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2007


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Towards Machine Learning of Motor Skills

Peters, J., Schaal, S., Schölkopf, B.

In Proceedings of Autonome Mobile Systeme (AMS), pages: 138-144, (Editors: K Berns and T Luksch), 2007, clmc (inproceedings)

Abstract
Autonomous robots that can adapt to novel situations has been a long standing vision of robotics, artificial intelligence, and cognitive sciences. Early approaches to this goal during the heydays of artificial intelligence research in the late 1980s, however, made it clear that an approach purely based on reasoning or human insights would not be able to model all the perceptuomotor tasks that a robot should fulfill. Instead, new hope was put in the growing wake of machine learning that promised fully adaptive control algorithms which learn both by observation and trial-and-error. However, to date, learning techniques have yet to fulfill this promise as only few methods manage to scale into the high-dimensional domains of manipulator robotics, or even the new upcoming trend of humanoid robotics, and usually scaling was only achieved in precisely pre-structured domains. In this paper, we investigate the ingredients for a general approach to motor skill learning in order to get one step closer towards human-like performance. For doing so, we study two ma jor components for such an approach, i.e., firstly, a theoretically well-founded general approach to representing the required control structures for task representation and execution and, secondly, appropriate learning algorithms which can be applied in this setting.

PDF DOI [BibTex]

2007

PDF DOI [BibTex]


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Reinforcement Learning for Optimal Control of Arm Movements

Theodorou, E., Peters, J., Schaal, S.

In Abstracts of the 37st Meeting of the Society of Neuroscience., Neuroscience, 2007, clmc (inproceedings)

Abstract
Every day motor behavior consists of a plethora of challenging motor skills from discrete movements such as reaching and throwing to rhythmic movements such as walking, drumming and running. How this plethora of motor skills can be learned remains an open question. In particular, is there any unifying computa-tional framework that could model the learning process of this variety of motor behaviors and at the same time be biologically plausible? In this work we aim to give an answer to these questions by providing a computational framework that unifies the learning mechanism of both rhythmic and discrete movements under optimization criteria, i.e., in a non-supervised trial-and-error fashion. Our suggested framework is based on Reinforcement Learning, which is mostly considered as too costly to be a plausible mechanism for learning com-plex limb movement. However, recent work on reinforcement learning with pol-icy gradients combined with parameterized movement primitives allows novel and more efficient algorithms. By using the representational power of such mo-tor primitives we show how rhythmic motor behaviors such as walking, squash-ing and drumming as well as discrete behaviors like reaching and grasping can be learned with biologically plausible algorithms. Using extensive simulations and by using different reward functions we provide results that support the hy-pothesis that Reinforcement Learning could be a viable candidate for motor learning of human motor behavior when other learning methods like supervised learning are not feasible.

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Reinforcement learning by reward-weighted regression for operational space control

Peters, J., Schaal, S.

In Proceedings of the 24th Annual International Conference on Machine Learning, pages: 745-750, ICML, 2007, clmc (inproceedings)

Abstract
Many robot control problems of practical importance, including operational space control, can be reformulated as immediate reward reinforcement learning problems. However, few of the known optimization or reinforcement learning algorithms can be used in online learning control for robots, as they are either prohibitively slow, do not scale to interesting domains of complex robots, or require trying out policies generated by random search, which are infeasible for a physical system. Using a generalization of the EM-base reinforcement learning framework suggested by Dayan & Hinton, we reduce the problem of learning with immediate rewards to a reward-weighted regression problem with an adaptive, integrated reward transformation for faster convergence. The resulting algorithm is efficient, learns smoothly without dangerous jumps in solution space, and works well in applications of complex high degree-of-freedom robots.

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Policy gradient methods for machine learning

Peters, J., Theodorou, E., Schaal, S.

In Proceedings of the 14th INFORMS Conference of the Applied Probability Society, pages: 97-98, Eindhoven, Netherlands, July 9-11, 2007, 2007, clmc (inproceedings)

Abstract
We present an in-depth survey of policy gradient methods as they are used in the machine learning community for optimizing parameterized, stochastic control policies in Markovian systems with respect to the expected reward. Despite having been developed separately in the reinforcement learning literature, policy gradient methods employ likelihood ratio gradient estimators as also suggested in the stochastic simulation optimization community. It is well-known that this approach to policy gradient estimation traditionally suffers from three drawbacks, i.e., large variance, a strong dependence on baseline functions and a inefficient gradient descent. In this talk, we will present a series of recent results which tackles each of these problems. The variance of the gradient estimation can be reduced significantly through recently introduced techniques such as optimal baselines, compatible function approximations and all-action gradients. However, as even the analytically obtainable policy gradients perform unnaturally slow, it required the step from ÔvanillaÕ policy gradient methods towards natural policy gradients in order to overcome the inefficiency of the gradient descent. This development resulted into the Natural Actor-Critic architecture which can be shown to be very efficient in application to motor primitive learning for robotics.

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Policy Learning for Motor Skills

Peters, J., Schaal, S.

In Proceedings of 14th International Conference on Neural Information Processing (ICONIP), pages: 233-242, (Editors: Ishikawa, M. , K. Doya, H. Miyamoto, T. Yamakawa), 2007, clmc (inproceedings)

Abstract
Policy learning which allows autonomous robots to adapt to novel situations has been a long standing vision of robotics, artificial intelligence, and cognitive sciences. However, to date, learning techniques have yet to fulfill this promise as only few methods manage to scale into the high-dimensional domains of manipulator robotics, or even the new upcoming trend of humanoid robotics, and usually scaling was only achieved in precisely pre-structured domains. In this paper, we investigate the ingredients for a general approach policy learning with the goal of an application to motor skill refinement in order to get one step closer towards human-like performance. For doing so, we study two major components for such an approach, i.e., firstly, we study policy learning algorithms which can be applied in the general setting of motor skill learning, and, secondly, we study a theoretically well-founded general approach to representing the required control structures for task representation and execution.

PDF DOI [BibTex]

PDF DOI [BibTex]


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Reinforcement learning for operational space control

Peters, J., Schaal, S.

In Proceedings of the 2007 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, pages: 2111-2116, IEEE Computer Society, ICRA, 2007, 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 supervised 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-convexity of the solution space, i.e., the learning system could generate motor commands that try to steer the robot into physically impossible configurations. The important insight that many operational space control algorithms can be reformulated as optimal control problems, however, allows addressing this inverse learning problem in the framework of reinforcement learning. However, few of the known optimization or reinforcement learning algorithms can be used in online learning control for robots, as they are either prohibitively slow, do not scale to interesting domains of complex robots, or require trying out policies generated by random search, which are infeasible for a physical system. Using a generalization of the EM-based reinforcement learning framework suggested by Dayan & Hinton, we reduce the problem of learning with immediate rewards to a reward-weighted regression problem with an adaptive, integrated reward transformation for faster convergence. The resulting algorithm is efficient, learns smoothly without dangerous jumps in solution space, and works well in applications of complex high degree-of-freedom robots.

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Using reward-weighted regression for reinforcement learning of task space control

Peters, J., Schaal, S.

In Proceedings of the 2007 IEEE International Symposium on Approximate Dynamic Programming and Reinforcement Learning, pages: 262-267, Honolulu, Hawaii, April 1-5, 2007, 2007, clmc (inproceedings)

Abstract
In this paper, we evaluate different versions from the three main kinds of model-free policy gradient methods, i.e., finite difference gradients, `vanilla' policy gradients and natural policy gradients. Each of these methods is first presented in its simple form and subsequently refined and optimized. By carrying out numerous experiments on the cart pole regulator benchmark we aim to provide a useful baseline for future research on parameterized policy search algorithms. Portable C++ code is provided for both plant and algorithms; thus, the results in this paper can be reevaluated, reused and new algorithms can be inserted with ease.

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Evaluation of Policy Gradient Methods and Variants on the Cart-Pole Benchmark

Riedmiller, M., Peters, J., Schaal, S.

In Proceedings of the 2007 IEEE International Symposium on Approximate Dynamic Programming and Reinforcement Learning, pages: 254-261, ADPRL, 2007, clmc (inproceedings)

Abstract
In this paper, we evaluate different versions from the three main kinds of model-free policy gradient methods, i.e., finite difference gradients, `vanilla' policy gradients and natural policy gradients. Each of these methods is first presented in its simple form and subsequently refined and optimized. By carrying out numerous experiments on the cart pole regulator benchmark we aim to provide a useful baseline for future research on parameterized policy search algorithms. Portable C++ code is provided for both plant and algorithms; thus, the results in this paper can be reevaluated, reused and new algorithms can be inserted with ease.

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]

2006


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Global Biclustering of Microarray Data

Wolf, T., Brors, B., Hofmann, T., Georgii, E.

In ICDMW 2006, pages: 125-129, (Editors: Tsumoto, S. , C. W. Clifton, N. Zhong, X. Wu, J. Liu, B. W. Wah, Y.-M. Cheung), IEEE Computer Society, Los Alamitos, CA, USA, Sixth IEEE International Conference on Data Mining, December 2006 (inproceedings)

Abstract
We consider the problem of simultaneously clustering genes and conditions of a gene expression data matrix. A bicluster is defined as a subset of genes that show similar behavior within a subset of conditions. Finding biclusters can be useful for revealing groups of genes involved in the same molecular process as well as groups of conditions where this process takes place. Previous work either deals with local, bicluster-based criteria or assumes a very specific structure of the data matrix (e.g. checkerboard or block-diagonal) [11]. In contrast, our goal is to find a set of flexibly arranged biclusters which is optimal in regard to a global objective function. As this is a NP-hard combinatorial problem, we describe several techniques to obtain approximate solutions. We benchmarked our approach successfully on the Alizadeh B-cell lymphoma data set [1].

Web DOI [BibTex]

2006

Web DOI [BibTex]


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Conformal Multi-Instance Kernels

Blaschko, M., Hofmann, T.

In NIPS 2006 Workshop on Learning to Compare Examples, pages: 1-6, NIPS Workshop on Learning to Compare Examples, December 2006 (inproceedings)

Abstract
In the multiple instance learning setting, each observation is a bag of feature vectors of which one or more vectors indicates membership in a class. The primary task is to identify if any vectors in the bag indicate class membership while ignoring vectors that do not. We describe here a kernel-based technique that defines a parametric family of kernels via conformal transformations and jointly learns a discriminant function over bags together with the optimal parameter settings of the kernel. Learning a conformal transformation effectively amounts to weighting regions in the feature space according to their contribution to classification accuracy; regions that are discriminative will be weighted higher than regions that are not. This allows the classifier to focus on regions contributing to classification accuracy while ignoring regions that correspond to vectors found both in positive and in negative bags. We show how parameters of this transformation can be learned for support vector machines by posing the problem as a multiple kernel learning problem. The resulting multiple instance classifier gives competitive accuracy for several multi-instance benchmark datasets from different domains.

PDF Web [BibTex]

PDF Web [BibTex]


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A Kernel Method for the Two-Sample-Problem

Gretton, A., Borgwardt, K., Rasch, M., Schölkopf, B., Smola, A.

20th Annual Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS), December 2006 (talk)

Abstract
We propose two statistical tests to determine if two samples are from different distributions. Our test statistic is in both cases the distance between the means of the two samples mapped into a reproducing kernel Hilbert space (RKHS). The first test is based on a large deviation bound for the test statistic, while the second is based on the asymptotic distribution of this statistic. We show that the test statistic can be computed in $O(m^2)$ time. We apply our approach to a variety of problems, including attribute matching for databases using the Hungarian marriage method, where our test performs strongly. We also demonstrate excellent performance when comparing distributions over graphs, for which no alternative tests currently exist.

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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Ab-initio gene finding using machine learning

Schweikert, G., Zeller, G., Zien, A., Ong, C., de Bona, F., Sonnenburg, S., Phillips, P., Rätsch, G.

NIPS Workshop on New Problems and Methods in Computational Biology, December 2006 (talk)

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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Reinforcement Learning by Reward-Weighted Regression

Peters, J.

NIPS Workshop: Towards a New Reinforcement Learning? , December 2006 (talk)

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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Graph boosting for molecular QSAR analysis

Saigo, H., Kadowaki, T., Kudo, T., Tsuda, K.

NIPS Workshop on New Problems and Methods in Computational Biology, December 2006 (talk)

Abstract
We propose a new boosting method that systematically combines graph mining and mathematical programming-based machine learning. Informative and interpretable subgraph features are greedily found by a series of graph mining calls. Due to our mathematical programming formulation, subgraph features and pre-calculated real-valued features are seemlessly integrated. We tested our algorithm on a quantitative structure-activity relationship (QSAR) problem, which is basically a regression problem when given a set of chemical compounds. In benchmark experiments, the prediction accuracy of our method favorably compared with the best results reported on each dataset.

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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Inferring Causal Directions by Evaluating the Complexity of Conditional Distributions

Sun, X., Janzing, D., Schölkopf, B.

NIPS Workshop on Causality and Feature Selection, December 2006 (talk)

Abstract
We propose a new approach to infer the causal structure that has generated the observed statistical dependences among n random variables. The idea is that the factorization of the joint measure of cause and effect into P(cause)P(effect|cause) leads typically to simpler conditionals than non-causal factorizations. To evaluate the complexity of the conditionals we have tried two methods. First, we have compared them to those which maximize the conditional entropy subject to the observed first and second moments since we consider the latter as the simplest conditionals. Second, we have fitted the data with conditional probability measures being exponents of functions in an RKHS space and defined the complexity by a Hilbert-space semi-norm. Such a complexity measure has several properties that are useful for our purpose. We describe some encouraging results with both methods applied to real-world data. Moreover, we have combined constraint-based approaches to causal discovery (i.e., methods using only information on conditional statistical dependences) with our method in order to distinguish between causal hypotheses which are equivalent with respect to the imposed independences. Furthermore, we compare the performance to Bayesian approaches to causal inference.

Web [BibTex]


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Information-theoretic Metric Learning

Davis, J., Kulis, B., Sra, S., Dhillon, I.

In NIPS 2006 Workshop on Learning to Compare Examples, pages: 1-5, NIPS Workshop on Learning to Compare Examples, December 2006 (inproceedings)

Abstract
We formulate the metric learning problem as that of minimizing the differential relative entropy between two multivariate Gaussians under constraints on the Mahalanobis distance function. Via a surprising equivalence, we show that this problem can be solved as a low-rank kernel learning problem. Specifically, we minimize the Burg divergence of a low-rank kernel to an input kernel, subject to pairwise distance constraints. Our approach has several advantages over existing methods. First, we present a natural information-theoretic formulation for the problem. Second, the algorithm utilizes the methods developed by Kulis et al. [6], which do not involve any eigenvector computation; in particular, the running time of our method is faster than most existing techniques. Third, the formulation offers insights into connections between metric learning and kernel learning.

PDF Web [BibTex]

PDF Web [BibTex]


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Pattern Mining in Frequent Dynamic Subgraphs

Borgwardt, KM., Kriegel, H-P., Wackersreuther, P.

In pages: 818-822, (Editors: Clifton, C.W.), IEEE Computer Society, Los Alamitos, CA, USA, Sixth International Conference on Data Mining (ICDM), December 2006 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Graph-structured data is becoming increasingly abundant in many application domains. Graph mining aims at finding interesting patterns within this data that represent novel knowledge. While current data mining deals with static graphs that do not change over time, coming years will see the advent of an increasing number of time series of graphs. In this article, we investigate how pattern mining on static graphs can be extended to time series of graphs. In particular, we are considering dynamic graphs with edge insertions and edge deletions over time. We define frequency in this setting and provide algorithmic solutions for finding frequent dynamic subgraph patterns. Existing subgraph mining algorithms can be easily integrated into our framework to make them handle dynamic graphs. Experimental results on real-world data confirm the practical feasibility of our approach.

Web DOI [BibTex]

Web DOI [BibTex]


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Learning Optimal EEG Features Across Time, Frequency and Space

Farquhar, J., Hill, J., Schölkopf, B.

NIPS Workshop on Current Trends in Brain-Computer Interfacing, December 2006 (talk)

PDF Web [BibTex]

PDF Web [BibTex]


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Semi-Supervised Learning

Zien, A.

Advanced Methods in Sequence Analysis Lectures, November 2006 (talk)

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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3DString: a feature string kernel for 3D object classification on voxelized data

Assfalg, J., Borgwardt, KM., Kriegel, H-P.

In pages: 198-207, (Editors: Yu, P.S. , V.J. Tsotras, E.A. Fox, B. Liu), ACM Press, New York, NY, USA, 15th ACM International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management (CIKM), November 2006 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Classification of 3D objects remains an important task in many areas of data management such as engineering, medicine or biology. As a common preprocessing step in current approaches to classification of voxelized 3D objects, voxel representations are transformed into a feature vector description.In this article, we introduce an approach of transforming 3D objects into feature strings which represent the distribution of voxels over the voxel grid. Attractively, this feature string extraction can be performed in linear runtime with respect to the number of voxels. We define a similarity measure on these feature strings that counts common k-mers in two input strings, which is referred to as the spectrum kernel in the field of kernel methods. We prove that on our feature strings, this similarity measure can be computed in time linear to the number of different characters in these strings. This linear runtime behavior makes our kernel attractive even for large datasets that occur in many application domains. Furthermore, we explain that our similarity measure induces a metric which allows to combine it with an M-tree for handling of large volumes of data. Classification experiments on two published benchmark datasets show that our novel approach is competitive with the best state-of-the-art methods for 3D object classification.

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Adapting Spatial Filter Methods for Nonstationary BCIs

Tomioka, R., Hill, J., Blankertz, B., Aihara, K.

In IBIS 2006, pages: 65-70, 2006 Workshop on Information-Based Induction Sciences, November 2006 (inproceedings)

Abstract
A major challenge in applying machine learning methods to Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs) is to overcome the possible nonstationarity in the data from the datablock the method is trained on and that the method is applied to. Assuming the joint distributions of the whitened signal and the class label to be identical in two blocks, where the whitening is done in each block independently, we propose a simple adaptation formula that is applicable to a broad class of spatial filtering methods including ICA, CSP, and logistic regression classifiers. We characterize the class of linear transformations for which the above assumption holds. Experimental results on 60 BCI datasets show improved classification accuracy compared to (a) fixed spatial filter approach (no adaptation) and (b) fixed spatial pattern approach (proposed by Hill et al., 2006 [1]).

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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A Machine Learning Approach for Determining the PET Attenuation Map from Magnetic Resonance Images

Hofmann, M., Steinke, F., Judenhofer, M., Claussen, C., Schölkopf, B., Pichler, B.

IEEE Medical Imaging Conference, November 2006 (talk)

Abstract
A promising new combination in multimodality imaging is MR-PET, where the high soft tissue contrast of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and the functional information of Positron Emission Tomography (PET) are combined. Although many technical problems have recently been solved, it is still an open problem to determine the attenuation map from the available MR scan, as the MR intensities are not directly related to the attenuation values. One standard approach is an atlas registration where the atlas MR image is aligned with the patient MR thus also yielding an attenuation image for the patient. We also propose another approach, which to our knowledge has not been tried before: Using Support Vector Machines we predict the attenuation value directly from the local image information. We train this well-established machine learning algorithm using small image patches. Although both approaches sometimes yielded acceptable results, they also showed their specific shortcomings: The registration often fails with large deformations whereas the prediction approach is problematic when the local image structure is not characteristic enough. However, the failures often do not coincide and integration of both information sources is promising. We therefore developed a combination method extending Support Vector Machines to use not only local image structure but also atlas registered coordinates. We demonstrate the strength of this combination approach on a number of examples.

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Semi-Supervised Support Vector Machines and Application to Spam Filtering

Zien, A.

ECML Discovery Challenge Workshop, September 2006 (talk)

Abstract
After introducing the semi-supervised support vector machine (aka TSVM for "transductive SVM"), a few popular training strategies are briefly presented. Then the assumptions underlying semi-supervised learning are reviewed. Finally, two modern TSVM optimization techniques are applied to the spam filtering data sets of the workshop; it is shown that they can achieve excellent results, if the problem of the data being non-iid can be handled properly.

PDF Web [BibTex]


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A Linear Programming Approach for Molecular QSAR analysis

Saigo, H., Kadowaki, T., Tsuda, K.

In MLG 2006, pages: 85-96, (Editors: Gärtner, T. , G. C. Garriga, T. Meinl), International Workshop on Mining and Learning with Graphs, September 2006, Best Paper Award (inproceedings)

Abstract
Small molecules in chemistry can be represented as graphs. In a quantitative structure-activity relationship (QSAR) analysis, the central task is to find a regression function that predicts the activity of the molecule in high accuracy. Setting a QSAR as a primal target, we propose a new linear programming approach to the graph-based regression problem. Our method extends the graph classification algorithm by Kudo et al. (NIPS 2004), which is a combination of boosting and graph mining. Instead of sequential multiplicative updates, we employ the linear programming boosting (LP) for regression. The LP approach allows to include inequality constraints for the parameter vector, which turns out to be particularly useful in QSAR tasks where activity values are sometimes unavailable. Furthermore, the efficiency is improved significantly by employing multiple pricing.

PDF PDF [BibTex]

PDF PDF [BibTex]


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Incremental Aspect Models for Mining Document Streams

Surendran, A., Sra, S.

In PKDD 2006, pages: 633-640, (Editors: Fürnkranz, J. , T. Scheffer, M. Spiliopoulou), Springer, Berlin, Germany, 10th European Conference on Principles and Practice of Knowledge Discovery in Databases, September 2006 (inproceedings)

Abstract
In this paper we introduce a novel approach for incrementally building aspect models, and use it to dynamically discover underlying themes from document streams. Using the new approach we present an application which we call “query-line tracking” i.e., we automatically discover and summarize different themes or stories that appear over time, and that relate to a particular query. We present evaluation on news corpora to demonstrate the strength of our method for both query-line tracking, online indexing and clustering.

Web DOI [BibTex]

Web DOI [BibTex]


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PALMA: Perfect Alignments using Large Margin Algorithms

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

In GCB 2006, pages: 104-113, (Editors: Huson, D. , O. Kohlbacher, A. Lupas, K. Nieselt, A. Zell), Gesellschaft für Informatik, Bonn, Germany, German Conference on Bioinformatics, September 2006 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Despite many years of research on how to properly align sequences in the presence of sequencing errors, alternative splicing and micro-exons, the correct alignment of mRNA sequences to genomic DNA is still a challenging task. We present a novel approach based on large margin learning that combines kernel based splice site predictions with common sequence alignment techniques. By solving a convex optimization problem, our algorithm -- called PALMA -- tunes the parameters of the model such that the true alignment scores higher than all other alignments. In an experimental study on the alignments of mRNAs containing artificially generated micro-exons, we show that our algorithm drastically outperforms all other methods: It perfectly aligns all 4358 sequences on an hold-out set, while the best other method misaligns at least 90 of them. Moreover, our algorithm is very robust against noise in the query sequence: when deleting, inserting, or mutating up to 50% of the query sequence, it still aligns 95% of all sequences correctly, while other methods achieve less than 36% accuracy. For datasets, additional results and a stand-alone alignment tool see http://www.fml.mpg.de/raetsch/projects/palma.

PDF Web [BibTex]

PDF Web [BibTex]


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Graph Based Semi-Supervised Learning with Sharper Edges

Shin, H., Hill, N., Rätsch, G.

In ECML 2006, pages: 401-412, (Editors: Fürnkranz, J. , T. Scheffer, M. Spiliopoulou), Springer, Berlin, Germany, 17th European Conference on Machine Learning (ECML), September 2006 (inproceedings)

Abstract
In many graph-based semi-supervised learning algorithms, edge weights are assumed to be fixed and determined by the data points‘ (often symmetric)relationships in input space, without considering directionality. However, relationships may be more informative in one direction (e.g. from labelled to unlabelled) than in the reverse direction, and some relationships (e.g. strong weights between oppositely labelled points) are unhelpful in either direction. Undesirable edges may reduce the amount of influence an informative point can propagate to its neighbours -- the point and its outgoing edges have been ``blunted.‘‘ We present an approach to ``sharpening‘‘ in which weights are adjusted to meet an optimization criterion wherever they are directed towards labelled points. This principle can be applied to a wide variety of algorithms. In the current paper, we present one ad hoc solution satisfying the principle, in order to show that it can improve performance on a number of publicly available benchmark data sets.

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]


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Robust MEG Source Localization of Event Related Potentials: Identifying Relevant Sources by Non-Gaussianity

Breun, P., Grosse-Wentrup, M., Utschick, W., Buss, M.

In DAGM 2006, pages: 394-403, (Editors: Franke, K. , K.-R. Müller, B. Nickolay, R. Schäfer), Springer, Berlin, Germany, 28th Annual Symposium of the German Association for Pattern Recognition, September 2006 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Independent Component Analysis (ICA) is a frequently used preprocessing step in source localization of MEG and EEG data. By decomposing the measured data into maximally independent components (ICs), estimates of the time course and the topographies of neural sources are obtained. In this paper, we show that when using estimated source topographies for localization, correlations between neural sources introduce an error into the obtained source locations. This error can be avoided by reprojecting ICs onto the observation space, but requires the identification of relevant ICs. For Event Related Potentials (ERPs), we identify relevant ICs by estimating their non-Gaussianity. The efficacy of the approach is tested on auditory evoked potentials (AEPs) recorded by MEG. It is shown that ten trials are sufficient for reconstructing all important characteristics of the AEP, and source localization of the reconstructed ERP yields the same focus of activity as the average of 250 trials.

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]


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Finite-Horizon Optimal State-Feedback Control of Nonlinear Stochastic Systems Based on a Minimum Principle

Deisenroth, MP., Ohtsuka, T., Weissel, F., Brunn, D., Hanebeck, UD.

In MFI 2006, pages: 371-376, (Editors: Hanebeck, U. D.), IEEE Service Center, Piscataway, NJ, USA, 6th IEEE International Conference on Multisensor Fusion and Integration, September 2006 (inproceedings)

Abstract
In this paper, an approach to the finite-horizon optimal state-feedback control problem of nonlinear, stochastic, discrete-time systems is presented. Starting from the dynamic programming equation, the value function will be approximated by means of Taylor series expansion up to second-order derivatives. Moreover, the problem will be reformulated, such that a minimum principle can be applied to the stochastic problem. Employing this minimum principle, the optimal control problem can be rewritten as a two-point boundary-value problem to be solved at each time step of a shrinking horizon. To avoid numerical problems, the two-point boundary-value problem will be solved by means of a continuation method. Thus, the curse of dimensionality of dynamic programming is avoided, and good candidates for the optimal state-feedback controls are obtained. The proposed approach will be evaluated by means of a scalar example system.

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]


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Uniform Convergence of Adaptive Graph-Based Regularization

Hein, M.

In COLT 2006, pages: 50-64, (Editors: Lugosi, G. , H.-U. Simon), Springer, Berlin, Germany, 19th Annual Conference on Learning Theory, September 2006 (inproceedings)

Abstract
The regularization functional induced by the graph Laplacian of a random neighborhood graph based on the data is adaptive in two ways. First it adapts to an underlying manifold structure and second to the density of the data-generating probability measure. We identify in this paper the limit of the regularizer and show uniform convergence over the space of Hoelder functions. As an intermediate step we derive upper bounds on the covering numbers of Hoelder functions on compact Riemannian manifolds, which are of independent interest for the theoretical analysis of manifold-based learning methods.

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]


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Efficient Large Scale Linear Programming Support Vector Machines

Sra, S.

In ECML 2006, pages: 767-774, (Editors: Fürnkranz, J. , T. Scheffer, M. Spiliopoulou), Springer, Berlin, Germany, 17th European Conference on Machine Learning, September 2006 (inproceedings)

Abstract
This paper presents a decomposition method for efficiently constructing ℓ1-norm Support Vector Machines (SVMs). The decomposition algorithm introduced in this paper possesses many desirable properties. For example, it is provably convergent, scales well to large datasets, is easy to implement, and can be extended to handle support vector regression and other SVM variants. We demonstrate the efficiency of our algorithm by training on (dense) synthetic datasets of sizes up to 20 million points (in ℝ32). The results show our algorithm to be several orders of magnitude faster than a previously published method for the same task. We also present experimental results on real data sets—our method is seen to be not only very fast, but also highly competitive against the leading SVM implementations.

Web DOI [BibTex]

Web DOI [BibTex]


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Regularised CSP for Sensor Selection in BCI

Farquhar, J., Hill, N., Lal, T., Schölkopf, B.

In Proceedings of the 3rd International Brain-Computer Interface Workshop and Training Course 2006, pages: 14-15, (Editors: GR Müller-Putz and C Brunner and R Leeb and R Scherer and A Schlögl and S Wriessnegger and G Pfurtscheller), Verlag der Technischen Universität Graz, Graz, Austria, 3rd International Brain-Computer Interface Workshop and Training Course, September 2006 (inproceedings)

Abstract
The Common Spatial Pattern (CSP) algorithm is a highly successful method for efficiently calculating spatial filters for brain signal classification. Spatial filtering can improve classification performance considerably, but demands that a large number of electrodes be mounted, which is inconvenient in day-to-day BCI usage. The CSP algorithm is also known for its tendency to overfit, i.e. to learn the noise in the training set rather than the signal. Both problems motivate an approach in which spatial filters are sparsified. We briefly sketch a reformulation of the problem which allows us to do this, using 1-norm regularisation. Focusing on the electrode selection issue, we present preliminary results on EEG data sets that suggest that effective spatial filters may be computed with as few as 10--20 electrodes, hence offering the potential to simplify the practical realisation of BCI systems significantly.

PDF PDF [BibTex]

PDF PDF [BibTex]


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Time-Dependent Demixing of Task-Relevant EEG Signals

Hill, N., Farquhar, J., Lal, T., Schölkopf, B.

In Proceedings of the 3rd International Brain-Computer Interface Workshop and Training Course 2006, pages: 20-21, (Editors: GR Müller-Putz and C Brunner and R Leeb and R Scherer and A Schlögl and S Wriessnegger and G Pfurtscheller), Verlag der Technischen Universität Graz, Graz, Austria, 3rd International Brain-Computer Interface Workshop and Training Course, September 2006 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Given a spatial filtering algorithm that has allowed us to identify task-relevant EEG sources, we present a simple approach for monitoring the activity of these sources while remaining relatively robust to changes in other (task-irrelevant) brain activity. The idea is to keep spatial *patterns* fixed rather than spatial filters, when transferring from training to test sessions or from one time window to another. We show that a fixed spatial pattern (FSP) approach, using a moving-window estimate of signal covariances, can be more robust to non-stationarity than a fixed spatial filter (FSF) approach.

PDF PDF [BibTex]

PDF PDF [BibTex]


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Inferential Structure Determination: Probabilistic determination and validation of NMR structures

Habeck, M.

Gordon Research Conference on Computational Aspects of Biomolecular NMR, September 2006 (talk)

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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Transductive Gaussian Process Regression with Automatic Model Selection

Le, Q., Smola, A., Gärtner, T., Altun, Y.

In Machine Learning: ECML 2006, pages: 306-317, (Editors: Fürnkranz, J. , T. Scheffer, M. Spiliopoulou), Springer, Berlin, Germany, 17th European Conference on Machine Learning (ECML), September 2006 (inproceedings)

Abstract
n contrast to the standard inductive inference setting of predictive machine learning, in real world learning problems often the test instances are already available at training time. Transductive inference tries to improve the predictive accuracy of learning algorithms by making use of the information contained in these test instances. Although this description of transductive inference applies to predictive learning problems in general, most transductive approaches consider the case of classification only. In this paper we introduce a transductive variant of Gaussian process regression with automatic model selection, based on approximate moment matching between training and test data. Empirical results show the feasibility and competitiveness of this approach.

Web DOI [BibTex]

Web DOI [BibTex]


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A Sober Look at Clustering Stability

Ben-David, S., von Luxburg, U., Pal, D.

In COLT 2006, pages: 5-19, (Editors: Lugosi, G. , H.-U. Simon), Springer, Berlin, Germany, 19th Annual Conference on Learning Theory, September 2006 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Stability is a common tool to verify the validity of sample based algorithms. In clustering it is widely used to tune the parameters of the algorithm, such as the number k of clusters. In spite of the popularity of stability in practical applications, there has been very little theoretical analysis of this notion. In this paper we provide a formal definition of stability and analyze some of its basic properties. Quite surprisingly, the conclusion of our analysis is that for large sample size, stability is fully determined by the behavior of the objective function which the clustering algorithm is aiming to minimize. If the objective function has a unique global minimizer, the algorithm is stable, otherwise it is unstable. In particular we conclude that stability is not a well-suited tool to determine the number of clusters - it is determined by the symmetries of the data which may be unrelated to clustering parameters. We prove our results for center-based clusterings and for spectral clustering, and support our conclusions by many examples in which the behavior of stability is counter-intuitive.

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]


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Information Marginalization on Subgraphs

Huang, J., Zhu, T., Rereiner, R., Zhou, D., Schuurmans, D.

In ECML/PKDD 2006, pages: 199-210, (Editors: Fürnkranz, J. , T. Scheffer, M. Spiliopoulou), Springer, Berlin, Germany, 10th European Conference on Principles and Practice of Knowledge Discovery in Databases, September 2006 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Real-world data often involves objects that exhibit multiple relationships; for example, ‘papers’ and ‘authors’ exhibit both paper-author interactions and paper-paper citation relationships. A typical learning problem requires one to make inferences about a subclass of objects (e.g. ‘papers’), while using the remaining objects and relations to provide relevant information. We present a simple, unified mechanism for incorporating information from multiple object types and relations when learning on a targeted subset. In this scheme, all sources of relevant information are marginalized onto the target subclass via random walks. We show that marginalized random walks can be used as a general technique for combining multiple sources of information in relational data. With this approach, we formulate new algorithms for transduction and ranking in relational data, and quantify the performance of new schemes on real world data—achieving good results in many problems.

Web DOI [BibTex]

Web DOI [BibTex]


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Bayesian Active Learning for Sensitivity Analysis

Pfingsten, T.

In ECML 2006, pages: 353-364, (Editors: Fürnkranz, J. , T. Scheffer, M. Spiliopoulou), Springer, Berlin, Germany, 17th European Conference on Machine Learning, September 2006 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Designs of micro electro-mechanical devices need to be robust against fluctuations in mass production. Computer experiments with tens of parameters are used to explore the behavior of the system, and to compute sensitivity measures as expectations over the input distribution. Monte Carlo methods are a simple approach to estimate these integrals, but they are infeasible when the models are computationally expensive. Using a Gaussian processes prior, expensive simulation runs can be saved. This Bayesian quadrature allows for an active selection of inputs where the simulation promises to be most valuable, and the number of simulation runs can be reduced further. We present an active learning scheme for sensitivity analysis which is rigorously derived from the corresponding Bayesian expected loss. On three fully featured, high dimensional physical models of electro-mechanical sensors, we show that the learning rate in the active learning scheme is significantly better than for passive learning.

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]


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Machine Learning Algorithms for Polymorphism Detection

Schweikert, G., Zeller, G., Clark, R., Ossowski, S., Warthmann, N., Shinn, P., Frazer, K., Ecker, J., Huson, D., Weigel, D., Schölkopf, B., Rätsch, G.

2nd ISCB Student Council Symposium, August 2006 (talk)

Abstract
Analyzing resequencing array data using machine learning, we obtain a genome-wide inventory of polymorphisms in 20 wild strains of Arabidopsis thaliana, including 750,000 single nucleotide poly- morphisms (SNPs) and thousands of highly polymorphic regions and deletions. We thus provide an unprecedented resource for the study of natural variation in plants.

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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Semi-supervised Hyperspectral Image Classification with Graphs

Bandos, T., Zhou, D., Camps-Valls, G.

In IGARSS 2006, pages: 3883-3886, IEEE Computer Society, Los Alamitos, CA, USA, IEEE International Conference on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, August 2006 (inproceedings)

Abstract
This paper presents a semi-supervised graph-based method for the classification of hyperspectral images. The method is designed to exploit the spatial/contextual information in the images through composite kernels. The proposed method produces smoother classifications with respect to the intrinsic structure collectively revealed by known labeled and unlabeled points. Good accuracy in high dimensional spaces and low number of labeled samples (ill-posed situations) are produced as compared to standard inductive support vector machines.

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]


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Supervised Probabilistic Principal Component Analysis

Yu, S., Yu, K., Tresp, V., Kriegel, H., Wu, M.

In KDD 2006, pages: 464-473, (Editors: Ungar, L. ), ACM Press, New York, NY, USA, 12th ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining, August 2006 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Principal component analysis (PCA) has been extensively applied in data mining, pattern recognition and information retrieval for unsupervised dimensionality reduction. When labels of data are available, e.g.,~in a classification or regression task, PCA is however not able to use this information. The problem is more interesting if only part of the input data are labeled, i.e.,~in a semi-supervised setting. In this paper we propose a supervised PCA model called SPPCA and a semi-supervised PCA model called S$^2$PPCA, both of which are extensions of a probabilistic PCA model. The proposed models are able to incorporate the label information into the projection phase, and can naturally handle multiple outputs (i.e.,~in multi-task learning problems). We derive an efficient EM learning algorithm for both models, and also provide theoretical justifications of the model behaviors. SPPCA and S$^2$PPCA are compared with other supervised projection methods on various learning tasks, and show not only promising performance but also good scalability.

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]


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Inferential structure determination: Overview and new developments

Habeck, M.

Sixth CCPN Annual Conference: Efficient and Rapid Structure Determination by NMR, July 2006 (talk)

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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Broad-Coverage Sense Disambiguation and Information Extraction with a Supersense Sequence Tagger

Ciaramita, M., Altun, Y.

In pages: 594-602, (Editors: Jurafsky, D. , E. Gaussier), Association for Computational Linguistics, Stroudsburg, PA, USA, 2006 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP), July 2006 (inproceedings)

Abstract
In this paper we approach word sense disambiguation and information extraction as a unified tagging problem. The task consists of annotating text with the tagset defined by the 41 Wordnet supersense classes for nouns and verbs. Since the tagset is directly related to Wordnet synsets, the tagger returns partial word sense disambiguation. Furthermore, since the noun tags include the standard named entity detection classes – person, location, organization, time, etc. – the tagger, as a by-product, returns extended named entity information. We cast the problem of supersense tagging as a sequential labeling task and investigate it empirically with a discriminatively-trained Hidden Markov Model. Experimental evaluation on the main sense-annotated datasets available, i.e., Semcor and Senseval, shows considerable improvements over the best known “first-sense” baseline.

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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A Continuation Method for Semi-Supervised SVMs

Chapelle, O., Chi, M., Zien, A.

In ICML 2006, pages: 185-192, (Editors: Cohen, W. W., A. Moore), ACM Press, New York, NY, USA, 23rd International Conference on Machine Learning, June 2006 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Semi-Supervised Support Vector Machines (S3VMs) are an appealing method for using unlabeled data in classification: their objective function favors decision boundaries which do not cut clusters. However their main problem is that the optimization problem is non-convex and has many local minima, which often results in suboptimal performances. In this paper we propose to use a global optimization technique known as continuation to alleviate this problem. Compared to other algorithms minimizing the same objective function, our continuation method often leads to lower test errors.

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]


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MCMC inference in (Conditionally) Conjugate Dirichlet Process Gaussian Mixture Models

Rasmussen, C., Görür, D.

ICML Workshop on Learning with Nonparametric Bayesian Methods, June 2006 (talk)

Abstract
We compare the predictive accuracy of the Dirichlet Process Gaussian mixture models using conjugate and conditionally conjugate priors and show that better density models result from using the wider class of priors. We explore several MCMC schemes exploiting conditional conjugacy and show their computational merits on several multidimensional density estimation problems.

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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Unifying Divergence Minimization and Statistical Inference Via Convex Duality

Altun, Y., Smola, A.

In Learning Theory, pages: 139-153, (Editors: Lugosi, G. , H.-U. Simon), Springer, Berlin, Germany, 19th Annual Conference on Learning Theory (COLT), June 2006 (inproceedings)

Abstract
In this paper we unify divergence minimization and statistical inference by means of convex duality. In the process of doing so, we prove that the dual of approximate maximum entropy estimation is maximum a posteriori estimation as a special case. Moreover, our treatment leads to stability and convergence bounds for many statistical learning problems. Finally, we show how an algorithm by Zhang can be used to solve this class of optimization problems efficiently.

Web DOI [BibTex]

Web DOI [BibTex]


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Trading Convexity for Scalability

Collobert, R., Sinz, F., Weston, J., Bottou, L.

In ICML 2006, pages: 201-208, (Editors: Cohen, W. W., A. Moore), ACM Press, New York, NY, USA, 23rd International Conference on Machine Learning, June 2006 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Convex learning algorithms, such as Support Vector Machines (SVMs), are often seen as highly desirable because they offer strong practical properties and are amenable to theoretical analysis. However, in this work we show how non-convexity can provide scalability advantages over convexity. We show how concave-convex programming can be applied to produce (i) faster SVMs where training errors are no longer support vectors, and (ii) much faster Transductive SVMs.

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]


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Personalized handwriting recognition via biased regularization

Kienzle, W., Chellapilla, K.

In ICML 2006, pages: 457-464, (Editors: Cohen, W. W., A. Moore), ACM Press, New York, NY, USA, 23rd International Conference on Machine Learning, June 2006 (inproceedings)

Abstract
We present a new approach to personalized handwriting recognition. The problem, also known as writer adaptation, consists of converting a generic (user-independent) recognizer into a personalized (user-dependent) one, which has an improved recognition rate for a particular user. The adaptation step usually involves user-specific samples, which leads to the fundamental question of how to fuse this new information with that captured by the generic recognizer. We propose adapting the recognizer by minimizing a regularized risk functional (a modified SVM) where the prior knowledge from the generic recognizer enters through a modified regularization term. The result is a simple personalization framework with very good practical properties. Experiments on a 100 class real-world data set show that the number of errors can be reduced by over 40% with as few as five user samples per character.

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]


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Sampling for non-conjugate infinite latent feature models

Görür, D., Rasmussen, C.

(Editors: Bernardo, J. M.), 8th Valencia International Meeting on Bayesian Statistics (ISBA), June 2006 (talk)

Abstract
Latent variable models are powerful tools to model the underlying structure in data. Infinite latent variable models can be defined using Bayesian nonparametrics. Dirichlet process (DP) models constitute an example of infinite latent class models in which each object is assumed to belong to one of the, mutually exclusive, infinitely many classes. Recently, the Indian buffet process (IBP) has been defined as an extension of the DP. IBP is a distribution over sparse binary matrices with infinitely many columns which can be used as a distribution for non-exclusive features. Inference using Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) in conjugate IBP models has been previously described, however requiring conjugacy restricts the use of IBP. We describe an MCMC algorithm for non-conjugate IBP models. Modelling the choice behaviour is an important topic in psychology, economics and related fields. Elimination by Aspects (EBA) is a choice model that assumes each alternative has latent features with associated weights that lead to the observed choice outcomes. We formulate a non-parametric version of EBA by using IBP as the prior over the latent binary features. We infer the features of objects that lead to the choice data by using our sampling scheme for inference.

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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Deterministic annealing for semi-supervised kernel machines

Sindhwani, V., Keerthi, S., Chapelle, O.

In ICML 2006, pages: 841-848, (Editors: Cohen, W. W., A. Moore), ACM Press, New York, NY, USA, 23rd International Conference on Machine Learning, June 2006 (inproceedings)

Abstract
An intuitive approach to utilizing unlabeled data in kernel-based classification algorithms is to simply treat the unknown labels as additional optimization variables. For margin-based loss functions, one can view this approach as attempting to learn low-density separators. However, this is a hard optimization problem to solve in typical semi-supervised settings where unlabeled data is abundant. The popular Transductive SVM algorithm is a label-switching-retraining procedure that is known to be susceptible to local minima. In this paper, we present a global optimization framework for semi-supervised Kernel machines where an easier problem is parametrically deformed to the original hard problem and minimizers are smoothly tracked. Our approach is motivated from deterministic annealing techniques and involves a sequence of convex optimization problems that are exactly and efficiently solved. We present empirical results on several synthetic and real world datasets that demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach.

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]