex]

PDF Web [BibTex]


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Learning Motor Primitives for Robotics

Kober, J., Peters, J.

EVENT Lab: Reinforcement Learning in Robotics and Virtual Reality, January 2010 (talk)

Abstract
The acquisition and self-improvement of novel motor skills is among the most important problems in robotics. Motor primitives offer one of the most promising frameworks for the application of machine learning techniques in this context. Employing the Dynamic Systems Motor primitives originally introduced by Ijspeert et al. (2003), appropriate learning algorithms for a concerted approach of both imitation and reinforcement learning are presented. Using these algorithms new motor skills, i.e., Ball-in-a-Cup, Ball-Paddling and Dart-Throwing, are learned.

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Learning the Reward Model of Dialogue POMDPs

Boularias, A., Chinaei, H., Chaib-Draa, B.

NIPS Workshop on Machine Learning for Assistive Technology (MLAT-2010), 2010 (poster)

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Erste Erfahrungen bei der Beurteilung hämato-onkologischer Krankheitsmanifestationen an den Extremitäten mit einem PET/MRT-Hybridsystem.

Sauter, A., Boss, A., Kolb, A., Mantlik, F., Bethge, W., Kanz, L., Pfannenberg, C., Stegger, L., Pichler, B., Claussen, C., Horger, M.

Thieme Verlag, Stuttgart, Germany, 91. Deutscher R{\"o}ntgenkongress, 2010 (poster)

Web DOI [BibTex]

Web DOI [BibTex]

2002


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Surface-slant-from-texture discrimination: Effects of slant level and texture type

Rosas, P., Wichmann, F., Wagemans, J.

Journal of Vision, 2(7):300, Second Annual Meeting of the Vision Sciences Society (VSS), November 2002 (poster)

Abstract
The problem of surface-slant-from-texture was studied psychophysically by measuring the performances of five human subjects in a slant-discrimination task with a number of different types of textures: uniform lattices, randomly displaced lattices, polka dots, Voronoi tessellations, orthogonal sinusoidal plaid patterns, fractal or 1/f noise, “coherent” noise and a “diffusion-based” texture (leopard skin-like). The results show: (1) Improving performance with larger slants for all textures. (2) A “non-symmetrical” performance around a particular slant characterized by a psychometric function that is steeper in the direction of the more slanted orientation. (3) For sufficiently large slants (66 deg) there are no major differences in performance between any of the different textures. (4) For slants at 26, 37 and 53 degrees, however, there are marked differences between the different textures. (5) The observed differences in performance across textures for slants up to 53 degrees are systematic within subjects, and nearly so across them. This allows a rank-order of textures to be formed according to their “helpfulness” — that is, how easy the discrimination task is when a particular texture is mapped on the surface. Polka dots tended to allow the best slant discrimination performance, noise patterns the worst up to the large slant of 66 degrees at which performance was almost independent of the particular texture chosen. Finally, our large number of 2AFC trials (approximately 2800 trials per texture across subjects) and associated tight confidence intervals may enable us to find out about which statistical properties of the textures could be responsible for surface-slant-from-texture estimation, with the ultimate goal of being able to predict observer performance for any arbitrary texture.

Web DOI [BibTex]

2002

Web DOI [BibTex]


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Modelling Contrast Transfer in Spatial Vision

Wichmann, F.

Journal of Vision, 2(10):7, Second Annual Meeting of the Vision Sciences Society (VSS), November 2002 (poster)

Abstract
Much of our information about spatial vision comes from detection experiments involving low-contrast stimuli. Contrast discrimination experiments provide one way to explore the visual system's response to stimuli of higher contrast, the results of which allow different models of contrast processing (e.g. energy versus gain-control models) to be critically assessed (Wichmann & Henning, 1999). Studies of detection and discrimination using pulse train stimuli in noise, on the other hand, make predictions about the number, position and properties of noise sources within the processing stream (Henning, Bird & Wichmann, 2002). Here I report modelling results combining data from both sinusoidal and pulse train experiments in and without noise to arrive at a more tightly constrained model of early spatial vision.

Web DOI [BibTex]

Web DOI [BibTex]


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Pulse train detection and discrimination in pink noise

Henning, G., Wichmann, F., Bird, C.

Journal of Vision, 2(7):229, Second Annual Meeting of the Vision Sciences Society (VSS), November 2002 (poster)

Abstract
Much of our information about spatial vision comes from detection experiments involving low-contrast stimuli. Contrast discrimination experiments provide one way to explore the visual system's response to stimuli of higher contrast. We explored both detection and contrast discrimination performance with sinusoidal and "pulse-train" (or line) gratings. Both types of grating had a fundamental spatial frequency of 2.09-c/deg but the pulse-train, ideally, contains, in addition to its fundamental component, all the harmonics of the fundamental. Although the 2.09-c/deg pulse-train produced on the display was measured and shown to contain at least 8 harmonics at equal contrast, it was no more detectable than its most detectable component; no benefit from having additional information at the harmonics was measurable. The addition of broadband "pink" noise, designed to equalize the detectability of the components of the pulse train, made it about a factor of four more detectable than any of its components. However, in contrast-discrimination experiments, with an in-phase pedestal or masking grating of the same form and phase as the signal and 15% contrast, the noise did not improve the discrimination performance of the pulse train relative to that of its sinusoidal components. In contrast, a 2.09-c/deg "super train," constructed to have 8 equally detectable harmonics, was a factor of five more detectable than any of its components. We discuss the implications of these observations for models of early vision in particular the implications for possible sources of internal noise.

Web DOI [BibTex]

Web DOI [BibTex]


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Phase information in the recognition of natural images

Braun, D., Wichmann, F., Gegenfurtner, K.

Perception, 31(ECVP Abstract Supplement):133, 25th European Conference on Visual Perception, August 2002 (poster)

Abstract
Fourier phase plays an important role in determining global image structure. For example, when the phase spectrum of an image of a flower is swapped with that of a tank, we usually perceive a tank, even though the amplitude spectrum is still that of the flower. Similarly, when the phase spectrum of an image is randomly swapped across frequencies, that is its Fourier energy is randomly distributed over the image, the resulting image becomes impossible to recognise. Our goal was to evaluate the effect of phase manipulations in a quantitative manner. Subjects viewed two images of natural scenes, one of which contained an animal (the target) embedded in the background. The spectra of the images were manipulated by adding random phase noise at each frequency. The phase noise was the independent variable, uniformly distributed between 0° and ±180°. Subjects were remarkably resistant to phase noise. Even with ±120° noise, subjects were still 75% correct. The proportion of correct answers closely followed the correlation between original and noise-distorted images. Thus it appears as if it was not the global phase information per se that determines our percept of natural images, but rather the effect of phase on local image features.

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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Detection and discrimination in pink noise

Wichmann, F., Henning, G.

5, pages: 100, 5. T{\"u}binger Wahrnehmungskonferenz (TWK), February 2002 (poster)

Abstract
Much of our information about early spatial vision comes from detection experiments involving low-contrast stimuli, which are not, perhaps, particularly "natural" stimuli. Contrast discrimination experiments provide one way to explore the visual system's response to stimuli of higher contrast whilst keeping the number of unknown parameters comparatively small. We explored both detection and contrast discrimination performance with sinusoidal and "pulse-train" (or line) gratings. Both types of grating had a fundamental spatial frequency of 2.09-c/deg but the pulse-train, ideally, contains, in addition to its fundamental component, all the harmonics of the fundamental. Although the 2.09-c/deg pulse-train produced on our display was measured using a high-performance digital camera (Photometrics) and shown to contain at least 8 harmonics at equal contrast, it was no more detectable than its most detectable component; no benefit from having additional information at the harmonics was measurable. The addition of broadband 1-D "pink" noise made it about a factor of four more detectable than any of its components. However, in contrast-discrimination experiments, with an in-phase pedestal or masking grating of the same form and phase as the signal and 15% contrast, the noise did not improve the discrimination performance of the pulse train relative to that of its sinusoidal components. We discuss the implications of these observations for models of early vision in particular the implications for possible sources of internal noise.

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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Application of Monte Carlo Methods to Psychometric Function Fitting

Wichmann, F.

Proceedings of the 33rd European Conference on Mathematical Psychology, pages: 44, 2002 (poster)

Abstract
The psychometric function relates an observer's performance to an independent variable, usually some physical quantity of a stimulus in a psychophysical task. Here I describe methods to (1) fitting psychometric functions, (2) assessing goodness-of-fit, and (3) providing confidence intervals for the function's parameters and other estimates derived from them. First I describe a constrained maximum-likelihood method for parameter estimation. Using Monte-Carlo simulations I demonstrate that it is important to have a fitting method that takes stimulus-independent errors (or "lapses") into account. Second, a number of goodness-of-fit tests are introduced. Because psychophysical data sets are usually rather small I advocate the use of Monte Carlo resampling techniques that do not rely on asymptotic theory for goodness-of-fit assessment. Third, a parametric bootstrap is employed to estimate the variability of fitted parameters and derived quantities such as thresholds and slopes. I describe how the bootstrap bridging assumption, on which the validity of the procedure depends, can be tested without incurring too high a cost in computation time. Finally I describe how the methods can be extended to test hypotheses concerning the form and shape of several psychometric functions. Software describing the methods is available (http://www.bootstrap-software.com/psignifit/), as well as articles describing the methods in detail (Wichmann&Hill, Perception&Psychophysics, 2001a,b).

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Optimal linear estimation of self-motion - a real-world test of a model of fly tangential neurons

Franz, MO.

SAB 02 Workshop, Robotics as theoretical biology, 7th meeting of the International Society for Simulation of Adaptive Behaviour (SAB), (Editors: Prescott, T.; Webb, B.), 2002 (poster)

Abstract
The tangential neurons in the fly brain are sensitive to the typical optic flow patterns generated during self-motion (see example in Fig.1). We examine whether a simplified linear model of these neurons can be used to estimate self-motion from the optic flow. We present a theory for the construction of an optimal linear estimator incorporating prior knowledge both about the distance distribution of the environment, and about the noise and self-motion statistics of the sensor. The optimal estimator is tested on a gantry carrying an omnidirectional vision sensor that can be moved along three translational and one rotational degree of freedom. The experiments indicate that the proposed approach yields accurate results for rotation estimates, independently of the current translation and scene layout. Translation estimates, however, turned out to be sensitive to simultaneous rotation and to the particular distance distribution of the scene. The gantry experiments confirm that the receptive field organization of the tangential neurons allows them, as an ensemble, to extract self-motion from the optic flow.

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]