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2006


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Some observations on the pedestal effect or dipper function

Henning, B., Wichmann, F.

Journal of Vision, 6(13):50, 2006 Fall Vision Meeting of the Optical Society of America, December 2006 (poster)

Abstract
The pedestal effect is the large improvement in the detectabilty of a sinusoidal “signal” grating observed when the signal is added to a masking or “pedestal” grating of the same spatial frequency, orientation, and phase. We measured the pedestal effect in both broadband and notched noise - noise from which a 1.5-octave band centred on the signal frequency had been removed. Although the pedestal effect persists in broadband noise, it almost disappears in the notched noise. Furthermore, the pedestal effect is substantial when either high- or low-pass masking noise is used. 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 different from that of the signal and pedestal. The spatial-frequency components of the notched noise 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. Thus the pedestal or dipper effect measured without notched noise is not a characteristic of individual spatial-frequency tuned channels.

Web DOI [BibTex]

2006

Web DOI [BibTex]


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Acquiring web page information without commitment to downloading the web page

Heilbron, L., Platt, J. C., Schölkopf, B., Simard, P. Y.

United States Patent, No 7155489, December 2006 (patent)

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Optimizing Spatial Filters for BCI: Margin- and Evidence-Maximization Approaches

Farquhar, J., Hill, N., Schölkopf, B.

Challenging Brain-Computer Interfaces: MAIA Workshop 2006, pages: 1, November 2006 (poster)

Abstract
We present easy-to-use alternatives to the often-used two-stage Common Spatial Pattern + classifier approach for spatial filtering and classification of Event-Related Desychnronization signals in BCI. We report two algorithms that aim to optimize the spatial filters according to a criterion more directly related to the ability of the algorithms to generalize to unseen data. Both are based upon the idea of treating the spatial filter coefficients as hyperparameters of a kernel or covariance function. We then optimize these hyper-parameters directly along side the normal classifier parameters with respect to our chosen learning objective function. The two objectives considered are margin maximization as used in Support-Vector Machines and the evidence maximization framework used in Gaussian Processes. Our experiments assessed generalization error as a function of the number of training points used, on 9 BCI competition data sets and 5 offline motor imagery data sets measured in Tubingen. Both our approaches sho w consistent improvements relative to the commonly used CSP+linear classifier combination. Strikingly, the improvement is most significant in the higher noise cases, when either few trails are used for training, or with the most poorly performing subjects. This a reversal of the usual "rich get richer" effect in the development of CSP extensions, which tend to perform best when the signal is strong enough to accurately find their additional parameters. This makes our approach particularly suitable for clinical application where high levels of noise are to be expected.

PDF PDF [BibTex]

PDF PDF [BibTex]


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Interactive images

Schölkopf, B., Toyama, K., Uyttendaele, M.

United States Patent, No 7120293, October 2006 (patent)

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Learning Eye Movements

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

Sensory Coding And The Natural Environment, 2006, pages: 1, September 2006 (poster)

Abstract
The human visual system samples images through saccadic eye movements which rapidly change the point of fixation. Although the selection of eye movement targets depends on numerous top-down mechanisms, a number of recent studies have shown that low-level image features such as local contrast or edges play an important role. These studies typically used predefined image features which were afterwards experimentally verified. Here, we follow a complementary approach: instead of testing a set of candidate image features, we infer these hypotheses from the data, using methods from statistical learning. To this end, we train a non-linear classifier on fixated vs. randomly selected image patches without making any physiological assumptions. The resulting classifier can be essentially characterized by a nonlinear combination of two center-surround receptive fields. We find that the prediction performance of this simple model on our eye movement data is indistinguishable from the physiologically motivated model of Itti & Koch (2000) which is far more complex. In particular, we obtain a comparable performance without using any multi-scale representations, long-range interactions or oriented image features.

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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Semi-Supervised Learning

Chapelle, O., Schölkopf, B., Zien, A.

pages: 508, Adaptive computation and machine learning, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, USA, September 2006 (book)

Abstract
In the field of machine learning, semi-supervised learning (SSL) occupies the middle ground, between supervised learning (in which all training examples are labeled) and unsupervised learning (in which no label data are given). Interest in SSL has increased in recent years, particularly because of application domains in which unlabeled data are plentiful, such as images, text, and bioinformatics. This first comprehensive overview of SSL presents state-of-the-art algorithms, a taxonomy of the field, selected applications, benchmark experiments, and perspectives on ongoing and future research. Semi-Supervised Learning first presents the key assumptions and ideas underlying the field: smoothness, cluster or low-density separation, manifold structure, and transduction. The core of the book is the presentation of SSL methods, organized according to algorithmic strategies. After an examination of generative models, the book describes algorithms that implement the low-density separation assumption, graph-based methods, and algorithms that perform two-step learning. The book then discusses SSL applications and offers guidelines for SSL practitioners by analyzing the results of extensive benchmark experiments. Finally, the book looks at interesting directions for SSL research. The book closes with a discussion of the relationship between semi-supervised learning and transduction.

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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Pattern detection methods and systems and face detection methods and systems

Blake, A., Romdhani, S., Schölkopf, B., Torr, P. H. S.

United States Patent, No 7099504, August 2006 (patent)

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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MR/PET Attenuation Correction

Hofmann, M., Schölkopf, B., Steinke, F., Pichler, B.

Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Biologische Kybernetik, July 2006 (patent)

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Classification of natural scenes: Critical features revisited

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

Journal of Vision, 6(6):561, 6th Annual Meeting of the Vision Sciences Society (VSS), June 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 (A. Torralba & A. Oliva, Network: Comput. Neural Syst., 2003). 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 (Drewes, Wichmann, Gegenfurtner VSS 2005). 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 (cf. Wichmann, Rosas, Gegenfurtner, VSS 2005). 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 DOI [BibTex]

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, B.

Journal of Vision, 6(6):194, 6th Annual Meeting of the Vision Sciences Society (VSS), June 2006 (poster)

Abstract
The pedestal or dipper effect is the large improvement in the detectabilty 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 DOI [BibTex]

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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Efficient tests for the deconvolution hypothesis

Langovoy, M.

Workshop on Statistical Inverse Problems, March 2006 (poster)

Web [BibTex]

Web [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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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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Gaussian Processes for Machine Learning

Rasmussen, CE., Williams, CKI.

pages: 248, Adaptive Computation and Machine Learning, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, USA, January 2006 (book)

Abstract
Gaussian processes (GPs) provide a principled, practical, probabilistic approach to learning in kernel machines. GPs have received increased attention in the machine-learning community over the past decade, and this book provides a long-needed systematic and unified treatment of theoretical and practical aspects of GPs in machine learning. The treatment is comprehensive and self-contained, targeted at researchers and students in machine learning and applied statistics. The book deals with the supervised-learning problem for both regression and classification, and includes detailed algorithms. A wide variety of covariance (kernel) functions are presented and their properties discussed. Model selection is discussed both from a Bayesian and a classical perspective. Many connections to other well-known techniques from machine learning and statistics are discussed, including support-vector machines, neural networks, splines, regularization networks, relevance vector machines and others. Theoretical issues including learning curves and the PAC-Bayesian framework are treated, and several approximation methods for learning with large datasets are discussed. The book contains illustrative examples and exercises, and code and datasets are available on the Web. Appendixes provide mathematical background and a discussion of Gaussian Markov processes.

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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Apparatus for Inspecting Alignment Film of Liquid Crystal Display and Method Thereof

Park, MW., Son, HI., Kim, SJ., Kim, KI., Yang, JW.

Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Biologische Kybernetik, 2006 (patent)

[BibTex]

[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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Apparatus for Inspecting Flat Panel Display and Method Thereof

Yang, JW., Kim, KI., Son, HI.

Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Biologische Kybernetik, 2006 (patent)

[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]

2005


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Method and device for detection of splice form and alternative splice forms in DNA or RNA sequences

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

European Patent Application, International No PCT/EP2005/005783, December 2005 (patent)

[BibTex]

2005

[BibTex]


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Kernel methods for dependence testing in LFP-MUA

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

35(689.17), 35th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (Neuroscience), November 2005 (poster)

Abstract
A fundamental problem in neuroscience is determining whether or not particular neural signals are dependent. The correlation is the most straightforward basis for such tests, but considerable work also focuses on the mutual information (MI), which is capable of revealing dependence of higher orders that the correlation cannot detect. That said, there are other measures of dependence that share with the MI an ability to detect dependence of any order, but which can be easier to compute in practice. We focus in particular on tests based on the functional covariance, which derive from work originally accomplished in 1959 by Renyi. Conceptually, our dependence tests work by computing the covariance between (infinite dimensional) vectors of nonlinear mappings of the observations being tested, and then determining whether this covariance is zero - we call this measure the constrained covariance (COCO). When these vectors are members of universal reproducing kernel Hilbert spaces, we can prove this covariance to be zero only when the variables being tested are independent. The greatest advantage of these tests, compared with the mutual information, is their simplicity – when comparing two signals, we need only take the largest eigenvalue (or the trace) of a product of two matrices of nonlinearities, where these matrices are generally much smaller than the number of observations (and are very simple to construct). We compare the mutual information, the COCO, and the correlation in the context of finding changes in dependence between the LFP and MUA signals in the primary visual cortex of the anaesthetized macaque, during the presentation of dynamic natural stimuli. We demonstrate that the MI and COCO reveal dependence which is not detected by the correlation alone (which we prove by artificially removing all correlation between the signals, and then testing their dependence with COCO and the MI); and that COCO and the MI give results consistent with each other on our data.

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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Rapid animal detection in natural scenes: Critical features are local

Wichmann, F., Rosas, P., Gegenfurtner, K.

Journal of Vision, 5(8):376, Fifth Annual Meeting of the Vision Sciences Society (VSS), September 2005 (poster)

Abstract
Thorpe et al (Nature 381, 1996) first showed how rapidly human observers are able to classify natural images as to whether they contain an animal or not. Whilst the basic result has been replicated using different response paradigms (yes-no versus forced-choice), modalities (eye movements versus button presses) as well as while measuring neurophysiological correlates (ERPs), it is still unclear which image features support this rapid categorisation. Recently Torralba and Oliva (Network: Computation in Neural Systems, 14, 2003) suggested that simple global image statistics can be used to predict seemingly complex decisions about the absence and/or presence of objects in natural scences. They show that the information contained in a small number (N=16) of spectral principal components (SPC)—principal component analysis (PCA) applied to the normalised power spectra of the images—is sufficient to achieve approximately 80% correct animal detection in natural scenes. Our goal was to test whether human observers make use of the power spectrum when rapidly classifying natural scenes. We measured our subjects' ability to detect animals in natural scenes as a function of presentation time (13 to 167 msec); images were immediately followed by a noise mask. In one condition we used the original images, in the other images whose power spectra were equalised (each power spectrum was set to the mean power spectrum over our ensemble of 1476 images). Thresholds for 75% correct animal detection were in the region of 20–30 msec for all observers, independent of the power spectrum of the images: this result makes it very unlikely that human observers make use of the global power spectrum. Taken together with the results of Gegenfurtner, Braun & Wichmann (Journal of Vision [abstract], 2003), showing the robustness of animal detection to global phase noise, we conclude that humans use local features, like edges and contours, in rapid animal detection.

Web DOI [BibTex]

Web DOI [BibTex]


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Learning an Interest Operator from Eye Movements

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

International Workshop on Bioinspired Information Processing (BIP 2005), 2005, pages: 1, September 2005 (poster)

PDF Web [BibTex]

PDF Web [BibTex]


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Classification of natural scenes using global image statistics

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

Journal of Vision, 5(8):602, Fifth Annual Meeting of the Vision Sciences Society (VSS), September 2005 (poster)

Abstract
The algorithmic classification of complex, natural scenes is generally considered a difficult task due to the large amount of information conveyed by natural images. Work by Simon Thorpe and colleagues showed that humans are capable of detecting animals within novel natural scenes with remarkable speed and accuracy. This suggests that the relevant information for classification can be extracted at comparatively limited computational cost. One hypothesis is that global image statistics such as the amplitude spectrum could underly fast image classification (Johnson & Olshausen, Journal of Vision, 2003; Torralba & Oliva, Network: Comput. Neural Syst., 2003). We used linear discriminant analysis to classify a set of 11.000 images into animal and non-animal images. After applying a DFT to the image, we put the Fourier spectrum into bins (8 orientations with 6 frequency bands each). Using all bins, classification performance on the Fourier spectrum reached 70%. However, performance was similar (67%) when only the high spatial frequency information was used and decreased steadily at lower spatial frequencies, reaching a minimum (50%) for the low spatial frequency information. Similar results were obtained when all bins were used on spatially filtered images. A detailed analysis of the classification weights showed that a relatively high level of performance (67%) could also be obtained when only 2 bins were used, namely the vertical and horizontal orientation at the highest spatial frequency band. Our results show that in the absence of sophisticated machine learning techniques, animal detection in natural scenes is limited to rather modest levels of performance, far below those of human observers. If limiting oneself to global image statistics such as the DFT then mostly information at the highest spatial frequencies is useful for the task. This is analogous to the results obtained with human observers on filtered images (Kirchner et al, VSS 2004).

Web DOI [BibTex]

Web DOI [BibTex]


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Comparative evaluation of Independent Components Analysis algorithms for isolating target-relevant information in brain-signal classification

Hill, N., Schröder, M., Lal, T., Schölkopf, B.

Brain-Computer Interface Technology, 3, pages: 95, June 2005 (poster)

PDF [BibTex]


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Classification of natural scenes using global image statistics

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

47, pages: 88, 47. Tagung Experimentell Arbeitender Psychologen, April 2005 (poster)

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Classification of Natural Scenes using Global Image Statistics

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

8, pages: 88, 8th T{\"u}bingen Perception Conference (TWK), February 2005 (poster)

Abstract
The algorithmic classification of complex, natural scenes is generally considered a difficult task due to the large amount of information conveyed by natural images. Work by Simon Thorpe and colleagues showed that humans are capable of detecting animals within novel natural scenes with remarkable speed and accuracy. This suggests that the relevant information for classification can be extracted at comparatively limited computational cost. One hypothesis is that global image statistics such as the amplitude spectrum could underly fast image classification (Johnson & Olshausen, Journal of Vision, 2003; Torralba & Oliva, Network: Comput. Neural Syst., 2003). We used linear discriminant analysis to classify a set of 11.000 images into animal and nonanimal images. After applying a DFT to the image, we put the Fourier spectrum of each image into 48 bins (8 orientations with 6 frequency bands). Using all of these bins, classification performance on the Fourier spectrum reached 70%. In an iterative procedure, we then removed the bins whose absence caused the smallest damage to the classification performance (one bin per iteration). Notably, performance stayed at about 70% until less then 6 bins were left. A detailed analysis of the classification weights showed that a comparatively high level of performance (67%) could also be obtained when only 2 bins were used, namely the vertical orientations at the highest spatial frequency band. When using only a single frequency band (8 bins) we found that 67% classification performance could be reached when only the high spatial frequency information was used, which decreased steadily at lower spatial frequencies, reaching a minimum (50%) for the low spatial frequency information. Similar results were obtained when all bins were used on spatially pre-filtered images. Our results show that in the absence of sophisticated machine learning techniques, animal detection in natural scenes is limited to rather modest levels of performance, far below those of human observers. If limiting oneself to global image statistics such as the DFT then mostly information at the highest spatial frequencies is useful for the task. This is analogous to the results obtained with human observers on filtered images (Kirchner et al, VSS 2004).

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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Efficient Adaptive Sampling of the Psychometric Function by Maximizing Information Gain

Tanner, T., Hill, N., Rasmussen, C., Wichmann, F.

8, pages: 109, (Editors: Bülthoff, H. H., H. A. Mallot, R. Ulrich and F. A. Wichmann), 8th T{\"u}bingen Perception Conference (TWK), February 2005 (poster)

Abstract
A psychometric function can be described by its shape and four parameters: position or threshold, slope or width, false alarm rate or chance level, and miss or lapse rate. Depending on the parameters of interest some points on the psychometric function may be more informative than others. Adaptive methods attempt to place trials on the most informative points based on the data collected in previous trials. We introduce a new adaptive bayesian psychometric method which collects data for any set of parameters with high efficency. It places trials by minimizing the expected entropy [1] of the posterior pdf over a set of possible stimuli. In contrast to most other adaptive methods it is neither limited to threshold measurement nor to forced-choice designs. Nuisance parameters can be included in the estimation and lead to less biased estimates. The method supports block designs which do not harm the performance when a sufficient number of trials are performed. Block designs are useful for control of response bias and short term performance shifts such as adaptation. We present the results of evaluations of the method by computer simulations and experiments with human observers. In the simulations we investigated the role of parametric assumptions, the quality of different point estimates, the effect of dynamic termination criteria and many other settings. [1] Kontsevich, L.L. and Tyler, C.W. (1999): Bayesian adaptive estimation of psychometric slope and threshold. Vis. Res. 39 (16), 2729-2737.

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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Automatic Classification of Plankton from Digital Images

Sieracki, M., Riseman, E., Balch, W., Benfield, M., Hanson, A., Pilskaln, C., Schultz, H., Sieracki, C., Utgoff, P., Blaschko, M., Holness, G., Mattar, M., Lisin, D., Tupper, B.

ASLO Aquatic Sciences Meeting, 1, pages: 1, February 2005 (poster)

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Bayesian Inference for Psychometric Functions

Kuss, M., Jäkel, F., Wichmann, F.

8, pages: 106, (Editors: Bülthoff, H. H., H. A. Mallot, R. Ulrich and F. A. Wichmann), 8th T{\"u}bingen Perception Conference (TWK), February 2005 (poster)

Abstract
In psychophysical studies of perception the psychometric function is used to model the relation between the physical stimulus intensity and the observer's ability to detect or discriminate between stimuli of different intensities. We propose the use of Bayesian inference to extract the information contained in experimental data to learn about the parameters of psychometric functions. Since Bayesian inference cannot be performed analytically we use a Markov chain Monte Carlo method to generate samples from the posterior distribution over parameters. These samples can be used to estimate Bayesian confidence intervals and other characteristics of the posterior distribution. We compare our approach with traditional methods based on maximum-likelihood parameter estimation combined with parametric bootstrap techniques for confidence interval estimation. Experiments indicate that Bayesian inference methods are superior to bootstrap-based methods and are thus the method of choice for estimating the psychometric function and its confidence-intervals.

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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Global image statistics of natural scenes

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

Bioinspired Information Processing, 08, pages: 1, 2005 (poster)

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Kernel-Methods, Similarity, and Exemplar Theories of Categorization

Jäkel, F., Wichmann, F.

ASIC, 4, 2005 (poster)

Abstract
Kernel-methods are popular tools in machine learning and statistics that can be implemented in a simple feed-forward neural network. They have strong connections to several psychological theories. For example, Shepard‘s universal law of generalization can be given a kernel interpretation. This leads to an inner product and a metric on the psychological space that is different from the usual Minkowski norm. The metric has psychologically interesting properties: It is bounded from above and does not have additive segments. As categorization models often rely on Shepard‘s law as a model for psychological similarity some of them can be recast as kernel-methods. In particular, ALCOVE is shown to be closely related to kernel logistic regression. The relationship to the Generalized Context Model is also discussed. It is argued that functional analysis which is routinely used in machine learning provides valuable insights also for psychology.

Web [BibTex]


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Rapid animal detection in natural scenes: critical features are local

Wichmann, F., Rosas, P., Gegenfurtner, K.

Experimentelle Psychologie. Beitr{\"a}ge zur 47. Tagung experimentell arbeitender Psychologen, 47, pages: 225, 2005 (poster)

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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The human brain as large margin classifier

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

Proceedings of the Computational & Systems Neuroscience Meeting (COSYNE), 2, pages: 1, 2005 (poster)

[BibTex]

[BibTex]

2002


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Real-Time Statistical Learning for Oculomotor Control and Visuomotor Coordination

Vijayakumar, S., Souza, A., Peters, J., Conradt, J., Rutkowski, T., Ijspeert, A., Nakanishi, J., Inoue, M., Shibata, T., Wiryo, A., Itti, L., Amari, S., Schaal, S.

(Editors: Becker, S. , S. Thrun, K. Obermayer), Sixteenth Annual Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS), December 2002 (poster)

Web [BibTex]

2002

Web [BibTex]


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Learning with Kernels: Support Vector Machines, Regularization, Optimization, and Beyond

Schölkopf, B., Smola, A.

pages: 644, Adaptive Computation and Machine Learning, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, USA, December 2002, Parts of this book, including an introduction to kernel methods, can be downloaded here. (book)

Abstract
In the 1990s, a new type of learning algorithm was developed, based on results from statistical learning theory: the Support Vector Machine (SVM). This gave rise to a new class of theoretically elegant learning machines that use a central concept of SVMs-kernels—for a number of learning tasks. Kernel machines provide a modular framework that can be adapted to different tasks and domains by the choice of the kernel function and the base algorithm. They are replacing neural networks in a variety of fields, including engineering, information retrieval, and bioinformatics. Learning with Kernels provides an introduction to SVMs and related kernel methods. Although the book begins with the basics, it also includes the latest research. It provides all of the concepts necessary to enable a reader equipped with some basic mathematical knowledge to enter the world of machine learning using theoretically well-founded yet easy-to-use kernel algorithms and to understand and apply the powerful algorithms that have been developed over the last few years.

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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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]

Web DOI [BibTex]


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Modelling Contrast Transfer in Spatial Vision

Wichmann, F.

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

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

Web DOI [BibTex]

Web DOI [BibTex]


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Pulse train detection and discrimination in pink noise

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

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

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

Web DOI [BibTex]

Web DOI [BibTex]


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Phase information in the recognition of natural images

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

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

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

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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Detection and discrimination in pink noise

Wichmann, F., Henning, G.

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

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

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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Application of Monte Carlo Methods to Psychometric Function Fitting

Wichmann, F.

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

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

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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

Franz, MO.

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

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

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]