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2011


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Robot Learning

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

In Encyclopedia of Machine Learning, pages: 865-869, Encyclopedia of machine learning, (Editors: Sammut, C. and Webb, G. I.), Springer, New York, NY, USA, January 2011 (inbook)

ei

PDF Web DOI [BibTex]

2011


PDF Web DOI [BibTex]


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A Non-Parametric Approach to Dynamic Programming

Kroemer, O., Peters, J.

In Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 24, pages: 1719-1727, (Editors: J Shawe-Taylor and RS Zemel and P Bartlett and F Pereira and KQ Weinberger), Twenty-Fifth Annual Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS), 2011 (inproceedings)

Abstract
In this paper, we consider the problem of policy evaluation for continuousstate systems. We present a non-parametric approach to policy evaluation, which uses kernel density estimation to represent the system. The true form of the value function for this model can be determined, and can be computed using Galerkin’s method. Furthermore, we also present a unified view of several well-known policy evaluation methods. In particular, we show that the same Galerkin method can be used to derive Least-Squares Temporal Difference learning, Kernelized Temporal Difference learning, and a discrete-state Dynamic Programming solution, as well as our proposed method. In a numerical evaluation of these algorithms, the proposed approach performed better than the other methods.

ei

PDF Web [BibTex]

PDF Web [BibTex]


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Reinforcement Learning with Bounded Information Loss

Peters, J., Peters, J., Mülling, K., Altun, Y.

AIP Conference Proceedings, 1305(1):365-372, 2011 (article)

Abstract
Policy search is a successful approach to reinforcement learning. However, policy improvements often result in the loss of information. Hence, it has been marred by premature convergence and implausible solutions. As first suggested in the context of covariant or natural policy gradients, many of these problems may be addressed by constraining the information loss. In this paper, we continue this path of reasoning and suggest two reinforcement learning methods, i.e., a model‐based and a model free algorithm that bound the loss in relative entropy while maximizing their return. The resulting methods differ significantly from previous policy gradient approaches and yields an exact update step. It works well on typical reinforcement learning benchmark problems as well as novel evaluations in robotics. We also show a Bayesian bound motivation of this new approach [8].

ei

Web DOI [BibTex]

Web DOI [BibTex]


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Transfer Learning with Copulas

Lopez-Paz, D., Hernandez-Lobato, J.

In pages: 2, NIPS, Workshop on Copulas in Machine Learning, 2011 (inproceedings)

ei

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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Denoising sparse noise via online dictionary learning

Cherian, A., Sra, S., Papanikolopoulos, N.

In Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing, ICASSP 2011, pages: 2060 -2063, IEEE, IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing (ICASSP), 2011 (inproceedings)

ei

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Support Vector Machines for finding deletions and short insertions using paired-end short reads

Grimm, D., Hagmann, J., König, D., Weigel, D., Borgwardt, KM.

International Conference on Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology (ISMB), 2011 (poster)

ei

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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What You Expect Is What You Get? Potential Use of Contingent Negative Variation for Passive BCI Systems in Gaze-Based HCI

Ihme, K., Zander, TO.

In Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction, 6975, pages: 447-456, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, (Editors: D’Mello, S., Graesser, A., Schuller, B. and Martin, J.-C.), Springer, Berlin, Germany, 2011 (inbook)

Abstract
When using eye movements for cursor control in human-computer interaction (HCI), it may be difficult to find an appropriate substitute for the click operation. Most approaches make use of dwell times. However, in this context the so-called Midas-Touch-Problem occurs which means that the system wrongly interprets fixations due to long processing times or spontaneous dwellings of the user as command. Lately it has been shown that brain-computer interface (BCI) input bears good prospects to overcome this problem using imagined hand movements to elicit a selection. The current approach tries to develop this idea further by exploring potential signals for the use in a passive BCI, which would have the advantage that the brain signals used as input are generated automatically without conscious effort of the user. To explore event-related potentials (ERPs) giving information about the user’s intention to select an object, 32-channel electroencephalography (EEG) was recorded from ten participants interacting with a dwell-time-based system. Comparing ERP signals during the dwell time with those occurring during fixations on a neutral cross hair, a sustained negative slow cortical potential at central electrode sites was revealed. This negativity might be a contingent negative variation (CNV) reflecting the participants’ anticipation of the upcoming selection. Offline classification suggests that the CNV is detectable in single trial (mean accuracy 74.9 %). In future, research on the CNV should be accomplished to ensure its stable occurence in human-computer interaction and render possible its use as a potential substitue for the click operation.

ei

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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PILCO: A Model-Based and Data-Efficient Approach to Policy Search

Deisenroth, MP., Rasmussen, CE.

In Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Machine Learning, ICML 2011, pages: 465-472, (Editors: L Getoor and T Scheffer), Omnipress, 2011 (inproceedings)

Abstract
In this paper, we introduce PILCO, a practical, data-efficient model-based policy search method. PILCO reduces model bias, one of the key problems of model-based reinforcement learning, in a principled way. By learning a probabilistic dynamics model and explicitly incorporating model uncertainty into long-term planning, PILCO can cope with very little data and facilitates learning from scratch in only a few trials. Policy evaluation is performed in closed form using state-of-the-art approximate inference. Furthermore, policy gradients are computed analytically for policy improvement. We report unprecedented learning efficiency on challenging and high-dimensional control tasks.

ei

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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Kernel Bayes’ Rule

Fukumizu, K., Song, L., Gretton, A.

In Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 24, pages: 1737-1745, (Editors: J Shawe-Taylor and RS Zemel and P Bartlett and F Pereira and KQ Weinberger), Curran Associates, Inc., Red Hook, NY, USA, Twenty-Fifth Annual Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS), 2011 (inproceedings)

ei

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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Optimal Reinforcement Learning for Gaussian Systems

Hennig, P.

In Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 24, pages: 325-333, (Editors: J Shawe-Taylor and RS Zemel and P Bartlett and F Pereira and KQ Weinberger), Twenty-Fifth Annual Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS), 2011 (inproceedings)

Abstract
The exploration-exploitation trade-off is among the central challenges of reinforcement learning. The optimal Bayesian solution is intractable in general. This paper studies to what extent analytic statements about optimal learning are possible if all beliefs are Gaussian processes. A first order approximation of learning of both loss and dynamics, for nonlinear, time-varying systems in continuous time and space, subject to a relatively weak restriction on the dynamics, is described by an infinite-dimensional partial differential equation. An approximate finitedimensional projection gives an impression for how this result may be helpful.

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PDF Web [BibTex]

PDF Web [BibTex]


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Efficient inference in matrix-variate Gaussian models with iid observation noise

Stegle, O., Lippert, C., Mooij, J., Lawrence, N., Borgwardt, K.

In Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 24, pages: 630-638, (Editors: J Shawe-Taylor and RS Zemel and P Bartlett and F Pereira and KQ Weinberger), Twenty-Fifth Annual Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS), 2011 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Inference in matrix-variate Gaussian models has major applications for multioutput prediction and joint learning of row and column covariances from matrixvariate data. Here, we discuss an approach for efficient inference in such models that explicitly account for iid observation noise. Computational tractability can be retained by exploiting the Kronecker product between row and column covariance matrices. Using this framework, we show how to generalize the Graphical Lasso in order to learn a sparse inverse covariance between features while accounting for a low-rank confounding covariance between samples. We show practical utility on applications to biology, where we model covariances with more than 100,000 dimensions. We find greater accuracy in recovering biological network structures and are able to better reconstruct the confounders.

ei

PDF Web [BibTex]

PDF Web [BibTex]


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Kernel Methods in Bioinformatics

Borgwardt, KM.

In Handbook of Statistical Bioinformatics, pages: 317-334, Springer Handbooks of Computational Statistics ; 3, (Editors: Lu, H.H.-S., Schölkopf, B. and Zhao, H.), Springer, Berlin, Germany, 2011 (inbook)

Abstract
Kernel methods have now witnessed more than a decade of increasing popularity in the bioinformatics community. In this article, we will compactly review this development, examining the areas in which kernel methods have contributed to computational biology and describing the reasons for their success.

ei

PDF DOI [BibTex]

PDF DOI [BibTex]


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Expectation Propagation for the Estimation of Conditional Bivariate Copulas

Hernandez-Lobato, J., Lopez-Paz, D., Gharhamani, Z.

In pages: 2, NIPS, Workshop on Copulas in Machine Learning, 2011 (inproceedings)

ei

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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Efficient Similarity Search for Covariance Matrices via the Jensen-Bregman LogDet Divergence

Cherian, A., Sra, S., Banerjee, A., Papanikolopoulos, N.

In IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision, ICCV 2011, pages: 2399-2406, (Editors: DN Metaxas and L Quan and A Sanfeliu and LJ Van Gool), IEEE, 13th International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV), 2011 (inproceedings)

ei

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Introducing the detection of auditory error responses based on BCI technology for passive interaction

Zander, TO., Klippel, DM., Scherer, R.

In Proceedings of the 5th International Brain–Computer Interface Conference, pages: 252-255, (Editors: GR Müller-Putz and R Scherer and M Billinger and A Kreilinger and V Kaiser and C Neuper), Graz: Verlag der Technischen Universität, 2011 (inproceedings)

ei

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Statistical estimation for optimization problems on graphs

Langovoy, M., Sra, S.

Empirical Inference Symposium, 2011 (poster)

ei

[BibTex]


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Handbook of Statistical Bioinformatics

Lu, H., Schölkopf, B., Zhao, H.

pages: 627, Springer Handbooks of Computational Statistics, Springer, Berlin, Germany, 2011 (book)

ei

Web DOI [BibTex]

Web DOI [BibTex]


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Cue Combination: Beyond Optimality

Rosas, P., Wichmann, F.

In Sensory Cue Integration, pages: 144-152, (Editors: Trommershäuser, J., Körding, K. and Landy, M. S.), Oxford University Press, 2011 (inbook)

ei

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Generalized Dictionary Learning for Symmetric Positive Definite Matrices with Application to Nearest Neighbor Retrieval

Sra, S., Cherian, A.

In Machine Learning and Knowledge Discovery in Databases - European Conference, ECML PKDD 2011, LNCS vol 6913, Part III, pages: 318-332, (Editors: D Gunopulos and T Hofmann and D Malerba and M Vazirgiannis), Springer, 22th European Conference on Machine Learning (ECML), 2011 (inproceedings)

ei

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Nonconvex proximal splitting: batch and incremental algorithms

Sra, S.

(2), Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Tübingen, Germany, 2011 (techreport)

Abstract
Within the unmanageably large class of nonconvex optimization, we consider the rich subclass of nonsmooth problems having composite objectives (this includes the extensively studied convex, composite objective problems as a special case). For this subclass, we introduce a powerful, new framework that permits asymptotically non-vanishing perturbations. In particular, we develop perturbation-based batch and incremental (online like) nonconvex proximal splitting algorithms. To our knowledge, this is the rst time that such perturbation-based nonconvex splitting algorithms are being proposed and analyzed. While the main contribution of the paper is the theoretical framework, we complement our results by presenting some empirical results on matrix factorization.

ei

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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Restricted boltzmann machines as useful tool for detecting oscillatory eeg components

Balderas, D., Zander, TO., Bachl, F., Neuper, C., Scherer, R.

In Proceedings of the 5th International Brain–Computer Interface Conference, pages: 68-71, (Editors: GR Müller-Putz and R Scherer and M Billinger and A Kkreilinger and V Kaiser and C Neuper), Graz: Verlag der Technischen Universität, 2011 (inproceedings)

ei

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Hierarchical Multitask Structured Output Learning for Large-scale Sequence Segmentation

Görnitz, N., Widmer, C., Zeller, G., Kahles, A., Sonnenburg, S., Rätsch, G.

In Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 24, pages: 2690-2698, (Editors: J Shawe-Taylor and RS Zemel and P Bartlett and FCN Pereira and KQ Weinberger), Curran Associates, Inc., Red Hook, NY, USA, Twenty-Fifth Annual Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS), 2011 (inproceedings)

ei

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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Phase transition in the family of p-resistances

Alamgir, M., von Luxburg, U.

In Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 24, pages: 379-387, (Editors: J Shawe-Taylor and RS Zemel and P Bartlett and F Pereira and KQ Weinberger), Twenty-Fifth Annual Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS), 2011 (inproceedings)

Abstract
We study the family of p-resistances on graphs for p ≥ 1. This family generalizes the standard resistance distance. We prove that for any fixed graph, for p=1, the p-resistance coincides with the shortest path distance, for p=2 it coincides with the standard resistance distance, and for p → ∞ it converges to the inverse of the minimal s-t-cut in the graph. Secondly, we consider the special case of random geometric graphs (such as k-nearest neighbor graphs) when the number n of vertices in the graph tends to infinity. We prove that an interesting phase-transition takes place. There exist two critical thresholds p^* and p^** such that if p < p^*, then the p-resistance depends on meaningful global properties of the graph, whereas if p > p^**, it only depends on trivial local quantities and does not convey any useful information. We can explicitly compute the critical values: p^* = 1 + 1/(d-1) and p^** = 1 + 1/(d-2) where d is the dimension of the underlying space (we believe that the fact that there is a small gap between p^* and p^** is an artifact of our proofs. We also relate our findings to Laplacian regularization and suggest to use q-Laplacians as regularizers, where q satisfies 1/p^* + 1/q = 1.

ei

PDF Web [BibTex]

PDF Web [BibTex]


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On Fast Approximate Submodular Minimization

Jegelka, S., Lin, H., Bilmes, J.

In Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 24, pages: 460-468, (Editors: J Shawe-Taylor and RS Zemel and P Bartlett and F Pereira and KQ Weinberger), Twenty-Fifth Annual Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS), 2011 (inproceedings)

Abstract
We are motivated by an application to extract a representative subset of machine learning training data and by the poor empirical performance we observe of the popular minimum norm algorithm. In fact, for our application, minimum norm can have a running time of about O(n7) (O(n5) oracle calls). We therefore propose a fast approximate method to minimize arbitrary submodular functions. For a large sub-class of submodular functions, the algorithm is exact. Other submodular functions are iteratively approximated by tight submodular upper bounds, and then repeatedly optimized. We show theoretical properties, and empirical results suggest significant speedups over minimum norm while retaining higher accuracies.

ei

PDF Web [BibTex]

PDF Web [BibTex]


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PAC-Bayesian Analysis of Contextual Bandits

Seldin, Y., Auer, P., Laviolette, F., Shawe-Taylor, J., Ortner, R.

In Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 24, pages: 1683-1691, (Editors: J Shawe-Taylor and RS Zemel and P Bartlett and F Pereira and KQ Weinberger), Twenty-Fifth Annual Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS), 2011 (inproceedings)

Abstract
We derive an instantaneous (per-round) data-dependent regret bound for stochastic multiarmed bandits with side information (also known as contextual bandits). The scaling of our regret bound with the number of states (contexts) $N$ goes as $\sqrt{N I_{\rho_t}(S;A)}$, where $I_{\rho_t}(S;A)$ is the mutual information between states and actions (the side information) used by the algorithm at round $t$. If the algorithm uses all the side information, the regret bound scales as $\sqrt{N \ln K}$, where $K$ is the number of actions (arms). However, if the side information $I_{\rho_t}(S;A)$ is not fully used, the regret bound is significantly tighter. In the extreme case, when $I_{\rho_t}(S;A) = 0$, the dependence on the number of states reduces from linear to logarithmic. Our analysis allows to provide the algorithm large amount of side information, let the algorithm to decide which side information is relevant for the task, and penalize the algorithm only for the side information that it is using de facto. We also present an algorithm for multiarmed bandits with side information with computational complexity that is a linear in the number of actions.

ei

PDF PDF Web [BibTex]

PDF PDF Web [BibTex]


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Fast projections onto L1,q-norm balls for grouped feature selection

Sra, S.

In Machine Learning and Knowledge Discovery in Databases - European Conference, ECML PKDD 2011, LNCS vol 6913, Part III, pages: 305-317, (Editors: D Gunopulos and T Hofmann and D Malerba and M Vazirgiannis), Springer, 22th European Conference on Machine Learning (ECML), 2011 (inproceedings)

ei

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Model Learning in Robot Control

Nguyen-Tuong, D.

Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Germany, 2011 (phdthesis)

ei

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Kernel Belief Propagation

Song, L., Gretton, A., Bickson, D., Low, Y., Guestrin, C.

In Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics, Vol. 15, pages: 707-715, (Editors: G Gordon and D Dunson and M Dudík), JMLR, AISTATS, 2011 (inproceedings)

ei

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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On Causal Discovery with Cyclic Additive Noise Models

Mooij, J., Janzing, D., Schölkopf, B., Heskes, T.

In Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 24, pages: 639-647, (Editors: J Shawe-Taylor and RS Zemel and PL Bartlett and FCN Pereira and KQ Weinberger), Curran Associates, Inc., Red Hook, NY, USA, Twenty-Fifth Annual Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS), 2011 (inproceedings)

Abstract
We study a particular class of cyclic causal models, where each variable is a (possibly nonlinear) function of its parents and additive noise. We prove that the causal graph of such models is generically identifiable in the bivariate, Gaussian-noise case. We also propose a method to learn such models from observational data. In the acyclic case, the method reduces to ordinary regression, but in the more challenging cyclic case, an additional term arises in the loss function, which makes it a special case of nonlinear independent component analysis. We illustrate the proposed method on synthetic data.

ei

PDF Web [BibTex]

PDF Web [BibTex]


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Additive Gaussian Processes

Duvenaud, D., Nickisch, H., Rasmussen, C.

In Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 24, pages: 226-234, (Editors: J Shawe-Taylor and RS Zemel and P Bartlett and F Pereira and KQ Weinberger), Twenty-Fifth Annual Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS), 2011 (inproceedings)

Abstract
We introduce a Gaussian process model of functions which are additive. An additive function is one which decomposes into a sum of low-dimensional functions, each depending on only a subset of the input variables. Additive GPs generalize both Generalized Additive Models, and the standard GP models which use squared-exponential kernels. Hyperparameter learning in this model can be seen as Bayesian Hierarchical Kernel Learning (HKL). We introduce an expressive but tractable parameterization of the kernel function, which allows efficient evaluation of all input interaction terms, whose number is exponential in the input dimension. The additional structure discoverable by this model results in increased interpretability, as well as state-of-the-art predictive power in regression tasks.

ei

PDF Web [BibTex]

PDF Web [BibTex]


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k-NN Regression Adapts to Local Intrinsic Dimension

Kpotufe, S.

In Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 24, pages: 729-737, (Editors: J Shawe-Taylor and RS Zemel and P Bartlett and F Pereira and KQ Weinberger), Twenty-Fifth Annual Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS), 2011 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Many nonparametric regressors were recently shown to converge at rates that depend only on the intrinsic dimension of data. These regressors thus escape the curse of dimension when high-dimensional data has low intrinsic dimension (e.g. a manifold). We show that k-NN regression is also adaptive to intrinsic dimension. In particular our rates are local to a query x and depend only on the way masses of balls centered at x vary with radius. Furthermore, we show a simple way to choose k = k(x) locally at any x so as to nearly achieve the minimax rate at x in terms of the unknown intrinsic dimension in the vicinity of x. We also establish that the minimax rate does not depend on a particular choice of metric space or distribution, but rather that this minimax rate holds for any metric space and doubling measure.

ei

PDF Web [BibTex]

PDF Web [BibTex]


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Fast Newton-type Methods for Total-Variation with Applications

Barbero, A., Sra, S.

In Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Machine Learning, ICML 2011, pages: 313-320, (Editors: L Getoor and T Scheffer), Omnipress, 28th International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML), 2011 (inproceedings)

ei

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Parallel Gibbs Sampling: From Colored Fields to Thin Junction Trees

Gonzalez, J., Low, Y., Gretton, A., Guestrin, C.

In Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics, Vol. 15, pages: 324-332, (Editors: G Gordon and D Dunson and M Dudík), JMLR, AISTATS, 2011 (inproceedings)

ei

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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Transfer Learning with Copulas

Lopez-Paz, D., Hernandez-Lobato, J.

Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS), 2011 (poster)

ei

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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Quantum-Cascade Laser-Based Vibrational Circular Dichroism

Luedeke, S., Pfeifer, M., Fischer, P.

JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY, 133(15):5704-5707, 2011 (article)

Abstract
Vibrational circular dichroism (VCD) spectra were recorded with a tunable external-cavity quantum-cascade laser (QCL). In comparison with standard thermal light sources in the IR, QCLs provide orders of magnitude more power and are therefore promising for VCD studies in strongly absorbing solvents. The brightness of this novel light source is demonstrated with VCD and IR absorption measurements of a number of compounds, including proline in water.

pf

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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STOMP: Stochastic trajectory optimization for motion planning

Kalakrishnan, M., Chitta, S., Theodorou, E., Pastor, P., Schaal, S.

In IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), Shanghai, China, May 9-13, 2011, clmc (inproceedings)

Abstract
We present a new approach to motion planning using a stochastic trajectory optimization framework. The approach relies on generating noisy trajectories to explore the space around an initial (possibly infeasible) trajectory, which are then combined to produced an updated trajectory with lower cost. A cost function based on a combination of obstacle and smoothness cost is optimized in each iteration. No gradient information is required for the particular optimization algorithm that we use and so general costs for which derivatives may not be available (e.g. costs corresponding to constraints and motor torques) can be included in the cost function. We demonstrate the approach both in simulation and on a dual-arm mobile manipulation system for unconstrained and constrained tasks. We experimentally show that the stochastic nature of STOMP allows it to overcome local minima that gradient-based optimizers like CHOMP can get stuck in.

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link (url) Project Page [BibTex]

link (url) Project Page [BibTex]


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Recovering Intrinsic Images with a Global Sparsity Prior on Reflectance

Gehler, P., Rother, C., Kiefel, M., Zhang, L., Schölkopf, B.

In Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 24, pages: 765-773, (Editors: Shawe-Taylor, John and Zemel, Richard S. and Bartlett, Peter L. and Pereira, Fernando C. N. and Weinberger, Kilian Q.), Curran Associates, Inc., Red Hook, NY, USA, Twenty-Fifth Annual Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS), 2011 (inproceedings)

Abstract
We address the challenging task of decoupling material properties from lighting properties given a single image. In the last two decades virtually all works have concentrated on exploiting edge information to address this problem. We take a different route by introducing a new prior on reflectance, that models reflectance values as being drawn from a sparse set of basis colors. This results in a Random Field model with global, latent variables (basis colors) and pixel-accurate output reflectance values. We show that without edge information high-quality results can be achieved, that are on par with methods exploiting this source of information. Finally, we are able to improve on state-of-the-art results by integrating edge information into our model. We believe that our new approach is an excellent starting point for future developments in this field.

ei ps

website + code pdf poster Project Page Project Page [BibTex]

website + code pdf poster Project Page Project Page [BibTex]


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Actively coupled cavity ringdown spectroscopy with low-power broadband sources

Petermann, C., Fischer, P.

OPTICS EXPRESS, 19(11):10164-10173, 2011 (article)

Abstract
We demonstrate a coupling scheme for cavity enhanced absorption spectroscopy that makes use of an intracavity acousto-optical modulator to actively switch light into (and out of) a resonator. This allows cavity ringdown spectroscopy (CRDS) to be implemented with broadband nonlaser light sources with spectral power densities of less than 30 mu W/nm. Although the acousto-optical element reduces the ultimate detection limit by introducing additional losses, it permits absorptivities to be measured with a high dynamic range, especially in lossy environments. Absorption measurements for the forbidden transition of gaseous oxygen in air at similar to 760nm are presented using a low-coherence cw-superluminescent diode. The same setup was electronically configured to cover absorption losses from 1.8 x 10(-8)cm(-1) to 7.5\% per roundtrip. This could be of interest in process analytical applications. (C) 2011 Optical Society of America

pf

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Path Integral Control and Bounded Rationality

Braun, D. A., Ortega, P. A., Theodorou, E., Schaal, S.

In IEEE Symposium on Adaptive Dynamic Programming And Reinforcement Learning (ADPRL), 2011, clmc (inproceedings)

Abstract
Path integral methods [7], [15],[1] have recently been shown to be applicable to a very general class of optimal control problems. Here we examine the path integral formalism from a decision-theoretic point of view, since an optimal controller can always be regarded as an instance of a perfectly rational decision-maker that chooses its actions so as to maximize its expected utility [8]. The problem with perfect rationality is, however, that finding optimal actions is often very difficult due to prohibitive computational resource costs that are not taken into account. In contrast, a bounded rational decision-maker has only limited resources and therefore needs to strike some compromise between the desired utility and the required resource costs [14]. In particular, we suggest an information-theoretic measure of resource costs that can be derived axiomatically [11]. As a consequence we obtain a variational principle for choice probabilities that trades off maximizing a given utility criterion and avoiding resource costs that arise due to deviating from initially given default choice probabilities. The resulting bounded rational policies are in general probabilistic. We show that the solutions found by the path integral formalism are such bounded rational policies. Furthermore, we show that the same formalism generalizes to discrete control problems, leading to linearly solvable bounded rational control policies in the case of Markov systems. Importantly, Bellman?s optimality principle is not presupposed by this variational principle, but it can be derived as a limit case. This suggests that the information- theoretic formalization of bounded rationality might serve as a general principle in control design that unifies a number of recently reported approximate optimal control methods both in the continuous and discrete domain.

am

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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Skill learning and task outcome prediction for manipulation

Pastor, P., Kalakrishnan, M., Chitta, S., Theodorou, E., Schaal, S.

In IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), Shanghai, China, May 9-13, 2011, clmc (inproceedings)

Abstract
Learning complex motor skills for real world tasks is a hard problem in robotic manipulation that often requires painstaking manual tuning and design by a human expert. In this work, we present a Reinforcement Learning based approach to acquiring new motor skills from demonstration. Our approach allows the robot to learn fine manipulation skills and significantly improve its success rate and skill level starting from a possibly coarse demonstration. Our approach aims to incorporate task domain knowledge, where appropriate, by working in a space consistent with the constraints of a specific task. In addition, we also present an approach to using sensor feedback to learn a predictive model of the task outcome. This allows our system to learn the proprioceptive sensor feedback needed to monitor subsequent executions of the task online and abort execution in the event of predicted failure. We illustrate our approach using two example tasks executed with the PR2 dual-arm robot: a straight and accurate pool stroke and a box flipping task using two chopsticks as tools.

am

link (url) Project Page Project Page [BibTex]

link (url) Project Page Project Page [BibTex]


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An Iterative Path Integral Stochastic Optimal Control Approach for Learning Robotic Tasks

Theodorou, E., Stulp, F., Buchli, J., Schaal, S.

In Proceedings of the 18th World Congress of the International Federation of Automatic Control, 2011, clmc (inproceedings)

Abstract
Recent work on path integral stochastic optimal control theory Theodorou et al. (2010a); Theodorou (2011) has shown promising results in planning and control of nonlinear systems in high dimensional state spaces. The path integral control framework relies on the transformation of the nonlinear Hamilton Jacobi Bellman (HJB) partial differential equation (PDE) into a linear PDE and the approximation of its solution via the use of the Feynman Kac lemma. In this work, we are reviewing the generalized version of path integral stochastic optimal control formalism Theodorou et al. (2010a), used for optimal control and planing of stochastic dynamical systems with state dependent control and diffusion matrices. Moreover we present the iterative path integral control approach, the so called Policy Improvement with Path Integrals or (PI2 ) which is capable of scaling in high dimensional robotic control problems. Furthermore we present a convergence analysis of the proposed algorithm and we apply the proposed framework to a variety of robotic tasks. Finally with the goal to perform locomotion the iterative path integral control is applied for learning nonlinear limit cycle attractors with adjustable land scape.

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PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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Preparation of high-efficiency nanostructures of crystalline silicon at low temperatures, as catalyzed by metals: The decisive role of interface thermodynamics

Wang, Zumin, Jeurgens, Lars P. H., Mittemeijer, Eric J.

2011 (mpi_year_book)

Abstract
Metals may help to convert semiconductors from a disordered (amorphous) to an ordered (crystalline) form at low temperatures. A general, quantitative model description has been developed on the basis of interface thermodynamics, which provides fundamental understanding of such so-called metal-induced crystallization (MIC) of amorphous semiconductors. This fundamental understanding can allow the low-temperature (< 200 ºC) manufacturing of high-efficiency solar cells and crystalline-Si-based nanostructures on cheap and flexible substrates such as glasses, plastics and possibly even papers.

link (url) [BibTex]


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Magnetically actuated propulsion at low Reynolds numbers: towards nanoscale control

Fischer, P., Ghosh, A.

NANOSCALE, 3(2):557-563, 2011 (article)

Abstract
Significant progress has been made in the fabrication of micron and sub-micron structures whose motion can be controlled in liquids under ambient conditions. The aim of many of these engineering endeavors is to be able to build and propel an artificial micro-structure that rivals the versatility of biological swimmers of similar size, e. g. motile bacterial cells. Applications for such artificial ``micro-bots'' are envisioned to range from microrheology to targeted drug delivery and microsurgery, and require full motion-control under ambient conditions. In this Mini-Review we discuss the construction, actuation, and operation of several devices that have recently been reported, especially systems that can be controlled by and propelled with homogenous magnetic fields. We describe the fabrication and associated experimental challenges and discuss potential applications.

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Video - Nanospropellers DOI [BibTex]


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The sweet coat of living cells – from supramolecular organization and dynamics to biological function

Richter, Ralf

2011 (mpi_year_book)

Abstract
Many biological cells endow themselves with a sugar-rich coat that plays a key role in the protection of the cell and in structuring and communicating with its environment. An outstanding property of these pericellular coats is their dynamic self-organization into strongly hydrated and gel-like meshworks. Tailor-made model systems that are constructed from the molecular building blocks of pericellular coats can help to understand how the coats function.

link (url) [BibTex]


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Design and application of a wire-driven bidirectional telescopic mechanism for workspace expansion with a focus on shipbuilding tasks

Lee, D., Chang, D., Shin, Y., Son, D., Kim, T., Lee, K., Kim, J.

Advanced Robotics, 25, 2011 (article)

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[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Bayesian robot system identification with input and output noise

Ting, J., D’Souza, A., Schaal, S.

Neural Networks, 24(1):99-108, 2011, clmc (article)

Abstract
For complex robots such as humanoids, model-based control is highly beneficial for accurate tracking while keeping negative feedback gains low for compliance. However, in such multi degree-of-freedom lightweight systems, conventional identification of rigid body dynamics models using CAD data and actuator models is inaccurate due to unknown nonlinear robot dynamic effects. An alternative method is data-driven parameter estimation, but significant noise in measured and inferred variables affects it adversely. Moreover, standard estimation procedures may give physically inconsistent results due to unmodeled nonlinearities or insufficiently rich data. This paper addresses these problems, proposing a Bayesian system identification technique for linear or piecewise linear systems. Inspired by Factor Analysis regression, we develop a computationally efficient variational Bayesian regression algorithm that is robust to ill-conditioned data, automatically detects relevant features, and identifies input and output noise. We evaluate our approach on rigid body parameter estimation for various robotic systems, achieving an error of up to three times lower than other state-of-the-art machine learning methods

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link (url) [BibTex]

link (url) [BibTex]


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Combining wireless neural recording and video capture for the analysis of natural gait

Foster, J., Freifeld, O., Nuyujukian, P., Ryu, S., Black, M. J., Shenoy, K.

In Proc. 5th Int. IEEE EMBS Conf. on Neural Engineering, pages: 613-616, IEEE, 2011 (inproceedings)

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pdf Project Page [BibTex]

pdf Project Page [BibTex]


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The Oxidation of Fe(111)

Davies, R., Edwards, D., Gräfe, J., Gilbert, L., Davies, P., Hutchings, G., Bowker, M.

Surface Science, 605(17-18):1754-1762, 2011 (article)

mms

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Learning variable impedance control

Buchli, J., Stulp, F., Theodorou, E., Schaal, S.

International Journal of Robotics Research, 2011, clmc (article)

Abstract
One of the hallmarks of the performance, versatility, and robustness of biological motor control is the ability to adapt the impedance of the overall biomechanical system to different task requirements and stochastic disturbances. A transfer of this principle to robotics is desirable, for instance to enable robots to work robustly and safely in everyday human environments. It is, however, not trivial to derive variable impedance controllers for practical high degree-of-freedom (DOF) robotic tasks. In this contribution, we accomplish such variable impedance control with the reinforcement learning (RL) algorithm PISq ({f P}olicy {f I}mprovement with {f P}ath {f I}ntegrals). PISq is a model-free, sampling based learning method derived from first principles of stochastic optimal control. The PISq algorithm requires no tuning of algorithmic parameters besides the exploration noise. The designer can thus fully focus on cost function design to specify the task. From the viewpoint of robotics, a particular useful property of PISq is that it can scale to problems of many DOFs, so that reinforcement learning on real robotic systems becomes feasible. We sketch the PISq algorithm and its theoretical properties, and how it is applied to gain scheduling for variable impedance control. We evaluate our approach by presenting results on several simulated and real robots. We consider tasks involving accurate tracking through via-points, and manipulation tasks requiring physical contact with the environment. In these tasks, the optimal strategy requires both tuning of a reference trajectory emph{and} the impedance of the end-effector. The results show that we can use path integral based reinforcement learning not only for planning but also to derive variable gain feedback controllers in realistic scenarios. Thus, the power of variable impedance control is made available to a wide variety of robotic systems and practical applications.

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link (url) [BibTex]

link (url) [BibTex]