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2014


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Hough-based Object Detection with Grouped Features

Srikantha, A., Gall, J.

International Conference on Image Processing, pages: 1653-1657, Paris, France, IEEE International Conference on Image Processing , October 2014 (conference)

Abstract
Hough-based voting approaches have been successfully applied to object detection. While these methods can be efficiently implemented by random forests, they estimate the probability for an object hypothesis for each feature independently. In this work, we address this problem by grouping features in a local neighborhood to obtain a better estimate of the probability. To this end, we propose oblique classification-regression forests that combine features of different trees. We further investigate the benefit of combining independent and grouped features and evaluate the approach on RGB and RGB-D datasets.

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pdf poster DOI Project Page [BibTex]

2014


pdf poster DOI Project Page [BibTex]


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Omnidirectional 3D Reconstruction in Augmented Manhattan Worlds

Schoenbein, M., Geiger, A.

International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, pages: 716 - 723, IEEE, Chicago, IL, USA, IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and System, October 2014 (conference)

Abstract
This paper proposes a method for high-quality omnidirectional 3D reconstruction of augmented Manhattan worlds from catadioptric stereo video sequences. In contrast to existing works we do not rely on constructing virtual perspective views, but instead propose to optimize depth jointly in a unified omnidirectional space. Furthermore, we show that plane-based prior models can be applied even though planes in 3D do not project to planes in the omnidirectional domain. Towards this goal, we propose an omnidirectional slanted-plane Markov random field model which relies on plane hypotheses extracted using a novel voting scheme for 3D planes in omnidirectional space. To quantitatively evaluate our method we introduce a dataset which we have captured using our autonomous driving platform AnnieWAY which we equipped with two horizontally aligned catadioptric cameras and a Velodyne HDL-64E laser scanner for precise ground truth depth measurements. As evidenced by our experiments, the proposed method clearly benefits from the unified view and significantly outperforms existing stereo matching techniques both quantitatively and qualitatively. Furthermore, our method is able to reduce noise and the obtained depth maps can be represented very compactly by a small number of image segments and plane parameters.

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pdf DOI [BibTex]

pdf DOI [BibTex]


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Human Pose Estimation with Fields of Parts

Kiefel, M., Gehler, P.

In Computer Vision – ECCV 2014, LNCS 8693, pages: 331-346, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, (Editors: Fleet, David and Pajdla, Tomas and Schiele, Bernt and Tuytelaars, Tinne), Springer, 13th European Conference on Computer Vision, September 2014 (inproceedings)

Abstract
This paper proposes a new formulation of the human pose estimation problem. We present the Fields of Parts model, a binary Conditional Random Field model designed to detect human body parts of articulated people in single images. The Fields of Parts model is inspired by the idea of Pictorial Structures, it models local appearance and joint spatial configuration of the human body. However the underlying graph structure is entirely different. The idea is simple: we model the presence and absence of a body part at every possible position, orientation, and scale in an image with a binary random variable. This results into a vast number of random variables, however, we show that approximate inference in this model is efficient. Moreover we can encode the very same appearance and spatial structure as in Pictorial Structures models. This approach allows us to combine ideas from segmentation and pose estimation into a single model. The Fields of Parts model can use evidence from the background, include local color information, and it is connected more densely than a kinematic chain structure. On the challenging Leeds Sports Poses dataset we improve over the Pictorial Structures counterpart by 5.5% in terms of Average Precision of Keypoints (APK).

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website pdf DOI Project Page [BibTex]

website pdf DOI Project Page [BibTex]


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Capturing Hand Motion with an RGB-D Sensor, Fusing a Generative Model with Salient Points

Tzionas, D., Srikantha, A., Aponte, P., Gall, J.

In German Conference on Pattern Recognition (GCPR), pages: 1-13, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Springer, GCPR, September 2014 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Hand motion capture has been an active research topic in recent years, following the success of full-body pose tracking. Despite similarities, hand tracking proves to be more challenging, characterized by a higher dimensionality, severe occlusions and self-similarity between fingers. For this reason, most approaches rely on strong assumptions, like hands in isolation or expensive multi-camera systems, that limit the practical use. In this work, we propose a framework for hand tracking that can capture the motion of two interacting hands using only a single, inexpensive RGB-D camera. Our approach combines a generative model with collision detection and discriminatively learned salient points. We quantitatively evaluate our approach on 14 new sequences with challenging interactions.

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pdf Supplementary pdf Supplementary Material Project Page DOI Project Page [BibTex]

pdf Supplementary pdf Supplementary Material Project Page DOI Project Page [BibTex]


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OpenDR: An Approximate Differentiable Renderer

Loper, M. M., Black, M. J.

In Computer Vision – ECCV 2014, 8695, pages: 154-169, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, (Editors: D. Fleet and T. Pajdla and B. Schiele and T. Tuytelaars ), Springer International Publishing, 13th European Conference on Computer Vision, September 2014 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Inverse graphics attempts to take sensor data and infer 3D geometry, illumination, materials, and motions such that a graphics renderer could realistically reproduce the observed scene. Renderers, however, are designed to solve the forward process of image synthesis. To go in the other direction, we propose an approximate di fferentiable renderer (DR) that explicitly models the relationship between changes in model parameters and image observations. We describe a publicly available OpenDR framework that makes it easy to express a forward graphics model and then automatically obtain derivatives with respect to the model parameters and to optimize over them. Built on a new autodiff erentiation package and OpenGL, OpenDR provides a local optimization method that can be incorporated into probabilistic programming frameworks. We demonstrate the power and simplicity of programming with OpenDR by using it to solve the problem of estimating human body shape from Kinect depth and RGB data.

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pdf Code Chumpy Supplementary video of talk DOI Project Page [BibTex]

pdf Code Chumpy Supplementary video of talk DOI Project Page [BibTex]


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Discovering Object Classes from Activities

Srikantha, A., Gall, J.

In European Conference on Computer Vision, 8694, pages: 415-430, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, (Editors: D. Fleet and T. Pajdla and B. Schiele and T. Tuytelaars ), Springer International Publishing, 13th European Conference on Computer Vision, September 2014 (inproceedings)

Abstract
In order to avoid an expensive manual labeling process or to learn object classes autonomously without human intervention, object discovery techniques have been proposed that extract visual similar objects from weakly labelled videos. However, the problem of discovering small or medium sized objects is largely unexplored. We observe that videos with activities involving human-object interactions can serve as weakly labelled data for such cases. Since neither object appearance nor motion is distinct enough to discover objects in these videos, we propose a framework that samples from a space of algorithms and their parameters to extract sequences of object proposals. Furthermore, we model similarity of objects based on appearance and functionality, which is derived from human and object motion. We show that functionality is an important cue for discovering objects from activities and demonstrate the generality of the model on three challenging RGB-D and RGB datasets.

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pdf anno poster DOI Project Page [BibTex]

pdf anno poster DOI Project Page [BibTex]


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Probabilistic Progress Bars

Kiefel, M., Schuler, C., Hennig, P.

In Conference on Pattern Recognition (GCPR), 8753, pages: 331-341, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, (Editors: Jiang, X., Hornegger, J., and Koch, R.), Springer, GCPR, September 2014 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Predicting the time at which the integral over a stochastic process reaches a target level is a value of interest in many applications. Often, such computations have to be made at low cost, in real time. As an intuitive example that captures many features of this problem class, we choose progress bars, a ubiquitous element of computer user interfaces. These predictors are usually based on simple point estimators, with no error modelling. This leads to fluctuating behaviour confusing to the user. It also does not provide a distribution prediction (risk values), which are crucial for many other application areas. We construct and empirically evaluate a fast, constant cost algorithm using a Gauss-Markov process model which provides more information to the user.

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website+code pdf DOI [BibTex]

website+code pdf DOI [BibTex]


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Optical Flow Estimation with Channel Constancy

Sevilla-Lara, L., Sun, D., Learned-Miller, E. G., Black, M. J.

In Computer Vision – ECCV 2014, 8689, pages: 423-438, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, (Editors: D. Fleet and T. Pajdla and B. Schiele and T. Tuytelaars ), Springer International Publishing, 13th European Conference on Computer Vision, September 2014 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Large motions remain a challenge for current optical flow algorithms. Traditionally, large motions are addressed using multi-resolution representations like Gaussian pyramids. To deal with large displacements, many pyramid levels are needed and, if an object is small, it may be invisible at the highest levels. To address this we decompose images using a channel representation (CR) and replace the standard brightness constancy assumption with a descriptor constancy assumption. CRs can be seen as an over-segmentation of the scene into layers based on some image feature. If the appearance of a foreground object differs from the background then its descriptor will be different and they will be represented in different layers.We create a pyramid by smoothing these layers, without mixing foreground and background or losing small objects. Our method estimates more accurate flow than the baseline on the MPI-Sintel benchmark, especially for fast motions and near motion boundaries.

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pdf DOI [BibTex]

pdf DOI [BibTex]


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Modeling Blurred Video with Layers

Wulff, J., Black, M. J.

In Computer Vision – ECCV 2014, 8694, pages: 236-252, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, (Editors: D. Fleet and T. Pajdla and B. Schiele and T. Tuytelaars ), Springer International Publishing, 13th European Conference on Computer Vision, September 2014 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Videos contain complex spatially-varying motion blur due to the combination of object motion, camera motion, and depth variation with fi nite shutter speeds. Existing methods to estimate optical flow, deblur the images, and segment the scene fail in such cases. In particular, boundaries between di fferently moving objects cause problems, because here the blurred images are a combination of the blurred appearances of multiple surfaces. We address this with a novel layered model of scenes in motion. From a motion-blurred video sequence, we jointly estimate the layer segmentation and each layer's appearance and motion. Since the blur is a function of the layer motion and segmentation, it is completely determined by our generative model. Given a video, we formulate the optimization problem as minimizing the pixel error between the blurred frames and images synthesized from the model, and solve it using gradient descent. We demonstrate our approach on synthetic and real sequences.

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pdf Supplemental Video Data DOI Project Page Project Page [BibTex]

pdf Supplemental Video Data DOI Project Page Project Page [BibTex]


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Intrinsic Video

Kong, N., Gehler, P. V., Black, M. J.

In Computer Vision – ECCV 2014, 8690, pages: 360-375, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, (Editors: D. Fleet and T. Pajdla and B. Schiele and T. Tuytelaars ), Springer International Publishing, 13th European Conference on Computer Vision, September 2014 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Intrinsic images such as albedo and shading are valuable for later stages of visual processing. Previous methods for extracting albedo and shading use either single images or images together with depth data. Instead, we define intrinsic video estimation as the problem of extracting temporally coherent albedo and shading from video alone. Our approach exploits the assumption that albedo is constant over time while shading changes slowly. Optical flow aids in the accurate estimation of intrinsic video by providing temporal continuity as well as putative surface boundaries. Additionally, we find that the estimated albedo sequence can be used to improve optical flow accuracy in sequences with changing illumination. The approach makes only weak assumptions about the scene and we show that it substantially outperforms existing single-frame intrinsic image methods. We evaluate this quantitatively on synthetic sequences as well on challenging natural sequences with complex geometry, motion, and illumination.

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pdf Supplementary Video DOI Project Page Project Page [BibTex]

pdf Supplementary Video DOI Project Page Project Page [BibTex]


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Automated Detection of New or Evolving Melanocytic Lesions Using a 3D Body Model

Bogo, F., Romero, J., Peserico, E., Black, M. J.

In Medical Image Computing and Computer-Assisted Intervention (MICCAI), 8673, pages: 593-600, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, (Editors: Golland, Polina and Hata, Nobuhiko and Barillot, Christian and Hornegger, Joachim and Howe, Robert), Spring International Publishing, Medical Image Computing and Computer-Assisted Intervention (MICCAI), September 2014 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Detection of new or rapidly evolving melanocytic lesions is crucial for early diagnosis and treatment of melanoma.We propose a fully automated pre-screening system for detecting new lesions or changes in existing ones, on the order of 2 - 3mm, over almost the entire body surface. Our solution is based on a multi-camera 3D stereo system. The system captures 3D textured scans of a subject at diff erent times and then brings these scans into correspondence by aligning them with a learned, parametric, non-rigid 3D body model. This means that captured skin textures are in accurate alignment across scans, facilitating the detection of new or changing lesions. The integration of lesion segmentation with a deformable 3D body model is a key contribution that makes our approach robust to changes in illumination and subject pose.

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pdf Poster DOI Project Page [BibTex]

pdf Poster DOI Project Page [BibTex]


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Tracking using Multilevel Quantizations

Hong, Z., Wang, C., Mei, X., Prokhorov, D., Tao, D.

In Computer Vision – ECCV 2014, 8694, pages: 155-171, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, (Editors: D. Fleet and T. Pajdla and B. Schiele and T. Tuytelaars ), Springer International Publishing, 13th European Conference on Computer Vision, September 2014 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Most object tracking methods only exploit a single quantization of an image space: pixels, superpixels, or bounding boxes, each of which has advantages and disadvantages. It is highly unlikely that a common optimal quantization level, suitable for tracking all objects in all environments, exists. We therefore propose a hierarchical appearance representation model for tracking, based on a graphical model that exploits shared information across multiple quantization levels. The tracker aims to find the most possible position of the target by jointly classifying the pixels and superpixels and obtaining the best configuration across all levels. The motion of the bounding box is taken into consideration, while Online Random Forests are used to provide pixel- and superpixel-level quantizations and progressively updated on-the-fly. By appropriately considering the multilevel quantizations, our tracker exhibits not only excellent performance in non-rigid object deformation handling, but also its robustness to occlusions. A quantitative evaluation is conducted on two benchmark datasets: a non-rigid object tracking dataset (11 sequences) and the CVPR2013 tracking benchmark (50 sequences). Experimental results show that our tracker overcomes various tracking challenges and is superior to a number of other popular tracking methods.

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pdf DOI [BibTex]

pdf DOI [BibTex]


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Human Pose Estimation: New Benchmark and State of the Art Analysis

Andriluka, M., Pishchulin, L., Gehler, P., Schiele, B.

In Proceedings IEEE Conf. on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), pages: 3686 - 3693, IEEE, IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, June 2014 (inproceedings)

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pdf DOI Project Page Project Page Project Page [BibTex]

pdf DOI Project Page Project Page Project Page [BibTex]


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FAUST: Dataset and evaluation for 3D mesh registration

(Dataset Award, Eurographics Symposium on Geometry Processing (SGP), 2016)

Bogo, F., Romero, J., Loper, M., Black, M. J.

In Proceedings IEEE Conf. on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), pages: 3794 -3801, Columbus, Ohio, USA, IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, June 2014 (inproceedings)

Abstract
New scanning technologies are increasing the importance of 3D mesh data and the need for algorithms that can reliably align it. Surface registration is important for building full 3D models from partial scans, creating statistical shape models, shape retrieval, and tracking. The problem is particularly challenging for non-rigid and articulated objects like human bodies. While the challenges of real-world data registration are not present in existing synthetic datasets, establishing ground-truth correspondences for real 3D scans is difficult. We address this with a novel mesh registration technique that combines 3D shape and appearance information to produce high-quality alignments. We define a new dataset called FAUST that contains 300 scans of 10 people in a wide range of poses together with an evaluation methodology. To achieve accurate registration, we paint the subjects with high-frequency textures and use an extensive validation process to ensure accurate ground truth. We find that current shape registration methods have trouble with this real-world data. The dataset and evaluation website are available for research purposes at http://faust.is.tue.mpg.de.

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pdf Video Dataset Poster Talk DOI Project Page Project Page Project Page [BibTex]

pdf Video Dataset Poster Talk DOI Project Page Project Page Project Page [BibTex]


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Model Transport: Towards Scalable Transfer Learning on Manifolds

Freifeld, O., Hauberg, S., Black, M. J.

In Proceedings IEEE Conf. on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), pages: 1378 -1385, Columbus, Ohio, USA, IEEE Intenational Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, June 2014 (inproceedings)

Abstract
We consider the intersection of two research fields: transfer learning and statistics on manifolds. In particular, we consider, for manifold-valued data, transfer learning of tangent-space models such as Gaussians distributions, PCA, regression, or classifiers. Though one would hope to simply use ordinary Rn-transfer learning ideas, the manifold structure prevents it. We overcome this by basing our method on inner-product-preserving parallel transport, a well-known tool widely used in other problems of statistics on manifolds in computer vision. At first, this straightforward idea seems to suffer from an obvious shortcoming: Transporting large datasets is prohibitively expensive, hindering scalability. Fortunately, with our approach, we never transport data. Rather, we show how the statistical models themselves can be transported, and prove that for the tangent-space models above, the transport “commutes” with learning. Consequently, our compact framework, applicable to a large class of manifolds, is not restricted by the size of either the training or test sets. We demonstrate the approach by transferring PCA and logistic-regression models of real-world data involving 3D shapes and image descriptors.

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pdf SupMat Video poster DOI Project Page [BibTex]

pdf SupMat Video poster DOI Project Page [BibTex]


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Robot Arm Pose Estimation through Pixel-Wise Part Classification

Bohg, J., Romero, J., Herzog, A., Schaal, S.

In IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) 2014, pages: 3143-3150, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), June 2014 (inproceedings)

Abstract
We propose to frame the problem of marker-less robot arm pose estimation as a pixel-wise part classification problem. As input, we use a depth image in which each pixel is classified to be either from a particular robot part or the background. The classifier is a random decision forest trained on a large number of synthetically generated and labeled depth images. From all the training samples ending up at a leaf node, a set of offsets is learned that votes for relative joint positions. Pooling these votes over all foreground pixels and subsequent clustering gives us an estimate of the true joint positions. Due to the intrinsic parallelism of pixel-wise classification, this approach can run in super real-time and is more efficient than previous ICP-like methods. We quantitatively evaluate the accuracy of this approach on synthetic data. We also demonstrate that the method produces accurate joint estimates on real data despite being purely trained on synthetic data.

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video code pdf DOI Project Page [BibTex]

video code pdf DOI Project Page [BibTex]


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Efficient Non-linear Markov Models for Human Motion

Lehrmann, A. M., Gehler, P. V., Nowozin, S.

In Proceedings IEEE Conf. on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), pages: 1314-1321, IEEE, IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, June 2014 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Dynamic Bayesian networks such as Hidden Markov Models (HMMs) are successfully used as probabilistic models for human motion. The use of hidden variables makes them expressive models, but inference is only approximate and requires procedures such as particle filters or Markov chain Monte Carlo methods. In this work we propose to instead use simple Markov models that only model observed quantities. We retain a highly expressive dynamic model by using interactions that are nonlinear and non-parametric. A presentation of our approach in terms of latent variables shows logarithmic growth for the computation of exact loglikelihoods in the number of latent states. We validate our model on human motion capture data and demonstrate state-of-the-art performance on action recognition and motion completion tasks.

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Project page pdf DOI Project Page [BibTex]

Project page pdf DOI Project Page [BibTex]


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Grassmann Averages for Scalable Robust PCA

Hauberg, S., Feragen, A., Black, M. J.

In Proceedings IEEE Conf. on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), pages: 3810 -3817, Columbus, Ohio, USA, IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, June 2014 (inproceedings)

Abstract
As the collection of large datasets becomes increasingly automated, the occurrence of outliers will increase – "big data" implies "big outliers". While principal component analysis (PCA) is often used to reduce the size of data, and scalable solutions exist, it is well-known that outliers can arbitrarily corrupt the results. Unfortunately, state-of-the-art approaches for robust PCA do not scale beyond small-to-medium sized datasets. To address this, we introduce the Grassmann Average (GA), which expresses dimensionality reduction as an average of the subspaces spanned by the data. Because averages can be efficiently computed, we immediately gain scalability. GA is inherently more robust than PCA, but we show that they coincide for Gaussian data. We exploit that averages can be made robust to formulate the Robust Grassmann Average (RGA) as a form of robust PCA. Robustness can be with respect to vectors (subspaces) or elements of vectors; we focus on the latter and use a trimmed average. The resulting Trimmed Grassmann Average (TGA) is particularly appropriate for computer vision because it is robust to pixel outliers. The algorithm has low computational complexity and minimal memory requirements, making it scalable to "big noisy data." We demonstrate TGA for background modeling, video restoration, and shadow removal. We show scalability by performing robust PCA on the entire Star Wars IV movie.

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pdf code supplementary material tutorial video results video talk poster DOI Project Page [BibTex]

pdf code supplementary material tutorial video results video talk poster DOI Project Page [BibTex]


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Posebits for Monocular Human Pose Estimation

Pons-Moll, G., Fleet, D. J., Rosenhahn, B.

In Proceedings IEEE Conf. on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), pages: 2345-2352, Columbus, Ohio, USA, IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, June 2014 (inproceedings)

Abstract
We advocate the inference of qualitative information about 3D human pose, called posebits, from images. Posebits represent boolean geometric relationships between body parts (e.g., left-leg in front of right-leg or hands close to each other). The advantages of posebits as a mid-level representation are 1) for many tasks of interest, such qualitative pose information may be sufficient (e.g. , semantic image retrieval), 2) it is relatively easy to annotate large image corpora with posebits, as it simply requires answers to yes/no questions; and 3) they help resolve challenging pose ambiguities and therefore facilitate the difficult talk of image-based 3D pose estimation. We introduce posebits, a posebit database, a method for selecting useful posebits for pose estimation and a structural SVM model for posebit inference. Experiments show the use of posebits for semantic image retrieval and for improving 3D pose estimation.

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pdf Project Page Project Page [BibTex]

pdf Project Page Project Page [BibTex]


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Simultaneous Underwater Visibility Assessment, Enhancement and Improved Stereo

Roser, M., Dunbabin, M., Geiger, A.

IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, pages: 3840 - 3847 , Hong Kong, China, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, June 2014 (conference)

Abstract
Vision-based underwater navigation and obstacle avoidance demands robust computer vision algorithms, particularly for operation in turbid water with reduced visibility. This paper describes a novel method for the simultaneous underwater image quality assessment, visibility enhancement and disparity computation to increase stereo range resolution under dynamic, natural lighting and turbid conditions. The technique estimates the visibility properties from a sparse 3D map of the original degraded image using a physical underwater light attenuation model. Firstly, an iterated distance-adaptive image contrast enhancement enables a dense disparity computation and visibility estimation. Secondly, using a light attenuation model for ocean water, a color corrected stereo underwater image is obtained along with a visibility distance estimate. Experimental results in shallow, naturally lit, high-turbidity coastal environments show the proposed technique improves range estimation over the original images as well as image quality and color for habitat classification. Furthermore, the recursiveness and robustness of the technique allows real-time implementation onboard an Autonomous Underwater Vehicles for improved navigation and obstacle avoidance performance.

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pdf DOI [BibTex]

pdf DOI [BibTex]


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Preserving Modes and Messages via Diverse Particle Selection

Pacheco, J., Zuffi, S., Black, M. J., Sudderth, E.

In Proceedings of the 31st International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML-14), 32(1):1152-1160, J. Machine Learning Research Workshop and Conf. and Proc., Beijing, China, International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML), June 2014 (inproceedings)

Abstract
In applications of graphical models arising in domains such as computer vision and signal processing, we often seek the most likely configurations of high-dimensional, continuous variables. We develop a particle-based max-product algorithm which maintains a diverse set of posterior mode hypotheses, and is robust to initialization. At each iteration, the set of hypotheses at each node is augmented via stochastic proposals, and then reduced via an efficient selection algorithm. The integer program underlying our optimization-based particle selection minimizes errors in subsequent max-product message updates. This objective automatically encourages diversity in the maintained hypotheses, without requiring tuning of application-specific distances among hypotheses. By avoiding the stochastic resampling steps underlying particle sum-product algorithms, we also avoid common degeneracies where particles collapse onto a single hypothesis. Our approach significantly outperforms previous particle-based algorithms in experiments focusing on the estimation of human pose from single images.

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pdf SupMat link (url) Project Page Project Page [BibTex]

pdf SupMat link (url) Project Page Project Page [BibTex]


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Calibrating and Centering Quasi-Central Catadioptric Cameras

Schoenbein, M., Strauss, T., Geiger, A.

IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, pages: 4443 - 4450, Hong Kong, China, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, June 2014 (conference)

Abstract
Non-central catadioptric models are able to cope with irregular camera setups and inaccuracies in the manufacturing process but are computationally demanding and thus not suitable for robotic applications. On the other hand, calibrating a quasi-central (almost central) system with a central model introduces errors due to a wrong relationship between the viewing ray orientations and the pixels on the image sensor. In this paper, we propose a central approximation to quasi-central catadioptric camera systems that is both accurate and efficient. We observe that the distance to points in 3D is typically large compared to deviations from the single viewpoint. Thus, we first calibrate the system using a state-of-the-art non-central camera model. Next, we show that by remapping the observations we are able to match the orientation of the viewing rays of a much simpler single viewpoint model with the true ray orientations. While our approximation is general and applicable to all quasi-central camera systems, we focus on one of the most common cases in practice: hypercatadioptric cameras. We compare our model to a variety of baselines in synthetic and real localization and motion estimation experiments. We show that by using the proposed model we are able to achieve near non-central accuracy while obtaining speed-ups of more than three orders of magnitude compared to state-of-the-art non-central models.

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pdf DOI [BibTex]

pdf DOI [BibTex]


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Probabilistic Solutions to Differential Equations and their Application to Riemannian Statistics

Hennig, P., Hauberg, S.

In Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics, 33, pages: 347-355, JMLR: Workshop and Conference Proceedings, (Editors: S Kaski and J Corander), Microtome Publishing, Brookline, MA, AISTATS, April 2014 (inproceedings)

Abstract
We study a probabilistic numerical method for the solution of both boundary and initial value problems that returns a joint Gaussian process posterior over the solution. Such methods have concrete value in the statistics on Riemannian manifolds, where non-analytic ordinary differential equations are involved in virtually all computations. The probabilistic formulation permits marginalising the uncertainty of the numerical solution such that statistics are less sensitive to inaccuracies. This leads to new Riemannian algorithms for mean value computations and principal geodesic analysis. Marginalisation also means results can be less precise than point estimates, enabling a noticeable speed-up over the state of the art. Our approach is an argument for a wider point that uncertainty caused by numerical calculations should be tracked throughout the pipeline of machine learning algorithms.

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pdf Youtube Supplements Project page link (url) [BibTex]

pdf Youtube Supplements Project page link (url) [BibTex]


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Multi-View Priors for Learning Detectors from Sparse Viewpoint Data

Pepik, B., Stark, M., Gehler, P., Schiele, B.

International Conference on Learning Representations, International Conference on Learning Representations (ICLR), April 2014 (conference)

Abstract
While the majority of today's object class models provide only 2D bounding boxes, far richer output hypotheses are desirable including viewpoint, fine-grained category, and 3D geometry estimate. However, models trained to provide richer output require larger amounts of training data, preferably well covering the relevant aspects such as viewpoint and fine-grained categories. In this paper, we address this issue from the perspective of transfer learning, and design an object class model that explicitly leverages correlations between visual features. Specifically, our model represents prior distributions over permissible multi-view detectors in a parametric way -- the priors are learned once from training data of a source object class, and can later be used to facilitate the learning of a detector for a target class. As we show in our experiments, this transfer is not only beneficial for detectors based on basic-level category representations, but also enables the robust learning of detectors that represent classes at finer levels of granularity, where training data is typically even scarcer and more unbalanced. As a result, we report largely improved performance in simultaneous 2D object localization and viewpoint estimation on a recent dataset of challenging street scenes.

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reviews pdf Project Page [BibTex]

reviews pdf Project Page [BibTex]


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Model-based Anthropometry: Predicting Measurements from 3D Human Scans in Multiple Poses

Tsoli, A., Loper, M., Black, M. J.

In Proceedings Winter Conference on Applications of Computer Vision, pages: 83-90, IEEE , IEEE Winter Conference on Applications of Computer Vision (WACV) , March 2014 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Extracting anthropometric or tailoring measurements from 3D human body scans is important for applications such as virtual try-on, custom clothing, and online sizing. Existing commercial solutions identify anatomical landmarks on high-resolution 3D scans and then compute distances or circumferences on the scan. Landmark detection is sensitive to acquisition noise (e.g. holes) and these methods require subjects to adopt a specific pose. In contrast, we propose a solution we call model-based anthropometry. We fit a deformable 3D body model to scan data in one or more poses; this model-based fitting is robust to scan noise. This brings the scan into registration with a database of registered body scans. Then, we extract features from the registered model (rather than from the scan); these include, limb lengths, circumferences, and statistical features of global shape. Finally, we learn a mapping from these features to measurements using regularized linear regression. We perform an extensive evaluation using the CAESAR dataset and demonstrate that the accuracy of our method outperforms state-of-the-art methods.

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pdf DOI Project Page Project Page [BibTex]

pdf DOI Project Page Project Page [BibTex]


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Probabilistic ODE Solvers with Runge-Kutta Means

Schober, M., Duvenaud, D., Hennig, P.

In Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 27, pages: 739-747, (Editors: Z. Ghahramani, M. Welling, C. Cortes, N.D. Lawrence and K.Q. Weinberger), Curran Associates, Inc., 28th Annual Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS), 2014 (inproceedings)

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Web link (url) [BibTex]

Web link (url) [BibTex]


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Active Learning of Linear Embeddings for Gaussian Processes

Garnett, R., Osborne, M., Hennig, P.

In Proceedings of the 30th Conference on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence, pages: 230-239, (Editors: NL Zhang and J Tian), AUAI Press , Corvallis, Oregon, UAI2014, 2014, another link: http://arxiv.org/abs/1310.6740 (inproceedings)

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PDF Web [BibTex]

PDF Web [BibTex]


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Probabilistic Shortest Path Tractography in DTI Using Gaussian Process ODE Solvers

Schober, M., Kasenburg, N., Feragen, A., Hennig, P., Hauberg, S.

In Medical Image Computing and Computer-Assisted Intervention – MICCAI 2014, Lecture Notes in Computer Science Vol. 8675, pages: 265-272, (Editors: P. Golland, N. Hata, C. Barillot, J. Hornegger and R. Howe), Springer, Heidelberg, MICCAI, 2014 (inproceedings)

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Sampling for Inference in Probabilistic Models with Fast Bayesian Quadrature

Gunter, T., Osborne, M., Garnett, R., Hennig, P., Roberts, S.

In Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 27, pages: 2789-2797, (Editors: Z. Ghahramani, M. Welling, C. Cortes, N.D. Lawrence and K.Q. Weinberger), Curran Associates, Inc., 28th Annual Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS), 2014 (inproceedings)

ei pn

Web link (url) [BibTex]

Web link (url) [BibTex]


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A Self-Tuning LQR Approach Demonstrated on an Inverted Pendulum

Trimpe, S., Millane, A., Doessegger, S., D’Andrea, R.

In Proceedings of the 19th IFAC World Congress, Cape Town, South Africa, 2014 (inproceedings)

am ics

PDF Supplementary material DOI [BibTex]

PDF Supplementary material DOI [BibTex]


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Learning coupling terms for obstacle avoidance

Rai, A., Meier, F., Ijspeert, A., Schaal, S.

In International Conference on Humanoid Robotics, pages: 512-518, IEEE, 2014, clmc (inproceedings)

Abstract
Autonomous manipulation in dynamic environments is important for robots to perform everyday tasks. For this, a manipulator should be capable of interpreting the environment and planning an appropriate movement. At least, two possible approaches exist for this in literature. Usually, a planning system is used to generate a complex movement plan that satisfies all constraints. Alternatively, a simple plan could be chosen and modified with sensory feedback to accommodate additional constraints by equipping the controller with features that remain dormant most of the time, except when specific situations arise. Dynamic Movement Primitives (DMPs) form a robust and versatile starting point for such a controller that can be modified online using a non-linear term, called the coupling term. This can prove to be a fast and reactive way of obstacle avoidance in a human-like fashion. We propose a method to learn this coupling term from human demonstrations starting with simple features and making it more robust to avoid a larger range of obstacles. We test the ability of our coupling term to model different kinds of obstacle avoidance behaviours in humans and use this learnt coupling term to avoid obstacles in a reactive manner. This line of research aims at pushing the boundary of reactive control strategies to more complex scenarios, such that complex and usually computationally more expensive planning methods can be avoided as much as possible.

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link (url) Project Page [BibTex]

link (url) Project Page [BibTex]


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Incremental Local Gaussian Regression

Meier, F., Hennig, P., Schaal, S.

In Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 27, pages: 972-980, (Editors: Z. Ghahramani, M. Welling, C. Cortes, N.D. Lawrence and K.Q. Weinberger), 28th Annual Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS), 2014, clmc (inproceedings)

am ei pn

PDF link (url) [BibTex]

PDF link (url) [BibTex]


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Efficient Bayesian Local Model Learning for Control

Meier, F., Hennig, P., Schaal, S.

In Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, pages: 2244 - 2249, IROS, 2014, clmc (inproceedings)

Abstract
Model-based control is essential for compliant controland force control in many modern complex robots, like humanoidor disaster robots. Due to many unknown and hard tomodel nonlinearities, analytical models of such robots are oftenonly very rough approximations. However, modern optimizationcontrollers frequently depend on reasonably accurate models,and degrade greatly in robustness and performance if modelerrors are too large. For a long time, machine learning hasbeen expected to provide automatic empirical model synthesis,yet so far, research has only generated feasibility studies butno learning algorithms that run reliably on complex robots.In this paper, we combine two promising worlds of regressiontechniques to generate a more powerful regression learningsystem. On the one hand, locally weighted regression techniquesare computationally efficient, but hard to tune due to avariety of data dependent meta-parameters. On the other hand,Bayesian regression has rather automatic and robust methods toset learning parameters, but becomes quickly computationallyinfeasible for big and high-dimensional data sets. By reducingthe complexity of Bayesian regression in the spirit of local modellearning through variational approximations, we arrive at anovel algorithm that is computationally efficient and easy toinitialize for robust learning. Evaluations on several datasetsdemonstrate very good learning performance and the potentialfor a general regression learning tool for robotics.

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PDF link (url) DOI [BibTex]

PDF link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Stability Analysis of Distributed Event-Based State Estimation

Trimpe, S.

In Proceedings of the 53rd IEEE Conference on Decision and Control, Los Angeles, CA, 2014 (inproceedings)

Abstract
An approach for distributed and event-based state estimation that was proposed in previous work [1] is analyzed and extended to practical networked systems in this paper. Multiple sensor-actuator-agents observe a dynamic process, sporadically exchange their measurements over a broadcast network according to an event-based protocol, and estimate the process state from the received data. The event-based approach was shown in [1] to mimic a centralized Luenberger observer up to guaranteed bounds, under the assumption of identical estimates on all agents. This assumption, however, is unrealistic (it is violated by a single packet drop or slight numerical inaccuracy) and removed herein. By means of a simulation example, it is shown that non-identical estimates can actually destabilize the overall system. To achieve stability, the event-based communication scheme is supplemented by periodic (but infrequent) exchange of the agentsâ?? estimates and reset to their joint average. When the local estimates are used for feedback control, the stability guarantee for the estimation problem extends to the event-based control system.

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PDF Supplementary material DOI Project Page [BibTex]

PDF Supplementary material DOI Project Page [BibTex]


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Dual Execution of Optimized Contact Interaction Trajectories

Toussaint, M., Ratliff, N., Bohg, J., Righetti, L., Englert, P., Schaal, S.

In 2014 IEEE/RSJ Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, pages: 47-54, IEEE, Chicago, USA, 2014 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Efficient manipulation requires contact to reduce uncertainty. The manipulation literature refers to this as funneling: a methodology for increasing reliability and robustness by leveraging haptic feedback and control of environmental interaction. However, there is a fundamental gap between traditional approaches to trajectory optimization and this concept of robustness by funneling: traditional trajectory optimizers do not discover force feedback strategies. From a POMDP perspective, these behaviors could be regarded as explicit observation actions planned to sufficiently reduce uncertainty thereby enabling a task. While we are sympathetic to the full POMDP view, solving full continuous-space POMDPs in high-dimensions is hard. In this paper, we propose an alternative approach in which trajectory optimization objectives are augmented with new terms that reward uncertainty reduction through contacts, explicitly promoting funneling. This augmentation shifts the responsibility of robustness toward the actual execution of the optimized trajectories. Directly tracing trajectories through configuration space would lose all robustness-dual execution achieves robustness by devising force controllers to reproduce the temporal interaction profile encoded in the dual solution of the optimization problem. This work introduces dual execution in depth and analyze its performance through robustness experiments in both simulation and on a real-world robotic platform.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Learning and Exploration in a Novel Dimensionality-Reduction Task

Ebert, J, Kim, S, Schweighofer, N., Sternad, D, Schaal, S.

In Abstracts of Neural Control of Movement Conference (NCM 2009), Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2014 (inproceedings)

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[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Balancing experiments on a torque-controlled humanoid with hierarchical inverse dynamics

Herzog, A., Righetti, L., Grimminger, F., Pastor, P., Schaal, S.

In 2014 IEEE/RSJ Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, pages: 981-988, IEEE, Chicago, USA, 2014 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Recently several hierarchical inverse dynamics controllers based on cascades of quadratic programs have been proposed for application on torque controlled robots. They have important theoretical benefits but have never been implemented on a torque controlled robot where model inaccuracies and real-time computation requirements can be problematic. In this contribution we present an experimental evaluation of these algorithms in the context of balance control for a humanoid robot. The presented experiments demonstrate the applicability of the approach under real robot conditions (i.e. model uncertainty, estimation errors, etc). We propose a simplification of the optimization problem that allows us to decrease computation time enough to implement it in a fast torque control loop. We implement a momentum-based balance controller which shows robust performance in face of unknown disturbances, even when the robot is standing on only one foot. In a second experiment, a tracking task is evaluated to demonstrate the performance of the controller with more complicated hierarchies. Our results show that hierarchical inverse dynamics controllers can be used for feedback control of humanoid robots and that momentum-based balance control can be efficiently implemented on a real robot.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Full Dynamics LQR Control of a Humanoid Robot: An Experimental Study on Balancing and Squatting

Mason, S., Righetti, L., Schaal, S.

In 2014 IEEE-RAS International Conference on Humanoid Robots, pages: 374-379, IEEE, Madrid, Spain, 2014 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Humanoid robots operating in human environments require whole-body controllers that can offer precise tracking and well-defined disturbance rejection behavior. In this contribution, we propose an experimental evaluation of a linear quadratic regulator (LQR) using a linearization of the full robot dynamics together with the contact constraints. The advantage of the controller is that it explicitly takes into account the coupling between the different joints to create optimal feedback controllers for whole-body control. We also propose a method to explicitly regulate other tasks of interest, such as the regulation of the center of mass of the robot or its angular momentum. In order to evaluate the performance of linear optimal control designs in a real-world scenario (model uncertainty, sensor noise, imperfect state estimation, etc), we test the controllers in a variety of tracking and balancing experiments on a torque controlled humanoid (e.g. balancing, split plane balancing, squatting, pushes while squatting, and balancing on a wheeled platform). The proposed control framework shows a reliable push recovery behavior competitive with more sophisticated balance controllers, rejecting impulses up to 11.7 Ns with peak forces of 650 N, with the added advantage of great computational simplicity. Furthermore, the controller is able to track squatting trajectories up to 1 Hz without relinearization, suggesting that the linearized dynamics is sufficient for significant ranges of motion.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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State Estimation for a Humanoid Robot

Rotella, N., Bloesch, M., Righetti, L., Schaal, S.

In 2014 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, pages: 952-958, IEEE, Chicago, USA, 2014 (inproceedings)

Abstract
This paper introduces a framework for state estimation on a humanoid robot platform using only common proprioceptive sensors and knowledge of leg kinematics. The presented approach extends that detailed in prior work on a point-foot quadruped platform by adding the rotational constraints imposed by the humanoid's flat feet. As in previous work, the proposed Extended Kalman Filter accommodates contact switching and makes no assumptions about gait or terrain, making it applicable on any humanoid platform for use in any task. A nonlinear observability analysis is performed on both the point-foot and flat-foot filters and it is concluded that the addition of rotational constraints significantly simplifies singular cases and improves the observability characteristics of the system. Results on a simulated walking dataset demonstrate the performance gain of the flat-foot filter as well as confirm the results of the presented observability analysis.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

2007


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Towards Machine Learning of Motor Skills

Peters, J., Schaal, S., Schölkopf, B.

In Proceedings of Autonome Mobile Systeme (AMS), pages: 138-144, (Editors: K Berns and T Luksch), 2007, clmc (inproceedings)

Abstract
Autonomous robots that can adapt to novel situations has been a long standing vision of robotics, artificial intelligence, and cognitive sciences. Early approaches to this goal during the heydays of artificial intelligence research in the late 1980s, however, made it clear that an approach purely based on reasoning or human insights would not be able to model all the perceptuomotor tasks that a robot should fulfill. Instead, new hope was put in the growing wake of machine learning that promised fully adaptive control algorithms which learn both by observation and trial-and-error. However, to date, learning techniques have yet to fulfill this promise as only few methods manage to scale into the high-dimensional domains of manipulator robotics, or even the new upcoming trend of humanoid robotics, and usually scaling was only achieved in precisely pre-structured domains. In this paper, we investigate the ingredients for a general approach to motor skill learning in order to get one step closer towards human-like performance. For doing so, we study two ma jor components for such an approach, i.e., firstly, a theoretically well-founded general approach to representing the required control structures for task representation and execution and, secondly, appropriate learning algorithms which can be applied in this setting.

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PDF DOI [BibTex]

2007


PDF DOI [BibTex]


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Reinforcement Learning for Optimal Control of Arm Movements

Theodorou, E., Peters, J., Schaal, S.

In Abstracts of the 37st Meeting of the Society of Neuroscience., Neuroscience, 2007, clmc (inproceedings)

Abstract
Every day motor behavior consists of a plethora of challenging motor skills from discrete movements such as reaching and throwing to rhythmic movements such as walking, drumming and running. How this plethora of motor skills can be learned remains an open question. In particular, is there any unifying computa-tional framework that could model the learning process of this variety of motor behaviors and at the same time be biologically plausible? In this work we aim to give an answer to these questions by providing a computational framework that unifies the learning mechanism of both rhythmic and discrete movements under optimization criteria, i.e., in a non-supervised trial-and-error fashion. Our suggested framework is based on Reinforcement Learning, which is mostly considered as too costly to be a plausible mechanism for learning com-plex limb movement. However, recent work on reinforcement learning with pol-icy gradients combined with parameterized movement primitives allows novel and more efficient algorithms. By using the representational power of such mo-tor primitives we show how rhythmic motor behaviors such as walking, squash-ing and drumming as well as discrete behaviors like reaching and grasping can be learned with biologically plausible algorithms. Using extensive simulations and by using different reward functions we provide results that support the hy-pothesis that Reinforcement Learning could be a viable candidate for motor learning of human motor behavior when other learning methods like supervised learning are not feasible.

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[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Reinforcement learning by reward-weighted regression for operational space control

Peters, J., Schaal, S.

In Proceedings of the 24th Annual International Conference on Machine Learning, pages: 745-750, ICML, 2007, clmc (inproceedings)

Abstract
Many robot control problems of practical importance, including operational space control, can be reformulated as immediate reward reinforcement learning problems. However, few of the known optimization or reinforcement learning algorithms can be used in online learning control for robots, as they are either prohibitively slow, do not scale to interesting domains of complex robots, or require trying out policies generated by random search, which are infeasible for a physical system. Using a generalization of the EM-base reinforcement learning framework suggested by Dayan & Hinton, we reduce the problem of learning with immediate rewards to a reward-weighted regression problem with an adaptive, integrated reward transformation for faster convergence. The resulting algorithm is efficient, learns smoothly without dangerous jumps in solution space, and works well in applications of complex high degree-of-freedom robots.

am ei

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Policy gradient methods for machine learning

Peters, J., Theodorou, E., Schaal, S.

In Proceedings of the 14th INFORMS Conference of the Applied Probability Society, pages: 97-98, Eindhoven, Netherlands, July 9-11, 2007, 2007, clmc (inproceedings)

Abstract
We present an in-depth survey of policy gradient methods as they are used in the machine learning community for optimizing parameterized, stochastic control policies in Markovian systems with respect to the expected reward. Despite having been developed separately in the reinforcement learning literature, policy gradient methods employ likelihood ratio gradient estimators as also suggested in the stochastic simulation optimization community. It is well-known that this approach to policy gradient estimation traditionally suffers from three drawbacks, i.e., large variance, a strong dependence on baseline functions and a inefficient gradient descent. In this talk, we will present a series of recent results which tackles each of these problems. The variance of the gradient estimation can be reduced significantly through recently introduced techniques such as optimal baselines, compatible function approximations and all-action gradients. However, as even the analytically obtainable policy gradients perform unnaturally slow, it required the step from ÔvanillaÕ policy gradient methods towards natural policy gradients in order to overcome the inefficiency of the gradient descent. This development resulted into the Natural Actor-Critic architecture which can be shown to be very efficient in application to motor primitive learning for robotics.

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[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Policy Learning for Motor Skills

Peters, J., Schaal, S.

In Proceedings of 14th International Conference on Neural Information Processing (ICONIP), pages: 233-242, (Editors: Ishikawa, M. , K. Doya, H. Miyamoto, T. Yamakawa), 2007, clmc (inproceedings)

Abstract
Policy learning which allows autonomous robots to adapt to novel situations has been a long standing vision of robotics, artificial intelligence, and cognitive sciences. However, to date, learning techniques have yet to fulfill this promise as only few methods manage to scale into the high-dimensional domains of manipulator robotics, or even the new upcoming trend of humanoid robotics, and usually scaling was only achieved in precisely pre-structured domains. In this paper, we investigate the ingredients for a general approach policy learning with the goal of an application to motor skill refinement in order to get one step closer towards human-like performance. For doing so, we study two major components for such an approach, i.e., firstly, we study policy learning algorithms which can be applied in the general setting of motor skill learning, and, secondly, we study a theoretically well-founded general approach to representing the required control structures for task representation and execution.

am ei

PDF DOI [BibTex]

PDF DOI [BibTex]


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Reinforcement learning for operational space control

Peters, J., Schaal, S.

In Proceedings of the 2007 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, pages: 2111-2116, IEEE Computer Society, ICRA, 2007, clmc (inproceedings)

Abstract
While operational space control is of essential importance for robotics and well-understood from an analytical point of view, it can be prohibitively hard to achieve accurate control in face of modeling errors, which are inevitable in complex robots, e.g., humanoid robots. In such cases, learning control methods can offer an interesting alternative to analytical control algorithms. However, the resulting supervised learning problem is ill-defined as it requires to learn an inverse mapping of a usually redundant system, which is well known to suffer from the property of non-convexity of the solution space, i.e., the learning system could generate motor commands that try to steer the robot into physically impossible configurations. The important insight that many operational space control algorithms can be reformulated as optimal control problems, however, allows addressing this inverse learning problem in the framework of reinforcement learning. However, few of the known optimization or reinforcement learning algorithms can be used in online learning control for robots, as they are either prohibitively slow, do not scale to interesting domains of complex robots, or require trying out policies generated by random search, which are infeasible for a physical system. Using a generalization of the EM-based reinforcement learning framework suggested by Dayan & Hinton, we reduce the problem of learning with immediate rewards to a reward-weighted regression problem with an adaptive, integrated reward transformation for faster convergence. The resulting algorithm is efficient, learns smoothly without dangerous jumps in solution space, and works well in applications of complex high degree-of-freedom robots.

am ei

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Using reward-weighted regression for reinforcement learning of task space control

Peters, J., Schaal, S.

In Proceedings of the 2007 IEEE International Symposium on Approximate Dynamic Programming and Reinforcement Learning, pages: 262-267, Honolulu, Hawaii, April 1-5, 2007, 2007, clmc (inproceedings)

Abstract
In this paper, we evaluate different versions from the three main kinds of model-free policy gradient methods, i.e., finite difference gradients, `vanilla' policy gradients and natural policy gradients. Each of these methods is first presented in its simple form and subsequently refined and optimized. By carrying out numerous experiments on the cart pole regulator benchmark we aim to provide a useful baseline for future research on parameterized policy search algorithms. Portable C++ code is provided for both plant and algorithms; thus, the results in this paper can be reevaluated, reused and new algorithms can be inserted with ease.

am ei

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Evaluation of Policy Gradient Methods and Variants on the Cart-Pole Benchmark

Riedmiller, M., Peters, J., Schaal, S.

In Proceedings of the 2007 IEEE International Symposium on Approximate Dynamic Programming and Reinforcement Learning, pages: 254-261, ADPRL, 2007, clmc (inproceedings)

Abstract
In this paper, we evaluate different versions from the three main kinds of model-free policy gradient methods, i.e., finite difference gradients, `vanilla' policy gradients and natural policy gradients. Each of these methods is first presented in its simple form and subsequently refined and optimized. By carrying out numerous experiments on the cart pole regulator benchmark we aim to provide a useful baseline for future research on parameterized policy search algorithms. Portable C++ code is provided for both plant and algorithms; thus, the results in this paper can be reevaluated, reused and new algorithms can be inserted with ease.

am ei

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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Uncertain 3D Force Fields in Reaching Movements: Do Humans Favor Robust or Average Performance?

Mistry, M., Theodorou, E., Hoffmann, H., Schaal, S.

In Abstracts of the 37th Meeting of the Society of Neuroscience, 2007, clmc (inproceedings)

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PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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Applying the episodic natural actor-critic architecture to motor primitive learning

Peters, J., Schaal, S.

In Proceedings of the 2007 European Symposium on Artificial Neural Networks (ESANN), Bruges, Belgium, April 25-27, 2007, clmc (inproceedings)

Abstract
In this paper, we investigate motor primitive learning with the Natural Actor-Critic approach. The Natural Actor-Critic consists out of actor updates which are achieved using natural stochastic policy gradients while the critic obtains the natural policy gradient by linear regression. We show that this architecture can be used to learn the Òbuilding blocks of movement generationÓ, called motor primitives. Motor primitives are parameterized control policies such as splines or nonlinear differential equations with desired attractor properties. We show that our most modern algorithm, the Episodic Natural Actor-Critic outperforms previous algorithms by at least an order of magnitude. We demonstrate the efficiency of this reinforcement learning method in the application of learning to hit a baseball with an anthropomorphic robot arm.

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link (url) [BibTex]

link (url) [BibTex]


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A computational model of human trajectory planning based on convergent flow fields

Hoffman, H., Schaal, S.

In Abstracts of the 37st Meeting of the Society of Neuroscience, San Diego, CA, Nov. 3-7, 2007, clmc (inproceedings)

Abstract
A popular computational model suggests that smooth reaching movements are generated in humans by minimizing a difference vector between hand and target in visual coordinates (Shadmehr and Wise, 2005). To achieve such a task, the optimal joint accelerations may be pre-computed. However, this pre-planning is inflexible towards perturbations of the limb, and there is strong evidence that reaching movements can be modified on-line at any moment during the movement. Thus, next-state planning models (Bullock and Grossberg, 1988) have been suggested that compute the current control command from a function of the goal state such that the overall movement smoothly converges to the goal (see Shadmehr and Wise (2005) for an overview). So far, these models have been restricted to simple point-to-point reaching movements with (approximately) straight trajectories. Here, we present a computational model for learning and executing arbitrary trajectories that combines ideas from pattern generation with dynamic systems and the observation of convergent force fields, which control a frog leg after spinal stimulation (Giszter et al., 1993). In our model, we incorporate the following two observations: first, the orientation of vectors in a force field is invariant over time, but their amplitude is modulated by a time-varying function, and second, two force fields add up when stimulated simultaneously (Giszter et al., 1993). This addition of convergent force fields varying over time results in a virtual trajectory (a moving equilibrium point) that correlates with the actual leg movement (Giszter et al., 1993). Our next-state planner is a set of differential equations that provide the desired end-effector or joint accelerations using feedback of the current state of the limb. These accelerations can be interpreted as resulting from a damped spring that links the current limb position with a virtual trajectory. This virtual trajectory can be learned to realize any desired limb trajectory and velocity profile, and learning is efficient since the time-modulated sum of convergent force fields equals a sum of weighted basis functions (Gaussian time pulses). Thus, linear algebra is sufficient to compute these weights, which correspond to points on the virtual trajectory. During movement execution, the differential equation corrects automatically for perturbations and brings back smoothly the limb towards the goal. Virtual trajectories can be rescaled and added allowing to build a set of movement primitives to describe movements more complex than previously learned. We demonstrate the potential of the suggested model by learning and generating a wide variety of movements.

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[BibTex]

[BibTex]