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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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An Inventory of Sequence Polymorphisms For Arabidopsis

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

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

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

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Machine Learning and Applications in Biology

Shin, H.

6th Course in Bioinformatics for Molecular Biologist, March 2006 (talk)

Abstract
The emergence of the fields of computational biology and bioinformatics has alleviated the burden of solving many biological problems, saving the time and cost required for experiments and also providing predictions that guide new experiments. Within computational biology, machine learning algorithms have played a central role in dealing with the flood of biological data. The goal of this tutorial is to raise awareness and comprehension of machine learning so that biologists can properly match the task at hand to the corresponding analytical approach. We start by categorizing biological problem settings and introduce the general machine learning schemes that fit best to each or these categories. We then explore representative models in further detail, from traditional statistical models to recent kernel models, presenting several up-to-date research projects in bioinfomatics to exemplify how biological questions can benefit from a machine learning approach. Finally, we discuss how cooperation between biologists and machine learners might be made smoother.

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [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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Classification of natural scenes: critical features revisited

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

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

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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

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

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

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Ähnlichkeitsmasse in Modellen zur Kategorienbildung

Jäkel, F., Wichmann, F.

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

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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

Wichmann, F., Henning, B.

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

[BibTex]

[BibTex]

2003


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Natural Actor-Critic

Peters, J., Vijayakumar, S., Schaal, S.

NIPS Workshop " Planning for the Real World: The promises and challenges of dealing with uncertainty", December 2003 (poster)

PDF Web [BibTex]

2003

PDF Web [BibTex]


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Learning Control and Planning from the View of Control Theory and Imitation

Peters, J., Schaal, S.

NIPS Workshop "Planning for the Real World: The promises and challenges of dealing with uncertainty", December 2003 (talk)

Abstract
Learning control and planning in high dimensional continuous state-action systems, e.g., as needed in a humanoid robot, has so far been a domain beyond the applicability of generic planning techniques like reinforcement learning and dynamic programming. This talk describes an approach we have taken in order to enable complex robotics systems to learn to accomplish control tasks. Adaptive learning controllers equipped with statistical learning techniques can be used to learn tracking controllers -- missing state information and uncertainty in the state estimates are usually addressed by observers or direct adaptive control methods. Imitation learning is used as an ingredient to seed initial control policies whose output is a desired trajectory suitable to accomplish the task at hand. Reinforcement learning with stochastic policy gradients using a natural gradient forms the third component that allows refining the initial control policy until the task is accomplished. In comparison to general learning control, this approach is highly prestructured and thus more domain specific. However, it seems to be a theoretically clean and feasible strategy for control systems of the complexity that we need to address.

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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Recurrent neural networks from learning attractor dynamics

Schaal, S., Peters, J.

NIPS Workshop on RNNaissance: Recurrent Neural Networks, December 2003 (talk)

Abstract
Many forms of recurrent neural networks can be understood in terms of dynamic systems theory of difference equations or differential equations. Learning in such systems corresponds to adjusting some internal parameters to obtain a desired time evolution of the network, which can usually be characterized in term of point attractor dynamics, limit cycle dynamics, or, in some more rare cases, as strange attractor or chaotic dynamics. Finding a stable learning process to adjust the open parameters of the network towards shaping the desired attractor type and basin of attraction has remain a complex task, as the parameter trajectories during learning can lead the system through a variety of undesirable unstable behaviors, such that learning may never succeed. In this presentation, we review a recently developed learning framework for a class of recurrent neural networks that employs a more structured network approach. We assume that the canonical system behavior is known a priori, e.g., it is a point attractor or a limit cycle. With either supervised learning or reinforcement learning, it is possible to acquire the transformation from a simple representative of this canonical behavior (e.g., a 2nd order linear point attractor, or a simple limit cycle oscillator) to the desired highly complex attractor form. For supervised learning, one shot learning based on locally weighted regression techniques is possible. For reinforcement learning, stochastic policy gradient techniques can be employed. In any case, the recurrent network learned by these methods inherits the stability properties of the simple dynamic system that underlies the nonlinear transformation, such that stability of the learning approach is not a problem. We demonstrate the success of this approach for learning various skills on a humanoid robot, including tasks that require to incorporate additional sensory signals as coupling terms to modify the recurrent network evolution on-line.

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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Texture and haptic cues in slant discrimination: Measuring the effect of texture type on cue combination

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

Journal of Vision, 3(12):26, 2003 Fall Vision Meeting of the Optical Society of America, December 2003 (poster)

Abstract
In a number of models of depth cue combination the depth percept is constructed via a weighted average combination of independent depth estimations. The influence of each cue in such average depends on the reliability of the source of information. (Young, Landy, & Maloney, 1993; Ernst & Banks, 2002.) In particular, Ernst & Banks (2002) formulate the combination performed by the human brain as that of the minimum variance unbiased estimator that can be constructed from the available cues. Using slant discrimination and slant judgment via probe adjustment as tasks, we have observed systematic differences in performance of human observers when a number of different types of textures were used as cue to slant (Rosas, Wichmann & Wagemans, 2003). If the depth percept behaves as described above, our measurements of the slopes of the psychometric functions provide the predicted weights for the texture cue for the ranked texture types. We have combined these texture types with object motion but the obtained results are difficult to reconcile with the unbiased minimum variance estimator model (Rosas & Wagemans, 2003). This apparent failure of such model might be explained by the existence of a coupling of texture and motion, violating the assumption of independence of cues. Hillis, Ernst, Banks, & Landy (2002) have shown that while for between-modality combination the human visual system has access to the single-cue information, for within-modality combination (visual cues: disparity and texture) the single-cue information is lost, suggesting a coupling between these cues. Then, in the present study we combine the different texture types with haptic information in a slant discrimination task, to test whether in the between-modality condition the texture cue and the haptic cue to slant are combined as predicted by an unbiased, minimum variance estimator model.

Web DOI [BibTex]

Web DOI [BibTex]


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Statistical Learning Theory

Bousquet, O.

Machine Learning Summer School, August 2003 (talk)

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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Remarks on Statistical Learning Theory

Bousquet, O.

Machine Learning Summer School, August 2003 (talk)

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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A unifying computational framework for optimization and dynamic systemsapproaches to motor control

Mohajerian, P., Peters, J., Ijspeert, A., Schaal, S.

10th Joint Symposium on Neural Computation (JSNC 2003), 10, pages: 1, May 2003 (poster)

PDF Web [BibTex]

PDF Web [BibTex]


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A Unifying Computational Framework for Optimization and Dynamic Systems Approaches to Motor Control

Mohajerian, P., Peters, J., Ijspeert, A., Schaal, S.

13th Annual Neural Control of Movement Meeting 2003, 13, pages: 1, April 2003 (poster)

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Rademacher and Gaussian averages in Learning Theory

Bousquet, O.

Universite de Marne-la-Vallee, March 2003 (talk)

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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Phase Information and the Recognition of Natural Images

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

6, pages: 138, (Editors: H.H. Bülthoff, K.R. Gegenfurtner, H.A. Mallot, R. Ulrich, F.A. Wichmann), 6. T{\"u}binger Wahrnehmungskonferenz (TWK), February 2003 (poster)

Abstract
Fourier phase plays an important role in determining image structure. For example, when the phase spectrum of an image showing a ower is swapped with the phase spectrum of an image showing a tank, then we will usually perceive a tank in the resulting image, even though the amplitude spectrum is still that of the ower. Also, when the phases of an image are randomly swapped across frequencies, the resulting image becomes impossible to recognize. Our goal was to evaluate the e ect of phase manipulations in a more quantitative manner. On each trial subjects viewed two images of natural scenes. The subject had to indicate which one of the two images contained an animal. The spectra of the images were manipulated by adding random phase noise at each frequency. The phase noise was uniformly distributed in the interval [;+], where  was varied between 0 degree and 180 degrees. Image pairs were displayed for 100 msec. Subjects were remarkably resistant to the addition of phase noise. Even with [120; 120] degree noise, subjects still were at a level of 75% correct. The introduction of phase noise leads to a reduction of image contrast. Subjects were slightly better than a simple prediction based on this contrast reduction. However, when contrast response functions were measured in the same experimental paradigm, we found that performance in the phase noise experiment was signi cantly lower than that predicted by the corresponding contrast reduction.

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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Introduction: Robots with Cognition?

Franz, MO.

6, pages: 38, (Editors: H.H. Bülthoff, K.R. Gegenfurtner, H.A. Mallot, R. Ulrich, F.A. Wichmann), 6. T{\"u}binger Wahrnehmungskonferenz (TWK), February 2003 (talk)

Abstract
Using robots as models of cognitive behaviour has a long tradition in robotics. Parallel to the historical development in cognitive science, one observes two major, subsequent waves in cognitive robotics. The first is based on ideas of classical, cognitivist Artificial Intelligence (AI). According to the AI view of cognition as rule-based symbol manipulation, these robots typically try to extract symbolic descriptions of the environment from their sensors that are used to update a common, global world representation from which, in turn, the next action of the robot is derived. The AI approach has been successful in strongly restricted and controlled environments requiring well-defined tasks, e.g. in industrial assembly lines. AI-based robots mostly failed, however, in the unpredictable and unstructured environments that have to be faced by mobile robots. This has provoked the second wave in cognitive robotics which tries to achieve cognitive behaviour as an emergent property from the interaction of simple, low-level modules. Robots of the second wave are called animats as their architecture is designed to closely model aspects of real animals. Using only simple reactive mechanisms and Hebbian-type or evolutionary learning, the resulting animats often outperformed the highly complex AI-based robots in tasks such as obstacle avoidance, corridor following etc. While successful in generating robust, insect-like behaviour, typical animats are limited to stereotyped, fixed stimulus-response associations. If one adopts the view that cognition requires a flexible, goal-dependent choice of behaviours and planning capabilities (H.A. Mallot, Kognitionswissenschaft, 1999, 40-48) then it appears that cognitive behaviour cannot emerge from a collection of purely reactive modules. It rather requires environmentally decoupled structures that work without directly engaging the actions that it is concerned with. This poses the current challenge to cognitive robotics: How can we build cognitive robots that show the robustness and the learning capabilities of animats without falling back into the representational paradigm of AI? The speakers of the symposium present their approaches to this question in the context of robot navigation and sensorimotor learning. In the first talk, Prof. Helge Ritter introduces a robot system for imitation learning capable of exploring various alternatives in simulation before actually performing a task. The second speaker, Angelo Arleo, develops a model of spatial memory in rat navigation based on his electrophysiological experiments. He validates the model on a mobile robot which, in some navigation tasks, shows a performance comparable to that of the real rat. A similar model of spatial memory is used to investigate the mechanisms of territory formation in a series of robot experiments presented by Prof. Hanspeter Mallot. In the last talk, we return to the domain of sensorimotor learning where Ralf M{\"o}ller introduces his approach to generate anticipatory behaviour by learning forward models of sensorimotor relationships.

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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Constraints measures and reproduction of style in robot imitation learning

Bakir, GH., Ilg, W., Franz, MO., Giese, M.

6, pages: 70, (Editors: H.H. Bülthoff, K.R. Gegenfurtner, H.A. Mallot, R. Ulrich, F.A. Wichmann), 6. T{\"u}binger Wahrnehmungskonferenz (TWK), February 2003 (poster)

Abstract
Imitation learning is frequently discussed as a method for generating complex behaviors in robots by imitating human actors. The kinematic and the dynamic properties of humans and robots are typically quite di erent, however. For this reason observed human trajectories cannot be directly transferred to robots, even if their geometry is humanoid. Instead the human trajectory must be approximated by trajectories that can be realized by the robot. During this approximation deviations from the human trajectory may arise that change the style of the executed movement. Alternatively, the style of the movement might be well reproduced, but the imitated trajectory might be suboptimal with respect to di erent constraint measures from robotics control, leading to non-robust behavior. Goal of the presented work is to quantify this trade-o between \imitation quality" and constraint compatibility for the imitation of complex writing movements. In our experiment, we used trajectory data from human writing movements (see the abstract of Ilg et al. in this volume). The human trajectories were mapped onto robot trajectories by minimizing an error measure that integrates constraints that are important for the imitation of movement style and a regularizing constraint that ensures smooth joint trajectories with low velocities. In a rst experiment, both the end-e ector position and the shoulder angle of the robot were optimized in order to achieve good imitation together with accurate control of the end-e ector position. In a second experiment only the end-e ector trajectory was imitated whereas the motion of the elbow joint was determined using the optimal inverse kinematic solution for the robot. For both conditions di erent constraint measures (dexterity and relative jointlimit distances) and a measure for imitation quality were assessed. By controling the weight of the regularization term we can vary continuously between robot behavior optimizing imitation quality, and behavior minimizing joint velocities.

PDF Web [BibTex]

PDF Web [BibTex]


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Study of Human Classification using Psychophysics and Machine Learning

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

6, pages: 149, (Editors: H.H. Bülthoff, K.R. Gegenfurtner, H.A. Mallot, R. Ulrich, F.A. Wichmann), 6. T{\"u}binger Wahrnehmungskonferenz (TWK), Febuary 2003 (poster)

Abstract
We attempt to reach a better understanding of classi cation in humans using both psychophysical and machine learning techniques. In our psychophysical paradigm the stimuli presented to the human subjects are modi ed using machine learning algorithms according to their responses. Frontal views of human faces taken from a processed version of the MPI face database are employed for a gender classi cation task. The processing assures that all heads have same mean intensity, same pixel-surface area and are centered. This processing stage is followed by a smoothing of the database in order to eliminate, as much as possible, scanning artifacts. Principal Component Analysis is used to obtain a low-dimensional representation of the faces in the database. A subject is asked to classify the faces and experimental parameters such as class (i.e. female/male), con dence ratings and reaction times are recorded. A mean classi cation error of 14.5% is measured and, on average, 0.5 males are classi ed as females and 21.3females as males. The mean reaction time for the correctly classi ed faces is 1229 +- 252 [ms] whereas the incorrectly classi ed faces have a mean reaction time of 1769 +- 304 [ms] showing that the reaction times increase with the subject's classi- cation error. Reaction times are also shown to decrease with increasing con dence, both for the correct and incorrect classi cations. Classi cation errors, reaction times and con dence ratings are then correlated to concepts of machine learning such as separating hyperplane obtained when considering Support Vector Machines, Relevance Vector Machines, boosted Prototype and K-means Learners. Elements near the separating hyperplane are found to be classi ed with more errors than those away from it. In addition, the subject's con dence increases when moving away from the hyperplane. A preliminary analysis on the available small number of subjects indicates that K-means classi cation seems to re ect the subject's classi cation behavior best. The above learnersare then used to generate \special" elements, or representations, of the low-dimensional database according to the labels given by the subject. A memory experiment follows where the representations are shown together with faces seen or unseen during the classi cation experiment. This experiment aims to assess the representations by investigating whether some representations, or special elements, are classi ed as \seen before" despite that they never appeared in the classi cation experiment, possibly hinting at their use during human classi cation.

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PDF Web [BibTex]


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A Representation of Complex Movement Sequences Based on Hierarchical Spatio-Temporal Correspondence for Imitation Learning in Robotics

Ilg, W., Bakir, GH., Franz, MO., Giese, M.

6, pages: 74, (Editors: H.H. Bülthoff, K.R. Gegenfurtner, H.A. Mallot, R. Ulrich, F.A. Wichmann), 6. T{\"u}binger Wahrnehmungskonferenz (TWK), February 2003 (poster)

Abstract
Imitation learning of complex movements has become a popular topic in neuroscience, as well as in robotics. A number of conceptual as well as practical problems are still unsolved. One example is the determination of the aspects of movements which are relevant for imitation. Problems concerning the movement representation are twofold: (1) The movement characteristics of observed movements have to be transferred from the perceptual level to the level of generated actions. (2) Continuous spaces of movements with variable styles have to be approximated based on a limited number of learned example sequences. Therefore, one has to use representation with a high generalisation capability. We present methods for the representation of complex movement sequences that addresses these questions in the context of the imitation learning of writing movements using a robot arm with human-like geometry. For the transfer of complex movements from perception to action we exploit a learning-based method that represents complex action sequences by linear combination of prototypical examples (Ilg and Giese, BMCV 2002). The method of hierarchical spatio-temporal morphable models (HSTMM) decomposes action sequences automatically into movement primitives. These primitives are modeled by linear combinations of a small number of learned example trajectories. The learned spatio-temporal models are suitable for the analysis and synthesis of long action sequences, which consist of movement primitives with varying style parameters. The proposed method is illustrated by imitation learning of complex writing movements. Human trajectories were recorded using a commercial motion capture system (VICON). In the rst step the recorded writing sequences are decomposed into movement primitives. These movement primitives can be analyzed and changed in style by de ning linear combinations of prototypes with di erent linear weight combinations. Our system can imitate writing movements of di erent actors, synthesize new writing styles and can even exaggerate the writing movements of individual actors. Words and writing movements of the robot look very natural, and closely match the natural styles. These preliminary results makes the proposed method promising for further applications in learning-based robotics. In this poster we focus on the acquisition of the movement representation (identi cation and segmentation of movement primitives, generation of new writing styles by spatio-temporal morphing). The transfer of the generated writing movements to the robot considering the given kinematic and dynamic constraints is discussed in Bakir et al (this volume).

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PDF Web [BibTex]


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Models of contrast transfer as a function of presentation time and spatial frequency.

Wichmann, F.

2003 (poster)

Abstract
Understanding contrast transduction is essential for understanding spatial vision. Using standard 2AFC contrast discrimination experiments conducted using a carefully calibrated display we previously showed that the shape of the threshold versus (pedestal) contrast (TvC) curve changes with presentation time and the performance level defined as threshold (Wichmann, 1999; Wichmann & Henning, 1999). Additional experiments looked at the change of the TvC curve with spatial frequency (Bird, Henning & Wichmann, 2002), and at how to constrain the parameters of models of contrast processing (Wichmann, 2002). Here I report modelling results both across spatial frequency and presentation time. An extensive model-selection exploration was performed using Bayesian confidence regions for the fitted parameters as well as cross-validation methods. Bird, C.M., G.B. Henning and F.A. Wichmann (2002). Contrast discrimination with sinusoidal gratings of different spatial frequency. Journal of the Optical Society of America A, 19, 1267-1273. Wichmann, F.A. (1999). Some aspects of modelling human spatial vision: contrast discrimination. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, The University of Oxford. Wichmann, F.A. & Henning, G.B. (1999). Implications of the Pedestal Effect for Models of Contrast-Processing and Gain-Control. OSA Annual Meeting Program, 62. Wichmann, F.A. (2002). Modelling Contrast Transfer in Spatial Vision [Abstract]. Journal of Vision, 2, 7a.

[BibTex]