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2018


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Instrumentation, Data, and Algorithms for Visually Understanding Haptic Surface Properties

Burka, A. L.

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA, August 2018, Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering (phdthesis)

Abstract
Autonomous robots need to efficiently walk over varied surfaces and grasp diverse objects. We hypothesize that the association between how such surfaces look and how they physically feel during contact can be learned from a database of matched haptic and visual data recorded from various end-effectors' interactions with hundreds of real-world surfaces. Testing this hypothesis required the creation of a new multimodal sensing apparatus, the collection of a large multimodal dataset, and development of a machine-learning pipeline. This thesis begins by describing the design and construction of the Portable Robotic Optical/Tactile ObservatioN PACKage (PROTONPACK, or Proton for short), an untethered handheld sensing device that emulates the capabilities of the human senses of vision and touch. Its sensory modalities include RGBD vision, egomotion, contact force, and contact vibration. Three interchangeable end-effectors (a steel tooling ball, an OptoForce three-axis force sensor, and a SynTouch BioTac artificial fingertip) allow for different material properties at the contact point and provide additional tactile data. We then detail the calibration process for the motion and force sensing systems, as well as several proof-of-concept surface discrimination experiments that demonstrate the reliability of the device and the utility of the data it collects. This thesis then presents a large-scale dataset of multimodal surface interaction recordings, including 357 unique surfaces such as furniture, fabrics, outdoor fixtures, and items from several private and public material sample collections. Each surface was touched with one, two, or three end-effectors, comprising approximately one minute per end-effector of tapping and dragging at various forces and speeds. We hope that the larger community of robotics researchers will find broad applications for the published dataset. Lastly, we demonstrate an algorithm that learns to estimate haptic surface properties given visual input. Surfaces were rated on hardness, roughness, stickiness, and temperature by the human experimenter and by a pool of purely visual observers. Then we trained an algorithm to perform the same task as well as infer quantitative properties calculated from the haptic data. Overall, the task of predicting haptic properties from vision alone proved difficult for both humans and computers, but a hybrid algorithm using a deep neural network and a support vector machine achieved a correlation between expected and actual regression output between approximately ρ = 0.3 and ρ = 0.5 on previously unseen surfaces.

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Project Page [BibTex]

2018


Project Page [BibTex]


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Robust Visual Augmented Reality in Robot-Assisted Surgery

Forte, M. P.

Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy, July 2018, Department of Electronic, Information, and Biomedical Engineering (mastersthesis)

Abstract
The broader research objective of this line of research is to test the hypothesis that real-time stereo video analysis and augmented reality can increase safety and task efficiency in robot-assisted surgery. This master’s thesis aims to solve the first step needed to achieve this goal: the creation of a robust system that delivers the envisioned feedback to a surgeon while he or she controls a surgical robot that is identical to those used on human patients. Several approaches for applying augmented reality to da Vinci Surgical Systems have been proposed, but none of them entirely rely on a clinical robot; specifically, they require additional sensors, depend on access to the da Vinci API, are designed for a very specific task, or were tested on systems that are starkly different from those in clinical use. There has also been prior work that presents the real-world camera view and the computer graphics on separate screens, or not in real time. In other scenarios, the digital information is overlaid manually by the surgeons themselves or by computer scientists, rather than being generated automatically in response to the surgeon’s actions. We attempted to overcome the aforementioned constraints by acquiring input signals from the da Vinci stereo endoscope and providing augmented reality to the console in real time (less than 150 ms delay, including the 62 ms of inherent latency of the da Vinci). The potential benefits of the resulting system are broad because it was built to be general, rather than customized for any specific task. The entire platform is compatible with any generation of the da Vinci System and does not require a dVRK (da Vinci Research Kit) or access to the API. Thus, it can be applied to existing da Vinci Systems in operating rooms around the world.

hi

Project Page [BibTex]

Project Page [BibTex]


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Colloidal Chemical Nanomotors

Alarcon-Correa, M.

Colloidal Chemical Nanomotors, pages: 150, Cuvillier Verlag, MPI-IS , June 2018 (phdthesis)

Abstract
Synthetic sophisticated nanostructures represent a fundamental building block for the development of nanotechnology. The fabrication of nanoparticles complex in structure and material composition is key to build nanomachines that can operate as man-made nanoscale motors, which autonomously convert external energy into motion. To achieve this, asymmetric nanoparticles were fabricated combining a physical vapor deposition technique known as NanoGLAD and wet chemical synthesis. This thesis primarily concerns three complex colloidal systems that have been developed: i)Hollow nanocup inclusion complexes that have a single Au nanoparticle in their pocket. The Au particle can be released with an external trigger. ii)The smallest self-propelling nanocolloids that have been made to date, which give rise to a local concentration gradient that causes enhanced diffusion of the particles. iii)Enzyme-powered pumps that have been assembled using bacteriophages as biological nanoscaffolds. This construct also can be used for enzyme recovery after heterogeneous catalysis.

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[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Model-based Optical Flow: Layers, Learning, and Geometry

Wulff, J.

Tuebingen University, April 2018 (phdthesis)

Abstract
The estimation of motion in video sequences establishes temporal correspondences between pixels and surfaces and allows reasoning about a scene using multiple frames. Despite being a focus of research for over three decades, computing motion, or optical flow, remains challenging due to a number of difficulties, including the treatment of motion discontinuities and occluded regions, and the integration of information from more than two frames. One reason for these issues is that most optical flow algorithms only reason about the motion of pixels on the image plane, while not taking the image formation pipeline or the 3D structure of the world into account. One approach to address this uses layered models, which represent the occlusion structure of a scene and provide an approximation to the geometry. The goal of this dissertation is to show ways to inject additional knowledge about the scene into layered methods, making them more robust, faster, and more accurate. First, this thesis demonstrates the modeling power of layers using the example of motion blur in videos, which is caused by fast motion relative to the exposure time of the camera. Layers segment the scene into regions that move coherently while preserving their occlusion relationships. The motion of each layer therefore directly determines its motion blur. At the same time, the layered model captures complex blur overlap effects at motion discontinuities. Using layers, we can thus formulate a generative model for blurred video sequences, and use this model to simultaneously deblur a video and compute accurate optical flow for highly dynamic scenes containing motion blur. Next, we consider the representation of the motion within layers. Since, in a layered model, important motion discontinuities are captured by the segmentation into layers, the flow within each layer varies smoothly and can be approximated using a low dimensional subspace. We show how this subspace can be learned from training data using principal component analysis (PCA), and that flow estimation using this subspace is computationally efficient. The combination of the layered model and the low-dimensional subspace gives the best of both worlds, sharp motion discontinuities from the layers and computational efficiency from the subspace. Lastly, we show how layered methods can be dramatically improved using simple semantics. Instead of treating all layers equally, a semantic segmentation divides the scene into its static parts and moving objects. Static parts of the scene constitute a large majority of what is shown in typical video sequences; yet, in such regions optical flow is fully constrained by the depth structure of the scene and the camera motion. After segmenting out moving objects, we consider only static regions, and explicitly reason about the structure of the scene and the camera motion, yielding much better optical flow estimates. Furthermore, computing the structure of the scene allows to better combine information from multiple frames, resulting in high accuracies even in occluded regions. For moving regions, we compute the flow using a generic optical flow method, and combine it with the flow computed for the static regions to obtain a full optical flow field. By combining layered models of the scene with reasoning about the dynamic behavior of the real, three-dimensional world, the methods presented herein push the envelope of optical flow computation in terms of robustness, speed, and accuracy, giving state-of-the-art results on benchmarks and pointing to important future research directions for the estimation of motion in natural scenes.

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Official link DOI Project Page [BibTex]


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Detailed Dense Inference with Convolutional Neural Networks via Discrete Wavelet Transform

Ma, L., Stueckler, J., Wu, T., Cremers, D.

arxiv, 2018, arXiv:1808.01834 (techreport)

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[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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A virtual reality environment for experiments in assistive robotics and neural interfaces

Bustamante, S.

Graduate School of Neural Information Processing, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany, 2018 (mastersthesis)

ei

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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Optimal Trajectory Generation and Learning Control for Robot Table Tennis

Koc, O.

Technical University Darmstadt, Germany, 2018 (phdthesis)

ei

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Distribution-Dissimilarities in Machine Learning

Simon-Gabriel, C. J.

Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany, 2018 (phdthesis)

ei

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Domain Adaptation Under Causal Assumptions

Lechner, T.

Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany, 2018 (mastersthesis)

ei

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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A Causal Perspective on Deep Representation Learning

Suter, R.

ETH Zurich, 2018 (mastersthesis)

ei

[BibTex]


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Probabilistic Approaches to Stochastic Optimization

Mahsereci, M.

Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany, 2018 (phdthesis)

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link (url) Project Page [BibTex]

link (url) Project Page [BibTex]


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Reinforcement Learning for High-Speed Robotics with Muscular Actuation

Guist, S.

Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg , 2018 (mastersthesis)

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[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Probabilistic Ordinary Differential Equation Solvers — Theory and Applications

Schober, M.

Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany, 2018 (phdthesis)

ei pn

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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A machine learning approach to taking EEG-based computer interfaces out of the lab

Jayaram, V.

Graduate Training Centre of Neuroscience, IMPRS, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany, 2018 (phdthesis)

ei

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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XMCD investigations on new hard magnetic systems

Chen, Y.

Universität Stuttgart, Stuttgart, 2018 (phdthesis)

mms

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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High-Resolution X-ray Ptychography for Magnetic Imaging

Bykova, I.

Universität Stuttgart, Stuttgart, 2018 (phdthesis)

mms

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

2013


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Camera-specific Image Denoising

Schober, M.

Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany, October 2013 (diplomathesis)

ei pn

PDF [BibTex]

2013


PDF [BibTex]


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Puppet Flow

Zuffi, S., Black, M. J.

(7), Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, October 2013 (techreport)

Abstract
We introduce Puppet Flow (PF), a layered model describing the optical flow of a person in a video sequence. We consider video frames composed by two layers: a foreground layer corresponding to a person, and background. We model the background as an affine flow field. The foreground layer, being a moving person, requires reasoning about the articulated nature of the human body. We thus represent the foreground layer with the Deformable Structures model (DS), a parametrized 2D part-based human body representation. We call the motion field defined through articulated motion and deformation of the DS model, a Puppet Flow. By exploiting the DS representation, Puppet Flow is a parametrized optical flow field, where parameters are the person's pose, gender and body shape.

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pdf Project Page Project Page [BibTex]

pdf Project Page Project Page [BibTex]


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Statistics on Manifolds with Applications to Modeling Shape Deformations

Freifeld, O.

Brown University, August 2013 (phdthesis)

Abstract
Statistical models of non-rigid deformable shape have wide application in many fi elds, including computer vision, computer graphics, and biometry. We show that shape deformations are well represented through nonlinear manifolds that are also matrix Lie groups. These pattern-theoretic representations lead to several advantages over other alternatives, including a principled measure of shape dissimilarity and a natural way to compose deformations. Moreover, they enable building models using statistics on manifolds. Consequently, such models are superior to those based on Euclidean representations. We demonstrate this by modeling 2D and 3D human body shape. Shape deformations are only one example of manifold-valued data. More generally, in many computer-vision and machine-learning problems, nonlinear manifold representations arise naturally and provide a powerful alternative to Euclidean representations. Statistics is traditionally concerned with data in a Euclidean space, relying on the linear structure and the distances associated with such a space; this renders it inappropriate for nonlinear spaces. Statistics can, however, be generalized to nonlinear manifolds. Moreover, by respecting the underlying geometry, the statistical models result in not only more e ffective analysis but also consistent synthesis. We go beyond previous work on statistics on manifolds by showing how, even on these curved spaces, problems related to modeling a class from scarce data can be dealt with by leveraging information from related classes residing in di fferent regions of the space. We show the usefulness of our approach with 3D shape deformations. To summarize our main contributions: 1) We de fine a new 2D articulated model -- more expressive than traditional ones -- of deformable human shape that factors body-shape, pose, and camera variations. Its high realism is obtained from training data generated from a detailed 3D model. 2) We defi ne a new manifold-based representation of 3D shape deformations that yields statistical deformable-template models that are better than the current state-of-the- art. 3) We generalize a transfer learning idea from Euclidean spaces to Riemannian manifolds. This work demonstrates the value of modeling manifold-valued data and their statistics explicitly on the manifold. Specifi cally, the methods here provide new tools for shape analysis.

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pdf Project Page [BibTex]


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Learning and Optimization with Submodular Functions

Sankaran, B., Ghazvininejad, M., He, X., Kale, D., Cohen, L.

ArXiv, May 2013 (techreport)

Abstract
In many naturally occurring optimization problems one needs to ensure that the definition of the optimization problem lends itself to solutions that are tractable to compute. In cases where exact solutions cannot be computed tractably, it is beneficial to have strong guarantees on the tractable approximate solutions. In order operate under these criterion most optimization problems are cast under the umbrella of convexity or submodularity. In this report we will study design and optimization over a common class of functions called submodular functions. Set functions, and specifically submodular set functions, characterize a wide variety of naturally occurring optimization problems, and the property of submodularity of set functions has deep theoretical consequences with wide ranging applications. Informally, the property of submodularity of set functions concerns the intuitive principle of diminishing returns. This property states that adding an element to a smaller set has more value than adding it to a larger set. Common examples of submodular monotone functions are entropies, concave functions of cardinality, and matroid rank functions; non-monotone examples include graph cuts, network flows, and mutual information. In this paper we will review the formal definition of submodularity; the optimization of submodular functions, both maximization and minimization; and finally discuss some applications in relation to learning and reasoning using submodular functions.

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arxiv link (url) [BibTex]

arxiv link (url) [BibTex]


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A Quantitative Analysis of Current Practices in Optical Flow Estimation and the Principles Behind Them

Sun, D., Roth, S., Black, M. J.

(CS-10-03), Brown University, Department of Computer Science, January 2013 (techreport)

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pdf [BibTex]

pdf [BibTex]


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Modelling and Learning Approaches to Image Denoising

Burger, HC.

Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany, 2013 (phdthesis)

ei

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Animating Samples from Gaussian Distributions

Hennig, P.

(8), Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Tübingen, Germany, 2013 (techreport)

ei pn

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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Linear mixed models for genome-wide association studies

Lippert, C.

University of Tübingen, Germany, 2013 (phdthesis)

ei

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Maximizing Kepler science return per telemetered pixel: Detailed models of the focal plane in the two-wheel era

Hogg, D. W., Angus, R., Barclay, T., Dawson, R., Fergus, R., Foreman-Mackey, D., Harmeling, S., Hirsch, M., Lang, D., Montet, B. T., Schiminovich, D., Schölkopf, B.

arXiv:1309.0653, 2013 (techreport)

ei

link (url) [BibTex]

link (url) [BibTex]


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Maximizing Kepler science return per telemetered pixel: Searching the habitable zones of the brightest stars

Montet, B. T., Angus, R., Barclay, T., Dawson, R., Fergus, R., Foreman-Mackey, D., Harmeling, S., Hirsch, M., Hogg, D. W., Lang, D., Schiminovich, D., Schölkopf, B.

arXiv:1309.0654, 2013 (techreport)

ei

link (url) [BibTex]

link (url) [BibTex]


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Modeling and Learning Complex Motor Tasks: A case study on Robot Table Tennis

Mülling, K.

Technical University Darmstadt, Germany, 2013 (phdthesis)

ei

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Intention Inference and Decision Making with Hierarchical Gaussian Process Dynamics Models

Wang, Z.

Technical University Darmstadt, Germany, 2013 (phdthesis)

ei

[BibTex]


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Quantum kinetic theory for demagnetization after femtosecond laser pulses

Teeny, N.

Universität Stuttgart, Stuttgart, 2013 (mastersthesis)

mms

[BibTex]

[BibTex]

2006


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Minimal Logical Constraint Covering Sets

Sinz, F., Schölkopf, B.

(155), Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen, December 2006 (techreport)

Abstract
We propose a general framework for computing minimal set covers under class of certain logical constraints. The underlying idea is to transform the problem into a mathematical programm under linear constraints. In this sense it can be seen as a natural extension of the vector quantization algorithm proposed by Tipping and Schoelkopf. We show which class of logical constraints can be cast and relaxed into linear constraints and give an algorithm for the transformation.

ei

PDF [BibTex]

2006


PDF [BibTex]


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New Methods for the P300 Visual Speller

Biessmann, F.

(1), (Editors: Hill, J. ), Max-Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen, Germany, November 2006 (techreport)

ei

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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Geometric Analysis of Hilbert Schmidt Independence criterion based ICA contrast function

Shen, H., Jegelka, S., Gretton, A.

(PA006080), National ICT Australia, Canberra, Australia, October 2006 (techreport)

ei

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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A tutorial on spectral clustering

von Luxburg, U.

(149), Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen, August 2006 (techreport)

Abstract
In recent years, spectral clustering has become one of the most popular modern clustering algorithms. It is simple to implement, can be solved efficiently by standard linear algebra software, and very often outperforms traditional clustering algorithms such as the k-means algorithm. Nevertheless, on the first glance spectral clustering looks a bit mysterious, and it is not obvious to see why it works at all and what it really does. This article is a tutorial introduction to spectral clustering. We describe different graph Laplacians and their basic properties, present the most common spectral clustering algorithms, and derive those algorithms from scratch by several different approaches. Advantages and disadvantages of the different spectral clustering algorithms are discussed.

ei

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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Towards the Inference of Graphs on Ordered Vertexes

Zien, A., Raetsch, G., Ong, C.

(150), Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen, August 2006 (techreport)

Abstract
We propose novel methods for machine learning of structured output spaces. Specifically, we consider outputs which are graphs with vertices that have a natural order. We consider the usual adjacency matrix representation of graphs, as well as two other representations for such a graph: (a) decomposing the graph into a set of paths, (b) converting the graph into a single sequence of nodes with labeled edges. For each of the three representations, we propose an encoding and decoding scheme. We also propose an evaluation measure for comparing two graphs.

ei

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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An Automated Combination of Sequence Motif Kernels for Predicting Protein Subcellular Localization

Zien, A., Ong, C.

(146), Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen, April 2006 (techreport)

Abstract
Protein subcellular localization is a crucial ingredient to many important inferences about cellular processes, including prediction of protein function and protein interactions. While many predictive computational tools have been proposed, they tend to have complicated architectures and require many design decisions from the developer. We propose an elegant and fully automated approach to building a prediction system for protein subcellular localization. We propose a new class of protein sequence kernels which considers all motifs including motifs with gaps. This class of kernels allows the inclusion of pairwise amino acid distances into their computation. We further propose a multiclass support vector machine method which directly solves protein subcellular localization without resorting to the common approach of splitting the problem into several binary classification problems. To automatically search over families of possible amino acid motifs, we generalize our method to optimize over multiple kernels at the same time. We compare our automated approach to four other predictors on three different datasets.

ei

PDF Web [BibTex]

PDF Web [BibTex]


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Training a Support Vector Machine in the Primal

Chapelle, O.

(147), Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen, April 2006, The version in the "Large Scale Kernel Machines" book is more up to date. (techreport)

Abstract
Most literature on Support Vector Machines (SVMs) concentrate on the dual optimization problem. In this paper, we would like to point out that the primal problem can also be solved efficiently, both for linear and non-linear SVMs, and there is no reason for ignoring it. Moreover, from the primal point of view, new families of algorithms for large scale SVM training can be investigated.

ei

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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Kernel PCA for Image Compression

Huhle, B.

Biologische Kybernetik, Eberhard-Karls-Universität, Tübingen, Germany, April 2006 (diplomathesis)

ei

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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Gaussian Process Models for Robust Regression, Classification, and Reinforcement Learning

Kuss, M.

Biologische Kybernetik, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Darmstadt, Germany, March 2006, passed with distinction, published online (phdthesis)

ei

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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Cross-Validation Optimization for Structured Hessian Kernel Methods

Seeger, M., Chapelle, O.

Max-Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen, Germany, February 2006 (techreport)

Abstract
We address the problem of learning hyperparameters in kernel methods for which the Hessian of the objective is structured. We propose an approximation to the cross-validation log likelihood whose gradient can be computed analytically, solving the hyperparameter learning problem efficiently through nonlinear optimization. Crucially, our learning method is based entirely on matrix-vector multiplication primitives with the kernel matrices and their derivatives, allowing straightforward specialization to new kernels or to large datasets. When applied to the problem of multi-way classification, our method scales linearly in the number of classes and gives rise to state-of-the-art results on a remote imaging task.

ei

PDF Web [BibTex]

PDF Web [BibTex]


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Statistical Learning of LQG controllers

Theodorou, E.

Technical Report-2006-1, Computational Action and Vision Lab University of Minnesota, 2006, clmc (techreport)

am

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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Elektronentheorie der magnetischen EXAFS

Gü\ssmann, M.

Universität Stuttgart, Stuttgart, 2006 (mastersthesis)

mms

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Elektronenspektroskopie an Übergangsmetallclustern

He\ssler, M.

Bayerische Julius-Maximilians-Universität, Würzburg, 2006 (phdthesis)

mms

[BibTex]

[BibTex]