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2017


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Human Shape Estimation using Statistical Body Models

Loper, M. M.

University of Tübingen, May 2017 (thesis)

Abstract
Human body estimation methods transform real-world observations into predictions about human body state. These estimation methods benefit a variety of health, entertainment, clothing, and ergonomics applications. State may include pose, overall body shape, and appearance. Body state estimation is underconstrained by observations; ambiguity presents itself both in the form of missing data within observations, and also in the form of unknown correspondences between observations. We address this challenge with the use of a statistical body model: a data-driven virtual human. This helps resolve ambiguity in two ways. First, it fills in missing data, meaning that incomplete observations still result in complete shape estimates. Second, the model provides a statistically-motivated penalty for unlikely states, which enables more plausible body shape estimates. Body state inference requires more than a body model; we therefore build obser- vation models whose output is compared with real observations. In this thesis, body state is estimated from three types of observations: 3D motion capture markers, depth and color images, and high-resolution 3D scans. In each case, a forward process is proposed which simulates observations. By comparing observations to the results of the forward process, state can be adjusted to minimize the difference between simulated and observed data. We use gradient-based methods because they are critical to the precise estimation of state with a large number of parameters. The contributions of this work include three parts. First, we propose a method for the estimation of body shape, nonrigid deformation, and pose from 3D markers. Second, we present a concise approach to differentiating through the rendering process, with application to body shape estimation. And finally, we present a statistical body model trained from human body scans, with state-of-the-art fidelity, good runtime performance, and compatibility with existing animation packages.

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Official Version [BibTex]


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Chapter 8 - Micro- and nanorobots in Newtonian and biological viscoelastic fluids

Palagi, S., (Walker) Schamel, D., Qiu, T., Fischer, P.

In Microbiorobotics, pages: 133 - 162, 8, Micro and Nano Technologies, Second edition, Elsevier, Boston, March 2017 (incollection)

Abstract
Swimming microorganisms are a source of inspiration for small scale robots that are intended to operate in fluidic environments including complex biomedical fluids. Nature has devised swimming strategies that are effective at small scales and at low Reynolds number. These include the rotary corkscrew motion that, for instance, propels a flagellated bacterial cell, as well as the asymmetric beat of appendages that sperm cells or ciliated protozoa use to move through fluids. These mechanisms can overcome the reciprocity that governs the hydrodynamics at small scale. The complex molecular structure of biologically important fluids presents an additional challenge for the effective propulsion of microrobots. In this chapter it is shown how physical and chemical approaches are essential in realizing engineered abiotic micro- and nanorobots that can move in biomedically important environments. Interestingly, we also describe a microswimmer that is effective in biological viscoelastic fluids that does not have a natural analogue.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Appealing Avatars from 3D Body Scans: Perceptual Effects of Stylization

Fleming, R., Mohler, B. J., Romero, J., Black, M. J., Breidt, M.

In Computer Vision, Imaging and Computer Graphics Theory and Applications: 11th International Joint Conference, VISIGRAPP 2016, Rome, Italy, February 27 – 29, 2016, Revised Selected Papers, pages: 175-196, Springer International Publishing, 2017 (inbook)

Abstract
Using styles derived from existing popular character designs, we present a novel automatic stylization technique for body shape and colour information based on a statistical 3D model of human bodies. We investigate whether such stylized body shapes result in increased perceived appeal with two different experiments: One focuses on body shape alone, the other investigates the additional role of surface colour and lighting. Our results consistently show that the most appealing avatar is a partially stylized one. Importantly, avatars with high stylization or no stylization at all were rated to have the least appeal. The inclusion of colour information and improvements to render quality had no significant effect on the overall perceived appeal of the avatars, and we observe that the body shape primarily drives the change in appeal ratings. For body scans with colour information, we found that a partially stylized avatar was perceived as most appealing.

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publisher site pdf DOI [BibTex]

publisher site pdf DOI [BibTex]


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Computing with Uncertainty

Hennig, P.

2017 (mpi_year_book)

Abstract
Machine learning requires computer hardware to reliable and efficiently compute estimations for ever more complex and fundamentally incomputable quantities. A research team at MPI for Intelligent Systems in Tübingen develops new algorithms which purposely lower the precision of computations and return an explicit measure of uncertainty over the correct result alongside the estimate. Doing so allows for more flexible management of resources, and increases the reliability of intelligent systems.

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Robot Learning

Peters, J., Lee, D., Kober, J., Nguyen-Tuong, D., Bagnell, J., Schaal, S.

In Springer Handbook of Robotics, pages: 357-394, 15, 2nd, (Editors: Siciliano, Bruno and Khatib, Oussama), Springer International Publishing, 2017 (inbook)

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Project Page [BibTex]

Project Page [BibTex]


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Learning to Filter Object Detections

Prokudin, S., Kappler, D., Nowozin, S., Gehler, P.

In Pattern Recognition: 39th German Conference, GCPR 2017, Basel, Switzerland, September 12–15, 2017, Proceedings, pages: 52-62, Springer International Publishing, Cham, 2017 (inbook)

Abstract
Most object detection systems consist of three stages. First, a set of individual hypotheses for object locations is generated using a proposal generating algorithm. Second, a classifier scores every generated hypothesis independently to obtain a multi-class prediction. Finally, all scored hypotheses are filtered via a non-differentiable and decoupled non-maximum suppression (NMS) post-processing step. In this paper, we propose a filtering network (FNet), a method which replaces NMS with a differentiable neural network that allows joint reasoning and re-scoring of the generated set of hypotheses per image. This formulation enables end-to-end training of the full object detection pipeline. First, we demonstrate that FNet, a feed-forward network architecture, is able to mimic NMS decisions, despite the sequential nature of NMS. We further analyze NMS failures and propose a loss formulation that is better aligned with the mean average precision (mAP) evaluation metric. We evaluate FNet on several standard detection datasets. Results surpass standard NMS on highly occluded settings of a synthetic overlapping MNIST dataset and show competitive behavior on PascalVOC2007 and KITTI detection benchmarks.

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Paper link (url) DOI Project Page [BibTex]

Paper link (url) DOI Project Page [BibTex]


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Biomechanics and Locomotion Control in Legged Animals and Legged Robots

Sproewitz, A., Heim, S.

2017 (mpi_year_book)

Abstract
An animal's running gait is dynamic, efficient, elegant, and adaptive. We see locomotion in animals as an orchestrated interplay of the locomotion apparatus, interacting with its environment. The Dynamic Locomotion Group at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart develops novel legged robots to decipher aspects of biomechanics and neuromuscular control of legged locomotion in animals, and to understand general principles of locomotion.

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Policy Gradient Methods

Peters, J., Bagnell, J.

In Encyclopedia of Machine Learning and Data Mining, pages: 982-985, 2nd, (Editors: Sammut, Claude and Webb, Geoffrey I.), Springer US, 2017 (inbook)

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link (url) Project Page [BibTex]

link (url) Project Page [BibTex]


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Unsupervised clustering of EOG as a viable substitute for optical eye-tracking

Flad, N., Fomina, T., Bülthoff, H. H., Chuang, L. L.

In First Workshop on Eye Tracking and Visualization (ETVIS 2015), pages: 151-167, Mathematics and Visualization, (Editors: Burch, M., Chuang, L., Fisher, B., Schmidt, A., and Weiskopf, D.), Springer, 2017 (inbook)

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Learning Inference Models for Computer Vision

Jampani, V.

MPI for Intelligent Systems and University of Tübingen, 2017 (phdthesis)

Abstract
Computer vision can be understood as the ability to perform 'inference' on image data. Breakthroughs in computer vision technology are often marked by advances in inference techniques, as even the model design is often dictated by the complexity of inference in them. This thesis proposes learning based inference schemes and demonstrates applications in computer vision. We propose techniques for inference in both generative and discriminative computer vision models. Despite their intuitive appeal, the use of generative models in vision is hampered by the difficulty of posterior inference, which is often too complex or too slow to be practical. We propose techniques for improving inference in two widely used techniques: Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) sampling and message-passing inference. Our inference strategy is to learn separate discriminative models that assist Bayesian inference in a generative model. Experiments on a range of generative vision models show that the proposed techniques accelerate the inference process and/or converge to better solutions. A main complication in the design of discriminative models is the inclusion of prior knowledge in a principled way. For better inference in discriminative models, we propose techniques that modify the original model itself, as inference is simple evaluation of the model. We concentrate on convolutional neural network (CNN) models and propose a generalization of standard spatial convolutions, which are the basic building blocks of CNN architectures, to bilateral convolutions. First, we generalize the existing use of bilateral filters and then propose new neural network architectures with learnable bilateral filters, which we call `Bilateral Neural Networks'. We show how the bilateral filtering modules can be used for modifying existing CNN architectures for better image segmentation and propose a neural network approach for temporal information propagation in videos. Experiments demonstrate the potential of the proposed bilateral networks on a wide range of vision tasks and datasets. In summary, we propose learning based techniques for better inference in several computer vision models ranging from inverse graphics to freely parameterized neural networks. In generative vision models, our inference techniques alleviate some of the crucial hurdles in Bayesian posterior inference, paving new ways for the use of model based machine learning in vision. In discriminative CNN models, the proposed filter generalizations aid in the design of new neural network architectures that can handle sparse high-dimensional data as well as provide a way for incorporating prior knowledge into CNNs.

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pdf [BibTex]

pdf [BibTex]


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Statistical Asymmetries Between Cause and Effect

Janzing, D.

In Time in Physics, pages: 129-139, Tutorials, Schools, and Workshops in the Mathematical Sciences, (Editors: Renner, Renato and Stupar, Sandra), Springer International Publishing, Cham, 2017 (inbook)

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Robot Learning

Peters, J., Tedrake, R., Roy, N., Morimoto, J.

In Encyclopedia of Machine Learning and Data Mining, pages: 1106-1109, 2nd, (Editors: Sammut, Claude and Webb, Geoffrey I.), Springer US, 2017 (inbook)

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DOI Project Page [BibTex]

DOI Project Page [BibTex]


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Development and Evaluation of a Portable BCI System for Remote Data Acquisition

Emde, T.

Graduate School of Neural Information Processing, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany, 2017 (mastersthesis)

ei

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Brain-Computer Interfaces for patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Fomina, T.

Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany, 2017 (phdthesis)

ei

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Design of a visualization scheme for functional connectivity data of Human Brain

Bramlage, L.

Hochschule Osnabrück - University of Applied Sciences, 2017 (thesis)

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Bramlage_BSc_2017.pdf [BibTex]


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Decentralized Simultaneous Multi-target Exploration using a Connected Network of Multiple Robots

Nestmeyer, T., Robuffo Giordano, P., Bülthoff, H. H., Franchi, A.

In pages: 989-1011, Autonomous Robots, 2017 (incollection)

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[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Causal models for decision making via integrative inference

Geiger, P.

University of Stuttgart, Germany, 2017 (phdthesis)

ei

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Capturing Hand-Object Interaction and Reconstruction of Manipulated Objects

Tzionas, D.

University of Bonn, 2017 (phdthesis)

Abstract
Hand motion capture with an RGB-D sensor gained recently a lot of research attention, however, even most recent approaches focus on the case of a single isolated hand. We focus instead on hands that interact with other hands or with a rigid or articulated object. Our framework successfully captures motion in such scenarios by combining a generative model with discriminatively trained salient points, collision detection and physics simulation to achieve a low tracking error with physically plausible poses. All components are unified in a single objective function that can be optimized with standard optimization techniques. We initially assume a-priori knowledge of the object's shape and skeleton. In case of unknown object shape there are existing 3d reconstruction methods that capitalize on distinctive geometric or texture features. These methods though fail for textureless and highly symmetric objects like household articles, mechanical parts or toys. We show that extracting 3d hand motion for in-hand scanning effectively facilitates the reconstruction of such objects and we fuse the rich additional information of hands into a 3d reconstruction pipeline. Finally, although shape reconstruction is enough for rigid objects, there is a lack of tools that build rigged models of articulated objects that deform realistically using RGB-D data. We propose a method that creates a fully rigged model consisting of a watertight mesh, embedded skeleton and skinning weights by employing a combination of deformable mesh tracking, motion segmentation based on spectral clustering and skeletonization based on mean curvature flow.

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Thesis link (url) Project Page [BibTex]


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Evaluation of the passive dynamics of compliant legs with inertia

Györfi, B.

University of Applied Science Pforzheim, Germany, 2017 (mastersthesis)

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[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Learning Optimal Configurations for Modeling Frowning by Transcranial Electrical Stimulation

Sücker, K.

Graduate School of Neural Information Processing, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany, 2017 (mastersthesis)

ei

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Momentum-Centered Control of Contact Interactions

Righetti, L., Herzog, A.

In Geometric and Numerical Foundations of Movements, 117, pages: 339-359, Springer Tracts in Advanced Robotics, Springer, Cham, 2017 (incollection)

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link (url) [BibTex]

link (url) [BibTex]


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Understanding FORC using synthetic micro-structured systems with variable coupling- and coercivefield distributions

Groß, Felix

Universität Stuttgart, Stuttgart, 2017 (mastersthesis)

mms

[BibTex]


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Adsorption von Wasserstoffmolekülen in nanoporösen Gerüststrukturen

Kotzur, Nadine

Universität Stuttgart, Stuttgart, 2017 (mastersthesis)

mms

[BibTex]

[BibTex]

2016


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Non-parametric Models for Structured Data and Applications to Human Bodies and Natural Scenes

Lehrmann, A.

ETH Zurich, July 2016 (phdthesis)

Abstract
The purpose of this thesis is the study of non-parametric models for structured data and their fields of application in computer vision. We aim at the development of context-sensitive architectures which are both expressive and efficient. Our focus is on directed graphical models, in particular Bayesian networks, where we combine the flexibility of non-parametric local distributions with the efficiency of a global topology with bounded treewidth. A bound on the treewidth is obtained by either constraining the maximum indegree of the underlying graph structure or by introducing determinism. The non-parametric distributions in the nodes of the graph are given by decision trees or kernel density estimators. The information flow implied by specific network topologies, especially the resultant (conditional) independencies, allows for a natural integration and control of contextual information. We distinguish between three different types of context: static, dynamic, and semantic. In four different approaches we propose models which exhibit varying combinations of these contextual properties and allow modeling of structured data in space, time, and hierarchies derived thereof. The generative character of the presented models enables a direct synthesis of plausible hypotheses. Extensive experiments validate the developed models in two application scenarios which are of particular interest in computer vision: human bodies and natural scenes. In the practical sections of this work we discuss both areas from different angles and show applications of our models to human pose, motion, and segmentation as well as object categorization and localization. Here, we benefit from the availability of modern datasets of unprecedented size and diversity. Comparisons to traditional approaches and state-of-the-art research on the basis of well-established evaluation criteria allows the objective assessment of our contributions.

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pdf [BibTex]


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Implications of Action-Oriented Paradigm Shifts in Cognitive Science

Dominey, P. F., Prescott, T. J., Bohg, J., Engel, A. K., Gallagher, S., Heed, T., Hoffmann, M., Knoblich, G., Prinz, W., Schwartz, A.

In The Pragmatic Turn - Toward Action-Oriented Views in Cognitive Science, 18, pages: 333-356, 20, Strüngmann Forum Reports, vol. 18, J. Lupp, series editor, (Editors: Andreas K. Engel and Karl J. Friston and Danica Kragic), The MIT Press, 18th Ernst Strüngmann Forum, May 2016 (incollection) In press

Abstract
An action-oriented perspective changes the role of an individual from a passive observer to an actively engaged agent interacting in a closed loop with the world as well as with others. Cognition exists to serve action within a landscape that contains both. This chapter surveys this landscape and addresses the status of the pragmatic turn. Its potential influence on science and the study of cognition are considered (including perception, social cognition, social interaction, sensorimotor entrainment, and language acquisition) and its impact on how neuroscience is studied is also investigated (with the notion that brains do not passively build models, but instead support the guidance of action). A review of its implications in robotics and engineering includes a discussion of the application of enactive control principles to couple action and perception in robotics as well as the conceptualization of system design in a more holistic, less modular manner. Practical applications that can impact the human condition are reviewed (e.g. educational applications, treatment possibilities for developmental and psychopathological disorders, the development of neural prostheses). All of this foreshadows the potential societal implications of the pragmatic turn. The chapter concludes that an action-oriented approach emphasizes a continuum of interaction between technical aspects of cognitive systems and robotics, biology, psychology, the social sciences, and the humanities, where the individual is part of a grounded cultural system.

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The Pragmatic Turn - Toward Action-Oriented Views in Cognitive Science 18th Ernst Strüngmann Forum Bibliography Chapter link (url) [BibTex]

The Pragmatic Turn - Toward Action-Oriented Views in Cognitive Science 18th Ernst Strüngmann Forum Bibliography Chapter link (url) [BibTex]


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Learning Action-Perception Cycles in Robotics: A Question of Representations and Embodiment

Bohg, J., Kragic, D.

In The Pragmatic Turn - Toward Action-Oriented Views in Cognitive Science, 18, pages: 309-320, 18, Strüngmann Forum Reports, vol. 18, J. Lupp, series editor, (Editors: Andreas K. Engel and Karl J. Friston and Danica Kragic), The MIT Press, 18th Ernst Strüngmann Forum, May 2016 (incollection) In press

Abstract
Since the 1950s, robotics research has sought to build a general-purpose agent capable of autonomous, open-ended interaction with realistic, unconstrained environments. Cognition is perceived to be at the core of this process, yet understanding has been challenged because cognition is referred to differently within and across research areas, and is not clearly defined. The classic robotics approach is decomposition into functional modules which perform planning, reasoning, and problem-solving or provide input to these mechanisms. Although advancements have been made and numerous success stories reported in specific niches, this systems-engineering approach has not succeeded in building such a cognitive agent. The emergence of an action-oriented paradigm offers a new approach: action and perception are no longer separable into functional modules but must be considered in a complete loop. This chapter reviews work on different mechanisms for action- perception learning and discusses the role of embodiment in the design of the underlying representations and learning. It discusses the evaluation of agents and suggests the development of a new embodied Turing Test. Appropriate scenarios need to be devised in addition to current competitions, so that abilities can be tested over long time periods.

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18th Ernst Strüngmann Forum The Pragmatic Turn- Toward Action-Oriented Views in Cognitive Science Bibliography Chapter link (url) [BibTex]

18th Ernst Strüngmann Forum The Pragmatic Turn- Toward Action-Oriented Views in Cognitive Science Bibliography Chapter link (url) [BibTex]


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Nonlinear functional causal models for distinguishing cause from effect

Zhang, K., Hyvärinen, A.

In Statistics and Causality: Methods for Applied Empirical Research, pages: 185-201, 8, 1st, (Editors: Wolfgang Wiedermann and Alexander von Eye), John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2016 (inbook)

ei

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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A cognitive brain–computer interface for patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Hohmann, M., Fomina, T., Jayaram, V., Widmann, N., Förster, C., Just, J., Synofzik, M., Schölkopf, B., Schöls, L., Grosse-Wentrup, M.

In Brain-Computer Interfaces: Lab Experiments to Real-World Applications, 228(Supplement C):221-239, 8, Progress in Brain Research, (Editors: Damien Coyle), Elsevier, 2016 (incollection)

ei

DOI Project Page [BibTex]

DOI Project Page [BibTex]


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Locally Weighted Regression for Control

Ting, J., Meier, F., Vijayakumar, S., Schaal, S.

In Encyclopedia of Machine Learning and Data Mining, pages: 1-14, Springer US, Boston, MA, 2016 (inbook)

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Interface-controlled phenomena in nanomaterials

Mittemeijer, Eric J.; Wang, Zumin

2016 (mpi_year_book)

Abstract
Nanosized material systems characteristically exhibit an excessively high internal interface density. A series of previously unknown phenomena in nanomaterials have been disclosed that are fundamentally caused by the presence of interfaces. Thus anomalously large and small lattice parameters in nanocrystalline metals, quantum stress oscillations in growing nanofilms, and extraordinary atomic mobility at ultralow temperatures have been observed and explained. The attained understanding for these new phenomena can lead to new, sophisticated applications of nanomaterials in advanced technologies.

link (url) [BibTex]

link (url) [BibTex]


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Robots learn how to see

Geiger, A.

2016 (mpi_year_book)

Abstract
Autonomous vehicles and intelligent service robots could soon contribute to making our lives more pleasant and secure. However, for autonomous operation such systems first need to learn the perception process itself. This involves measuring distances and motions, detecting objects and interpreting the threedimensional world as a whole. While humans perceive their environment with seemingly little efforts, computers first need to be trained for these tasks. Our research is concerned with developing mathematical models which allow computers to robustly perceive their environment.

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Statische und dynamische Magnetisierungseigenschaften nanoskaliger Überstrukturen

Gräfe, J.

Universität Stuttgart, Stuttgart (und Cuvillier Verlag, Göttingen), 2016 (phdthesis)

mms

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Gepinnte Bahnmomente in magnetischen Heterostrukturen

Audehm, P.

Universität Stuttgart, Stuttgart (und Cuvillier Verlag, Göttingen), 2016 (phdthesis)

mms

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Austauschgekoppelte Moden in magnetischen Vortexstrukturen

Dieterle, G.

Universität Stuttgart, Stuttgart, 2016 (phdthesis)

mms

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Density matrix calculations for the ultrafast demagnetization after femtosecond laser pulses

Weng, Weikai

Universität Stuttgart, Stuttgart, 2016 (mastersthesis)

mms

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Deep Learning for Diabetic Retinopathy Diagnostics

Balles, Lukas

Heidelberg University, 2016 (mastersthesis)

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Helium und Hydrogen Isotope Adsorption and Separation in Metal-Organic Frameworks

Zaiser, Ingrid

Universität Stuttgart, Stuttgart (und Cuvillier Verlag, Göttingen), 2016 (phdthesis)

mms

[BibTex]

[BibTex]