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2005


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Approximate Inference for Robust Gaussian Process Regression

Kuss, M., Pfingsten, T., Csato, L., Rasmussen, C.

(136), Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen, Germany, 2005 (techreport)

Abstract
Gaussian process (GP) priors have been successfully used in non-parametric Bayesian regression and classification models. Inference can be performed analytically only for the regression model with Gaussian noise. For all other likelihood models inference is intractable and various approximation techniques have been proposed. In recent years expectation-propagation (EP) has been developed as a general method for approximate inference. This article provides a general summary of how expectation-propagation can be used for approximate inference in Gaussian process models. Furthermore we present a case study describing its implementation for a new robust variant of Gaussian process regression. To gain further insights into the quality of the EP approximation we present experiments in which we compare to results obtained by Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) sampling.

ei

PDF [BibTex]

2005


PDF [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)

ei

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Maximum-Margin Feature Combination for Detection and Categorization

BakIr, G., Wu, M., Eichhorn, J.

Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen, Germany, 2005 (techreport)

Abstract
In this paper we are concerned with the optimal combination of features of possibly different types for detection and estimation tasks in machine vision. We propose to combine features such that the resulting classifier maximizes the margin between classes. In contrast to existing approaches which are non-convex and/or generative we propose to use a discriminative model leading to convex problem formulation and complexity control. Furthermore we assert that decision functions should not compare apples and oranges by comparing features of different types directly. Instead we propose to combine different similarity measures for each different feature type. Furthermore we argue that the question: ”Which feature type is more discriminative for task X?” is ill-posed and show empirically that the answer to this question might depend on the complexity of the decision function.

ei

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [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.

ei

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)

ei

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Towards a Statistical Theory of Clustering. Presented at the PASCAL workshop on clustering, London

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

Presented at the PASCAL workshop on clustering, London, 2005 (techreport)

Abstract
The goal of this paper is to discuss statistical aspects of clustering in a framework where the data to be clustered has been sampled from some unknown probability distribution. Firstly, the clustering of the data set should reveal some structure of the underlying data rather than model artifacts due to the random sampling process. Secondly, the more sample points we have, the more reliable the clustering should be. We discuss which methods can and cannot be used to tackle those problems. In particular we argue that generalization bounds as they are used in statistical learning theory of classification are unsuitable in a general clustering framework. We suggest that the main replacements of generalization bounds should be convergence proofs and stability considerations. This paper should be considered as a road map paper which identifies important questions and potentially fruitful directions for future research about statistical clustering. We do not attempt to present a complete statistical theory of clustering.

ei

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [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)

ei

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Approximate Bayesian Inference for Psychometric Functions using MCMC Sampling

Kuss, M., Jäkel, F., Wichmann, F.

(135), Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen, Germany, 2005 (techreport)

Abstract
In psychophysical studies 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. In this report we propose the use of Bayesian inference to extract the information contained in experimental data estimate the parameters of psychometric functions. Since Bayesian inference cannot be performed analytically we describe how a Markov chain Monte Carlo method can be used to generate samples from the posterior distribution over parameters. These samples are used to estimate Bayesian confidence intervals and other characteristics of the posterior distribution. In addition we discuss the parameterisation of psychometric functions and the role of prior distributions in the analysis. The proposed approach is exemplified using artificially generate d data and in a case study for real experimental data. Furthermore, we compare our approach with traditional methods based on maximum-likelihood parameter estimation combined with bootstrap techniques for confidence interval estimation. The appendix provides a description of an implementation for the R environment for statistical computing and provides the code for reproducing the results discussed in the experiment section.

ei

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]

2002


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

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

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

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

ei

Web DOI [BibTex]

2002


Web DOI [BibTex]


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Modelling Contrast Transfer in Spatial Vision

Wichmann, F.

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

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

ei

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.

ei

Web DOI [BibTex]

Web DOI [BibTex]


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Kernel Dependency Estimation

Weston, J., Chapelle, O., Elisseeff, A., Schölkopf, B., Vapnik, V.

(98), Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, August 2002 (techreport)

Abstract
We consider the learning problem of finding a dependency between a general class of objects and another, possibly different, general class of objects. The objects can be for example: vectors, images, strings, trees or graphs. Such a task is made possible by employing similarity measures in both input and output spaces using kernel functions, thus embedding the objects into vector spaces. Output kernels also make it possible to encode prior information and/or invariances in the loss function in an elegant way. We experimentally validate our approach on several tasks: mapping strings to strings, pattern recognition, and reconstruction from partial images.

ei

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [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.

ei

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.

ei

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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A compression approach to support vector model selection

von Luxburg, U., Bousquet, O., Schölkopf, B.

(101), Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, 2002, see more detailed JMLR version (techreport)

Abstract
In this paper we investigate connections between statistical learning theory and data compression on the basis of support vector machine (SVM) model selection. Inspired by several generalization bounds we construct ``compression coefficients'' for SVMs, which measure the amount by which the training labels can be compressed by some classification hypothesis. The main idea is to relate the coding precision of this hypothesis to the width of the margin of the SVM. The compression coefficients connect well known quantities such as the radius-margin ratio R^2/rho^2, the eigenvalues of the kernel matrix and the number of support vectors. To test whether they are useful in practice we ran model selection experiments on several real world datasets. As a result we found that compression coefficients can fairly accurately predict the parameters for which the test error is minimized.

ei

[BibTex]

[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).

ei

[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.

ei

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]