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2006


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Classifying EEG and ECoG Signals without Subject Training for Fast BCI Implementation: Comparison of Non-Paralysed and Completely Paralysed Subjects

Hill, N., Lal, T., Schröder, M., Hinterberger, T., Wilhelm, B., Nijboer, F., Mochty, U., Widman, G., Elger, C., Schölkopf, B., Kübler, A., Birbaumer, N.

IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, 14(2):183-186, June 2006 (article)

Abstract
We summarize results from a series of related studies that aim to develop a motor-imagery-based brain-computer interface using a single recording session of EEG or ECoG signals for each subject. We apply the same experimental and analytical methods to 11 non-paralysed subjects (8 EEG, 3 ECoG), and to 5 paralysed subjects (4 EEG, 1 ECoG) who had been unable to communicate for some time. While it was relatively easy to obtain classifiable signals quickly from most of the non-paralysed subjects, it proved impossible to classify the signals obtained from the paralysed patients by the same methods. This highlights the fact that though certain BCI paradigms may work well with healthy subjects, this does not necessarily indicate success with the target user group. We outline possible reasons for this failure to transfer.

PDF PDF DOI [BibTex]

2006

PDF PDF DOI [BibTex]


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SCARNA: Fast and Accurate Structural Alignment of RNA Sequences by Matching Fixed-Length Stem Fragments

Tabei, Y., Tsuda, K., Kin, T., Asai, K.

Bioinformatics, 22(14):1723-1729, May 2006 (article)

Abstract
The functions of non-coding RNAs are strongly related to their secondary structures, but it is known that a secondary structure prediction of a single sequence is not reliable. Therefore, we have to collect similar RNA sequences with a common secondary structure for the analyses of a new non-coding RNA without knowing the exact secondary structure itself. Therefore, the sequence comparison in searching similar RNAs should consider not only their sequence similarities but their potential secondary structures. Sankoff‘s algorithm predicts the common secondary structures of the sequences, but it is computationally too expensive to apply to large-scale analyses. Because we often want to compare a large number of cDNA sequences or to search similar RNAs in the whole genome sequences, much faster algorithms are required. We propose a new method of comparing RNA sequences based on the structural alignments of the fixed-length fragments of the stem candidates. The implemented software, SCARNA (Stem Candidate Aligner for RNAs), is fast enough to apply to the long sequences in the large-scale analyses. The accuracy of the alignments is better or comparable to the much slower existing algorithms.

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]


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Statistical Convergence of Kernel CCA

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

In Advances in neural information processing systems 18, pages: 387-394, (Editors: Weiss, Y. , B. Schölkopf, J. Platt), MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, USA, Nineteenth Annual Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS), May 2006 (inproceedings)

Abstract
While kernel canonical correlation analysis (kernel CCA) has been applied in many problems, the asymptotic convergence of the functions estimated from a finite sample to the true functions has not yet been established. This paper gives a rigorous proof of the statistical convergence of kernel CCA and a related method (NOCCO), which provides a theoretical justification for these methods. The result also gives a sufficient condition on the decay of the regularization coefficient in the methods to ensure convergence.

PDF Web [BibTex]

PDF Web [BibTex]


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Products of "Edge-perts"

Gehler, PV., Welling, M.

In Advances in neural information processing systems 18, pages: 419-426, (Editors: Weiss, Y. , B. Schölkopf, J. Platt), MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, USA, Nineteenth Annual Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS), May 2006 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Images represent an important and abundant source of data. Understanding their statistical structure has important applications such as image compression and restoration. In this paper we propose a particular kind of probabilistic model, dubbed the “products of edge-perts model” to describe the structure of wavelet transformed images. We develop a practical denoising algorithm based on a single edge-pert and show state-ofthe-art denoising performance on benchmark images.

PDF Web [BibTex]

PDF Web [BibTex]


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Assessing Approximations for Gaussian Process Classification

Kuss, M., Rasmussen, C.

In Advances in neural information processing systems 18, pages: 699-706, (Editors: Weiss, Y. , B. Schölkopf, J. Platt), MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, USA, Nineteenth Annual Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS), May 2006 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Gaussian processes are attractive models for probabilistic classification but unfortunately exact inference is analytically intractable. We compare Laplace‘s method and Expectation Propagation (EP) focusing on marginal likelihood estimates and predictive performance. We explain theoretically and corroborate empirically that EP is superior to Laplace. We also compare to a sophisticated MCMC scheme and show that EP is surprisingly accurate.

PDF Web [BibTex]

PDF Web [BibTex]


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Learning an Interest Operator from Human Eye Movements

Kienzle, W., Wichmann, F., Schölkopf, B., Franz, M.

In CVPWR 2006, pages: page 24, (Editors: C Schmid and S Soatto and C Tomasi), IEEE Computer Society, Los Alamitos, CA, USA, 2006 Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition Workshop, April 2006 (inproceedings)

Abstract
We present an approach for designing interest operators that are based on human eye movement statistics. In contrast to existing methods which use hand-crafted saliency measures, we use machine learning methods to infer an interest operator directly from eye movement data. That way, the operator provides a measure of biologically plausible interestingness. We describe the data collection, training, and evaluation process, and show that our learned saliency measure significantly accounts for human eye movements. Furthermore, we illustrate connections to existing interest operators, and present a multi-scale interest point detector based on the learned function.

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]


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Evaluating Predictive Uncertainty Challenge

Quinonero Candela, J., Rasmussen, C., Sinz, F., Bousquet, O., Schölkopf, B.

In Machine Learning Challenges: Evaluating Predictive Uncertainty, Visual Object Classification, and Recognising Tectual Entailment, pages: 1-27, (Editors: J Quiñonero Candela and I Dagan and B Magnini and F d’Alché-Buc), Springer, Berlin, Germany, First PASCAL Machine Learning Challenges Workshop (MLCW), April 2006 (inproceedings)

Abstract
This Chapter presents the PASCAL Evaluating Predictive Uncertainty Challenge, introduces the contributed Chapters by the participants who obtained outstanding results, and provides a discussion with some lessons to be learnt. The Challenge was set up to evaluate the ability of Machine Learning algorithms to provide good “probabilistic predictions”, rather than just the usual “point predictions” with no measure of uncertainty, in regression and classification problems. Parti-cipants had to compete on a number of regression and classification tasks, and were evaluated by both traditional losses that only take into account point predictions and losses we proposed that evaluate the quality of the probabilistic predictions.

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]


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The Effect of Artifacts on Dependence Measurement in fMRI

Gretton, A., Belitski, A., Murayama, Y., Schölkopf, B., Logothetis, N.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging, 24(4):401-409, April 2006 (article)

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]


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Phase noise and the classification of natural images

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

Vision Research, 46(8-9):1520-1529, April 2006 (article)

Abstract
We measured the effect of global phase manipulations on a rapid animal categorization task. The Fourier spectra of our images of natural scenes were manipulated by adding zero-mean random phase noise at all spatial frequencies. The phase noise was the independent variable, uniformly and symmetrically distributed between 0 degree and ±180 degrees. Subjects were remarkably resistant to phase noise. Even with ±120 degree phase noise subjects were still performing at 75% correct. The high resistance of the subjects’ animal categorization rate to phase noise suggests that the visual system is highly robust to such random image changes. The proportion of correct answers closely followed the correlation between original and the phase noise-distorted images. Animal detection rate was higher when the same task was performed with contrast reduced versions of the same natural images, at contrasts where the contrast reduction mimicked that resulting from our phase randomization. Since the subjects’ categorization rate was better in the contrast experiment, reduction of local contrast alone cannot explain the performance in the phase noise experiment. This result obtained with natural images differs from those obtained for simple sinusoidal stimuli were performance changes due to phase changes are attributed to local contrast changes only. Thus the global phasechange accompanying disruption of image structure such as edges and object boundaries at different spatial scales reduces object classification over and above the performance deficit resulting from reducing contrast. Additional colour information improves the categorization performance by 2 %.

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]


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A Direct Method for Building Sparse Kernel Learning Algorithms

Wu, M., Schölkopf, B., BakIr, G.

Journal of Machine Learning Research, 7, pages: 603-624, April 2006 (article)

Abstract
Many Kernel Learning Algorithms(KLA), including Support Vector Machine (SVM), result in a Kernel Machine (KM), such as a kernel classifier, whose key component is a weight vector in a feature space implicitly introduced by a positive definite kernel function. This weight vector is usually obtained by solving a convex optimization problem. Based on this fact we present a direct method to build Sparse Kernel Learning Algorithms (SKLA) by adding one more constraint to the original convex optimization problem, such that the sparseness of the resulting KM is explicitly controlled while at the same time the performance of the resulting KM can be kept as high as possible. A gradient based approach is provided to solve this modified optimization problem. Applying this method to the SVM results in a concrete algorithm for building Sparse Large Margin Classifiers (SLMC). Further analysis of the SLMC algorithm indicates that it essentially finds a discriminating subspace that can be spanned by a small number of vectors, and in this subspace, the different classes of data are linearly well separated. Experimental results over several classification benchmarks demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach.

PDF PDF [BibTex]

PDF PDF [BibTex]


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An Inventory of Sequence Polymorphisms For Arabidopsis

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

17th International Conference on Arabidopsis Research, April 2006 (talk)

Abstract
We have used high-density oligonucleotide arrays to characterize common sequence variation in 20 wild strains of Arabidopsis thaliana that were chosen for maximal genetic diversity. Both strands of each possible SNP of the 119 Mb reference genome were represented on the arrays, which were hybridized with whole genome, isothermally amplified DNA to minimize ascertainment biases. Using two complementary approaches, a model based algorithm, and a newly developed machine learning method, we identified over 550,000 SNPs with a false discovery rate of ~ 0.03 (average of 1 SNP for every 216 bp of the genome). A heuristic algorithm predicted in addition ~700 highly polymorphic or deleted regions per accession. Over 700 predicted polymorphisms with major functional effects (e.g., premature stop codons, or deletions of coding sequence) were validated by dideoxy sequencing. Using this data set, we provide the first systematic description of the types of genes that harbor major effect polymorphisms in natural populations at moderate allele frequencies. The data also provide an unprecedented resource for the study of genetic variation in an experimentally tractable, multicellular model organism.

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Estimating Predictive Variances with Kernel Ridge Regression

Cawley, G., Talbot, N., Chapelle, O.

In MLCW 2005, pages: 56-77, (Editors: Quinonero-Candela, J. , I. Dagan, B. Magnini, F. D‘Alché-Buc), Springer, Berlin, Germany, First PASCAL Machine Learning Challenges Workshop, April 2006 (inproceedings)

Abstract
In many regression tasks, in addition to an accurate estimate of the conditional mean of the target distribution, an indication of the predictive uncertainty is also required. There are two principal sources of this uncertainty: the noise process contaminating the data and the uncertainty in estimating the model parameters based on a limited sample of training data. Both of them can be summarised in the predictive variance which can then be used to give confidence intervals. In this paper, we present various schemes for providing predictive variances for kernel ridge regression, especially in the case of a heteroscedastic regression, where the variance of the noise process contaminating the data is a smooth function of the explanatory variables. The use of leave-one-out cross-validation is shown to eliminate the bias inherent in estimates of the predictive variance. Results obtained on all three regression tasks comprising the predictive uncertainty challenge demonstrate the value of this approach.

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]


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The Pedestal Effect is Caused by Off-Frequency Looking, not Nonlinear Transduction or Contrast Gain-Control

Wichmann, F., Henning, G.

9, pages: 174, 9th T{\"u}bingen Perception Conference (TWK), March 2006 (poster)

Abstract
The pedestal or dipper effect is the large improvement in the detectability of a sinusoidal grating observed when the signal is added to a pedestal or masking grating having the signal‘s spatial frequency, orientation, and phase. The effect is largest with pedestal contrasts just above the ‘threshold’ in the absence of a pedestal. We measured the pedestal effect in both broadband and notched masking noise---noise from which a 1.5-octave band centered on the signal and pedestal frequency had been removed. The pedestal effect persists in broadband noise, but almost disappears with notched noise. The spatial-frequency components of the notched noise that lie above and below the spatial frequency of the signal and pedestal prevent the use of information about changes in contrast carried in channels tuned to spatial frequencies that are very much different from that of the signal and pedestal. We conclude that the pedestal effect in the absence of notched noise results principally from the use of information derived from channels with peak sensitivities at spatial frequencies that are different from that of the signal and pedestal. Thus the pedestal or dipper effect is not a characteristic of individual spatial-frequency tuned channels.

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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Statistical Properties of Kernel Principal Component Analysis

Blanchard, G., Bousquet, O., Zwald, L.

Machine Learning, 66(2-3):259-294, March 2006 (article)

Abstract
We study the properties of the eigenvalues of Gram matrices in a non-asymptotic setting. Using local Rademacher averages, we provide data-dependent and tight bounds for their convergence towards eigenvalues of the corresponding kernel operator. We perform these computations in a functional analytic framework which allows to deal implicitly with reproducing kernel Hilbert spaces of infinite dimension. This can have applications to various kernel algorithms, such as Support Vector Machines (SVM). We focus on Kernel Principal Component Analysis (KPCA) and, using such techniques, we obtain sharp excess risk bounds for the reconstruction error. In these bounds, the dependence on the decay of the spectrum and on the closeness of successive eigenvalues is made explicit.

PDF PDF DOI [BibTex]

PDF PDF DOI [BibTex]


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Network-based de-noising improves prediction from microarray data

Kato, T., Murata, Y., Miura, K., Asai, K., Horton, P., Tsuda, K., Fujibuchi, W.

BMC Bioinformatics, 7(Suppl. 1):S4-S4, March 2006 (article)

Abstract
Prediction of human cell response to anti-cancer drugs (compounds) from microarray data is a challenging problem, due to the noise properties of microarrays as well as the high variance of living cell responses to drugs. Hence there is a strong need for more practical and robust methods than standard methods for real-value prediction. We devised an extended version of the off-subspace noise-reduction (de-noising) method to incorporate heterogeneous network data such as sequence similarity or protein-protein interactions into a single framework. Using that method, we first de-noise the gene expression data for training and test data and also the drug-response data for training data. Then we predict the unknown responses of each drug from the de-noised input data. For ascertaining whether de-noising improves prediction or not, we carry out 12-fold cross-validation for assessment of the prediction performance. We use the Pearson‘s correlation coefficient between the true and predicted respon se values as the prediction performance. De-noising improves the prediction performance for 65% of drugs. Furthermore, we found that this noise reduction method is robust and effective even when a large amount of artificial noise is added to the input data. We found that our extended off-subspace noise-reduction method combining heterogeneous biological data is successful and quite useful to improve prediction of human cell cancer drug responses from microarray data.

PDF PDF DOI [BibTex]

PDF PDF DOI [BibTex]


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Classification of Natural Scenes: Critical Features Revisited

Drewes, J., Wichmann, F., Gegenfurtner, K.

9, pages: 92, 9th T{\"u}bingen Perception Conference (TWK), March 2006 (poster)

Abstract
Human observers are capable of detecting animals within novel natural scenes with remarkable speed and accuracy. Despite the seeming complexity of such decisions it has been hypothesized that a simple global image feature, the relative abundance of high spatial frequencies at certain orientations, could underly such fast image classification [1]. We successfully used linear discriminant analysis to classify a set of 11.000 images into “animal” and “non-animal” images based on their individual amplitude spectra only [2]. We proceeded to sort the images based on the performance of our classifier, retaining only the best and worst classified 400 images ("best animals", "best distractors" and "worst animals", "worst distractors"). We used a Go/No-go paradigm to evaluate human performance on this subset of our images. Both reaction time and proportion of correctly classified images showed a significant effect of classification difficulty. Images more easily classified by our algorithm were also classified faster and better by humans, as predicted by the Torralba & Oliva hypothesis. We then equated the amplitude spectra of the 400 images, which, by design, reduced algorithmic performance to chance whereas human performance was only slightly reduced [3]. Most importantly, the same images as before were still classified better and faster, suggesting that even in the original condition features other than specifics of the amplitude spectrum made particular images easy to classify, clearly at odds with the Torralba & Oliva hypothesis.

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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Machine Learning Methods For Estimating Operator Equations

Steinke, F., Schölkopf, B.

In Proceedings of the 14th IFAC Symposium on System Identification (SYSID 2006), pages: 6, (Editors: B Ninness and H Hjalmarsson), Elsevier, Oxford, United Kingdom, 14th IFAC Symposium on System Identification (SYSID), March 2006 (inproceedings)

Abstract
We consider the problem of fitting a linear operator induced equation to point sampled data. In order to do so we systematically exploit the duality between minimizing a regularization functional derived from an operator and kernel regression methods. Standard machine learning model selection algorithms can then be interpreted as a search of the equation best fitting given data points. For many kernels this operator induced equation is a linear differential equation. Thus, we link a continuous-time system identification task with common machine learning methods. The presented link opens up a wide variety of methods to be applied to this system identification problem. In a series of experiments we demonstrate an example algorithm working on non-uniformly spaced data, giving special focus to the problem of identifying one system from multiple data recordings.

PDF Web [BibTex]

PDF Web [BibTex]


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Factorial Coding of Natural Images: How Effective are Linear Models in Removing Higher-Order Dependencies?

Bethge, M.

9, pages: 90, 9th T{\"u}bingen Perception Conference (TWK), March 2006 (poster)

Abstract
The performance of unsupervised learning models for natural images is evaluated quantitatively by means of information theory. We estimate the gain in statistical independence (the multi-information reduction) achieved with independent component analysis (ICA), principal component analysis (PCA), zero-phase whitening, and predictive coding. Predictive coding is translated into the transform coding framework, where it can be characterized by the constraint of a triangular filter matrix. A randomly sampled whitening basis and the Haar wavelet are included into the comparison as well. The comparison of all these methods is carried out for different patch sizes, ranging from 2x2 to 16x16 pixels. In spite of large differences in the shape of the basis functions, we find only small differences in the multi-information between all decorrelation transforms (5% or less) for all patch sizes. Among the second-order methods, PCA is optimal for small patch sizes and predictive coding performs best for large patch sizes. The extra gain achieved with ICA is always less than 2%. In conclusion, the `edge filters‘ found with ICA lead only to a surprisingly small improvement in terms of its actual objective.

Web [BibTex]


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Implicit Volterra and Wiener Series for Higher-Order Image Analysis

Franz, M., Schölkopf, B.

In Advances in Data Analysis: Proceedings of the 30th Annual Conference of The Gesellschaft für Klassifikation, 30, pages: 1, March 2006 (inproceedings)

Abstract
The computation of classical higher-order statistics such as higher-order moments or spectra is difficult for images due to the huge number of terms to be estimated and interpreted. We propose an alternative approach in which multiplicative pixel interactions are described by a series of Wiener functionals. Since the functionals are estimated implicitly via polynomial kernels, the combinatorial explosion associated with the classical higher-order statistics is avoided. In addition, the kernel framework allows for estimating infinite series expansions and for the regularized estimation of the Wiener series. First results show that image structures such as lines or corners can be predicted correctly, and that pixel interactions up to the order of five play an important role in natural images.

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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Model-based Design Analysis and Yield Optimization

Pfingsten, T., Herrmann, D., Rasmussen, C.

IEEE Transactions on Semiconductor Manufacturing, 19(4):475-486, February 2006 (article)

Abstract
Fluctuations are inherent to any fabrication process. Integrated circuits and micro-electro-mechanical systems are particularly affected by these variations, and due to high quality requirements the effect on the devices’ performance has to be understood quantitatively. In recent years it has become possible to model the performance of such complex systems on the basis of design specifications, and model-based Sensitivity Analysis has made its way into industrial engineering. We show how an efficient Bayesian approach, using a Gaussian process prior, can replace the commonly used brute-force Monte Carlo scheme, making it possible to apply the analysis to computationally costly models. We introduce a number of global, statistically justified sensitivity measures for design analysis and optimization. Two models of integrated systems serve us as case studies to introduce the analysis and to assess its convergence properties. We show that the Bayesian Monte Carlo scheme can save costly simulation runs and can ensure a reliable accuracy of the analysis.

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]


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Weighting of experimental evidence in macromolecular structure determination

Habeck, M., Rieping, W., Nilges, M.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 103(6):1756-1761, February 2006 (article)

Abstract
The determination of macromolecular structures requires weighting of experimental evidence relative to prior physical information. Although it can critically affect the quality of the calculated structures, experimental data are routinely weighted on an empirical basis. At present, cross-validation is the most rigorous method to determine the best weight. We describe a general method to adaptively weight experimental data in the course of structure calculation. It is further shown that the necessity to define weights for the data can be completely alleviated. We demonstrate the method on a structure calculation from NMR data and find that the resulting structures are optimal in terms of accuracy and structural quality. Our method is devoid of the bias imposed by an empirical choice of the weight and has some advantages over estimating the weight by cross-validation.

Web DOI [BibTex]

Web DOI [BibTex]


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Classification of Faces in Man and Machine

Graf, A., Wichmann, F., Bülthoff, H., Schölkopf, B.

Neural Computation, 18(1):143-165, January 2006 (article)

PDF Web [BibTex]

PDF Web [BibTex]


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Causal Inference by Choosing Graphs with Most Plausible Markov Kernels

Sun, X., Janzing, D., Schölkopf, B.

In Proceedings of the 9th International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence and Mathematics, pages: 1-11, ISAIM, January 2006 (inproceedings)

Abstract
We propose a new inference rule for estimating causal structure that underlies the observed statistical dependencies among n random variables. Our method is based on comparing the conditional distributions of variables given their direct causes (the so-called Markov kernels") for all hypothetical causal directions and choosing the most plausible one. We consider those Markov kernels most plausible, which maximize the (conditional) entropies constrained by their observed first moment (expectation) and second moments (variance and covariance with its direct causes) based on their given domain. In this paper, we discuss our inference rule for causal relationships between two variables in detail, apply it to a real-world temperature data set with known causality and show that our method provides a correct result for the example.

PDF Web [BibTex]

PDF Web [BibTex]


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Classification of natural scenes: critical features revisited

Drewes, J., Wichmann, F., Gegenfurtner, K.

Experimentelle Psychologie: Beitr{\"a}ge zur 48. Tagung experimentell arbeitender Psychologen, 48, pages: 251, 2006 (poster)

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Texture and haptic cues in slant discrimination: combination is sensitive to reliability but not statistically optimal

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

Beitr{\"a}ge zur 48. Tagung experimentell arbeitender Psychologen (TeaP 2006), 48, pages: 80, 2006 (poster)

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Ähnlichkeitsmasse in Modellen zur Kategorienbildung

Jäkel, F., Wichmann, F.

Experimentelle Psychologie: Beitr{\"a}ge zur 48. Tagung experimentell arbeitender Psychologen, 48, pages: 223, 2006 (poster)

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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The pedestal effect is caused by off-frequency looking, not nonlinear transduction or contrast gain-control

Wichmann, F., Henning, B.

Experimentelle Psychologie: Beitr{\"a}ge zur 48. Tagung experimentell arbeitender Psychologen, 48, pages: 205, 2006 (poster)

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Learning operational space control

Peters, J., Schaal, S.

In Robotics: Science and Systems II (RSS 2006), pages: 255-262, (Editors: Gaurav S. Sukhatme and Stefan Schaal and Wolfram Burgard and Dieter Fox), Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, RSS , 2006, clmc (inproceedings)

Abstract
While operational space control is of essential importance for robotics and well-understood from an analytical point of view, it can be prohibitively hard to achieve accurate control in face of modeling errors, which are inevitable in complex robots, e.g., humanoid robots. In such cases, learning control methods can offer an interesting alternative to analytical control algorithms. However, the resulting learning problem is ill-defined as it requires to learn an inverse mapping of a usually redundant system, which is well known to suffer from the property of non-covexity of the solution space, i.e., the learning system could generate motor commands that try to steer the robot into physically impossible configurations. A first important insight for this paper is that, nevertheless, a physically correct solution to the inverse problem does exits when learning of the inverse map is performed in a suitable piecewise linear way. The second crucial component for our work is based on a recent insight that many operational space controllers can be understood in terms of a constraint optimal control problem. The cost function associated with this optimal control problem allows us to formulate a learning algorithm that automatically synthesizes a globally consistent desired resolution of redundancy while learning the operational space controller. From the view of machine learning, the learning problem corresponds to a reinforcement learning problem that maximizes an immediate reward and that employs an expectation-maximization policy search algorithm. Evaluations on a three degrees of freedom robot arm illustrate the feasability of our suggested approach.

link (url) [BibTex]

link (url) [BibTex]


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Reinforcement Learning for Parameterized Motor Primitives

Peters, J., Schaal, S.

In Proceedings of the 2006 International Joint Conference on Neural Networks, pages: 73-80, IJCNN, 2006, clmc (inproceedings)

Abstract
One of the major challenges in both action generation for robotics and in the understanding of human motor control is to learn the "building blocks of movement generation", called motor primitives. Motor primitives, as used in this paper, are parameterized control policies such as splines or nonlinear differential equations with desired attractor properties. While a lot of progress has been made in teaching parameterized motor primitives using supervised or imitation learning, the self-improvement by interaction of the system with the environment remains a challenging problem. In this paper, we evaluate different reinforcement learning approaches for improving the performance of parameterized motor primitives. For pursuing this goal, we highlight the difficulties with current reinforcement learning methods, and outline both established and novel algorithms for the gradient-based improvement of parameterized policies. We compare these algorithms in the context of motor primitive learning, and show that our most modern algorithm, the Episodic Natural Actor-Critic outperforms previous algorithms by at least an order of magnitude. We demonstrate the efficiency of this reinforcement learning method in the application of learning to hit a baseball with an anthropomorphic robot arm.

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) 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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Gender Classification of Human Faces

Graf, A., Wichmann, F.

In Biologically Motivated Computer Vision, pages: 1-18, (Editors: Bülthoff, H. H., S.W. Lee, T. A. Poggio and C. Wallraven), Springer, Berlin, Germany, Second International Workshop on Biologically Motivated Computer Vision (BMCV), November 2002 (inproceedings)

Abstract
This paper addresses the issue of combining pre-processing methods—dimensionality reduction using Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and Locally Linear Embedding (LLE)—with Support Vector Machine (SVM) classification for a behaviorally important task in humans: gender classification. A processed version of the MPI head database is used as stimulus set. First, summary statistics of the head database are studied. Subsequently the optimal parameters for LLE and the SVM are sought heuristically. These values are then used to compare the original face database with its processed counterpart and to assess the behavior of a SVM with respect to changes in illumination and perspective of the face images. Overall, PCA was superior in classification performance and allowed linear separability.

PDF PDF DOI [BibTex]

PDF PDF DOI [BibTex]


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Insect-Inspired Estimation of Self-Motion

Franz, MO., Chahl, JS.

In Biologically Motivated Computer Vision, (2525):171-180, LNCS, (Editors: Bülthoff, H.H. , S.W. Lee, T.A. Poggio, C. Wallraven), Springer, Berlin, Germany, Second International Workshop on Biologically Motivated Computer Vision (BMCV), November 2002 (inproceedings)

Abstract
The tangential neurons in the fly brain are sensitive to the typical optic flow patterns generated during self-motion. In this study, 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 about the environment. The optimal estimator is tested on a gantry carrying an omnidirectional vision sensor. The experiments show that the proposed approach leads to accurate and robust estimates of rotation rates, whereas translation estimates turn out to be less reliable.

PDF PDF DOI [BibTex]

PDF PDF 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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Combining sensory Information to Improve Visualization

Ernst, M., Banks, M., Wichmann, F., Maloney, L., Bülthoff, H.

In Proceedings of the Conference on Visualization ‘02 (VIS ‘02), pages: 571-574, (Editors: Moorhead, R. , M. Joy), IEEE, Piscataway, NJ, USA, IEEE Conference on Visualization (VIS '02), October 2002 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Seemingly effortlessly the human brain reconstructs the three-dimensional environment surrounding us from the light pattern striking the eyes. This seems to be true across almost all viewing and lighting conditions. One important factor for this apparent easiness is the redundancy of information provided by the sensory organs. For example, perspective distortions, shading, motion parallax, or the disparity between the two eyes' images are all, at least partly, redundant signals which provide us with information about the three-dimensional layout of the visual scene. Our brain uses all these different sensory signals and combines the available information into a coherent percept. In displays visualizing data, however, the information is often highly reduced and abstracted, which may lead to an altered perception and therefore a misinterpretation of the visualized data. In this panel we will discuss mechanisms involved in the combination of sensory information and their implications for simulations using computer displays, as well as problems resulting from current display technology such as cathode-ray tubes.

PDF Web [BibTex]

PDF Web [BibTex]


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Incorporating Invariances in Non-Linear Support Vector Machines

Chapelle, O., Schölkopf, B.

In Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 14, pages: 609-616, (Editors: TG Dietterich and S Becker and Z Ghahramani), MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, USA, 15th Annual Neural Information Processing Systems Conference (NIPS), September 2002 (inproceedings)

Abstract
The choice of an SVM kernel corresponds to the choice of a representation of the data in a feature space and, to improve performance, it should therefore incorporate prior knowledge such as known transformation invariances. We propose a technique which extends earlier work and aims at incorporating invariances in nonlinear kernels. We show on a digit recognition task that the proposed approach is superior to the Virtual Support Vector method, which previously had been the method of choice.

PDF Web [BibTex]

PDF Web [BibTex]


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Constructing Boosting algorithms from SVMs: an application to one-class classification.

Rätsch, G., Mika, S., Schölkopf, B., Müller, K.

IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, 24(9):1184-1199, September 2002 (article)

Abstract
We show via an equivalence of mathematical programs that a support vector (SV) algorithm can be translated into an equivalent boosting-like algorithm and vice versa. We exemplify this translation procedure for a new algorithm—one-class leveraging—starting from the one-class support vector machine (1-SVM). This is a first step toward unsupervised learning in a boosting framework. Building on so-called barrier methods known from the theory of constrained optimization, it returns a function, written as a convex combination of base hypotheses, that characterizes whether a given test point is likely to have been generated from the distribution underlying the training data. Simulations on one-class classification problems demonstrate the usefulness of our approach.

DOI [BibTex]

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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The contributions of color to recognition memory for natural scenes

Wichmann, F., Sharpe, L., Gegenfurtner, K.

Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 28(3):509-520, May 2002 (article)

Abstract
The authors used a recognition memory paradigm to assess the influence of color information on visual memory for images of natural scenes. Subjects performed 5-10% better for colored than for black-and-white images independent of exposure duration. Experiment 2 indicated little influence of contrast once the images were suprathreshold, and Experiment 3 revealed that performance worsened when images were presented in color and tested in black and white, or vice versa, leading to the conclusion that the surface property color is part of the memory representation. Experiments 4 and 5 exclude the possibility that the superior recognition memory for colored images results solely from attentional factors or saliency. Finally, the recognition memory advantage disappears for falsely colored images of natural scenes: The improvement in recognition memory depends on the color congruence of presented images with learned knowledge about the color gamut found within natural scenes. The results can be accounted for within a multiple memory systems framework.

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]

PDF Web DOI [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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Training invariant support vector machines

DeCoste, D., Schölkopf, B.

Machine Learning, 46(1-3):161-190, January 2002 (article)

Abstract
Practical experience has shown that in order to obtain the best possible performance, prior knowledge about invariances of a classification problem at hand ought to be incorporated into the training procedure. We describe and review all known methods for doing so in support vector machines, provide experimental results, and discuss their respective merits. One of the significant new results reported in this work is our recent achievement of the lowest reported test error on the well-known MNIST digit recognition benchmark task, with SVM training times that are also significantly faster than previous SVM methods.

PDF DOI [BibTex]

PDF DOI [BibTex]


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Contrast discrimination with sinusoidal gratings of different spatial frequency

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

Journal of the Optical Society of America A, 19(7), pages: 1267-1273, 2002 (article)

Abstract
The detectability of contrast increments was measured as a function of the contrast of a masking or “pedestal” grating at a number of different spatial frequencies ranging from 2 to 16 cycles per degree of visual angle. The pedestal grating always had the same orientation, spatial frequency and phase as the signal. The shape of the contrast increment threshold versus pedestal contrast (TvC) functions depend of the performance level used to define the “threshold,” but when both axes are normalized by the contrast corresponding to 75% correct detection at each frequency, the (TvC) functions at a given performance level are identical. Confidence intervals on the slope of the rising part of the TvC functions are so wide that it is not possible with our data to reject Weber’s Law.

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [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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Contrast discrimination with pulse-trains in pink noise

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

Journal of the Optical Society of America A, 19(7), pages: 1259-1266, 2002 (article)

Abstract
Detection performance was measured with sinusoidal and pulse-train gratings. Although the 2.09-c/deg pulse-train, or line gratings, contained at least 8 harmonics all at equal contrast, they were no more detectable than their most detectable component. The addition of broadband pink noise designed to equalize the detectability of the components of the pulse train made the pulse train about a factor of four more detectable than any of its components. However, in contrast-discrimination experiments, with a pedestal or masking grating of the same form and phase as the signal and 15% contrast, the noise did not affect the discrimination performance of the pulse train relative to that obtained with 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.

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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A kernel approach for learning from almost orthogonal patterns

Schölkopf, B., Weston, J., Eskin, E., Leslie, C., Noble, W.

In Principles of Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 2430/2431, pages: 511-528, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, (Editors: T Elomaa and H Mannila and H Toivonen), Springer, Berlin, Germany, 13th European Conference on Machine Learning (ECML) and 6th European Conference on Principles and Practice of Knowledge Discovery in Databases (PKDD'2002), 2002 (inproceedings)

PostScript DOI [BibTex]

PostScript DOI [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]


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Luminance Artifacts on CRT Displays

Wichmann, F.

In IEEE Visualization, pages: 571-574, (Editors: Moorhead, R.; Gross, M.; Joy, K. I.), IEEE Visualization, 2002 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Most visualization panels today are still built around cathode-ray tubes (CRTs), certainly on personal desktops at work and at home. Whilst capable of producing pleasing images for common applications ranging from email writing to TV and DVD presentation, it is as well to note that there are a number of nonlinear transformations between input (voltage) and output (luminance) which distort the digital and/or analogue images send to a CRT. Some of them are input-independent and hence easy to fix, e.g. gamma correction, but others, such as pixel interactions, depend on the content of the input stimulus and are thus harder to compensate for. CRT-induced image distortions cause problems not only in basic vision research but also for applications where image fidelity is critical, most notably in medicine (digitization of X-ray images for diagnostic purposes) and in forms of online commerce, such as the online sale of images, where the image must be reproduced on some output device which will not have the same transfer function as the customer's CRT. I will present measurements from a number of CRTs and illustrate how some of their shortcomings may be problematic for the aforementioned applications.

[BibTex]

[BibTex]

2001


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Regularized principal manifolds

Smola, A., Mika, S., Schölkopf, B., Williamson, R.

Journal of Machine Learning Research, 1, pages: 179-209, June 2001 (article)

Abstract
Many settings of unsupervised learning can be viewed as quantization problems - the minimization of the expected quantization error subject to some restrictions. This allows the use of tools such as regularization from the theory of (supervised) risk minimization for unsupervised learning. This setting turns out to be closely related to principal curves, the generative topographic map, and robust coding. We explore this connection in two ways: (1) we propose an algorithm for finding principal manifolds that can be regularized in a variety of ways; and (2) we derive uniform convergence bounds and hence bounds on the learning rates of the algorithm. In particular, we give bounds on the covering numbers which allows us to obtain nearly optimal learning rates for certain types of regularization operators. Experimental results demonstrate the feasibility of the approach.

PDF [BibTex]

2001

PDF [BibTex]