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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)

ei

[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]

2010


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Computationally efficient algorithms for statistical image processing: Implementation in R

Langovoy, M., Wittich, O.

(2010-053), EURANDOM, Technische Universiteit Eindhoven, December 2010 (techreport)

Abstract
In the series of our earlier papers on the subject, we proposed a novel statistical hy- pothesis testing method for detection of objects in noisy images. The method uses results from percolation theory and random graph theory. We developed algorithms that allowed to detect objects of unknown shapes in the presence of nonparametric noise of unknown level and of un- known distribution. No boundary shape constraints were imposed on the objects, only a weak bulk condition for the object's interior was required. Our algorithms have linear complexity and exponential accuracy. In the present paper, we describe an implementation of our nonparametric hypothesis testing method. We provide a program that can be used for statistical experiments in image processing. This program is written in the statistical programming language R.

ei

PDF [BibTex]

2010


PDF [BibTex]


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Fast Convergent Algorithms for Expectation Propagation Approximate Bayesian Inference

Seeger, M., Nickisch, H.

Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, December 2010 (techreport)

Abstract
We propose a novel algorithm to solve the expectation propagation relaxation of Bayesian inference for continuous-variable graphical models. In contrast to most previous algorithms, our method is provably convergent. By marrying convergent EP ideas from (Opper&Winther 05) with covariance decoupling techniques (Wipf&Nagarajan 08, Nickisch&Seeger 09), it runs at least an order of magnitude faster than the most commonly used EP solver.

ei

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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Bayesian Inference and Experimental Design for Large Generalised Linear Models

Nickisch, H.

Biologische Kybernetik, Technische Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany, September 2010 (phdthesis)

ei

PDF Web [BibTex]

PDF Web [BibTex]


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A PAC-Bayesian Analysis of Graph Clustering and Pairwise Clustering

Seldin, Y.

Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen, Germany, September 2010 (techreport)

Abstract
We formulate weighted graph clustering as a prediction problem: given a subset of edge weights we analyze the ability of graph clustering to predict the remaining edge weights. This formulation enables practical and theoretical comparison of different approaches to graph clustering as well as comparison of graph clustering with other possible ways to model the graph. We adapt the PAC-Bayesian analysis of co-clustering (Seldin and Tishby, 2008; Seldin, 2009) to derive a PAC-Bayesian generalization bound for graph clustering. The bound shows that graph clustering should optimize a trade-off between empirical data fit and the mutual information that clusters preserve on the graph nodes. A similar trade-off derived from information-theoretic considerations was already shown to produce state-of-the-art results in practice (Slonim et al., 2005; Yom-Tov and Slonim, 2009). This paper supports the empirical evidence by providing a better theoretical foundation, suggesting formal generalization guarantees, and offering a more accurate way to deal with finite sample issues. We derive a bound minimization algorithm and show that it provides good results in real-life problems and that the derived PAC-Bayesian bound is reasonably tight.

ei

PDF Web [BibTex]

PDF Web [BibTex]


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Sparse nonnegative matrix approximation: new formulations and algorithms

Tandon, R., Sra, S.

(193), Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen, Germany, September 2010 (techreport)

Abstract
We introduce several new formulations for sparse nonnegative matrix approximation. Subsequently, we solve these formulations by developing generic algorithms. Further, to help selecting a particular sparse formulation, we briefly discuss the interpretation of each formulation. Finally, preliminary experiments are presented to illustrate the behavior of our formulations and algorithms.

ei

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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Robust nonparametric detection of objects in noisy images

Langovoy, M., Wittich, O.

(2010-049), EURANDOM, Technische Universiteit Eindhoven, September 2010 (techreport)

Abstract
We propose a novel statistical hypothesis testing method for detection of objects in noisy images. The method uses results from percolation theory and random graph theory. We present an algorithm that allows to detect objects of unknown shapes in the presence of nonparametric noise of unknown level and of unknown distribution. No boundary shape constraints are imposed on the object, only a weak bulk condition for the object's interior is required. The algorithm has linear complexity and exponential accuracy and is appropriate for real-time systems. In this paper, we develop further the mathematical formalism of our method and explore im- portant connections to the mathematical theory of percolation and statistical physics. We prove results on consistency and algorithmic complexity of our testing procedure. In addition, we address not only an asymptotic behavior of the method, but also a nite sample performance of our test.

ei

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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Large Scale Variational Inference and Experimental Design for Sparse Generalized Linear Models

Seeger, M., Nickisch, H.

Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, August 2010 (techreport)

Abstract
Many problems of low-level computer vision and image processing, such as denoising, deconvolution, tomographic reconstruction or super-resolution, can be addressed by maximizing the posterior distribution of a sparse linear model (SLM). We show how higher-order Bayesian decision-making problems, such as optimizing image acquisition in magnetic resonance scanners, can be addressed by querying the SLM posterior covariance, unrelated to the density's mode. We propose a scalable algorithmic framework, with which SLM posteriors over full, high-resolution images can be approximated for the first time, solving a variational optimization problem which is convex iff posterior mode finding is convex. These methods successfully drive the optimization of sampling trajectories for real-world magnetic resonance imaging through Bayesian experimental design, which has not been attempted before. Our methodology provides new insight into similarities and differences between sparse reconstruction and approximate Bayesian inference, and has important implications for compressive sensing of real-world images.

ei

Web [BibTex]


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Cooperative Cuts for Image Segmentation

Jegelka, S., Bilmes, J.

(UWEETR-1020-0003), University of Washington, Washington DC, USA, August 2010 (techreport)

Abstract
We propose a novel framework for graph-based cooperative regularization that uses submodular costs on graph edges. We introduce an efficient iterative algorithm to solve the resulting hard discrete optimization problem, and show that it has a guaranteed approximation factor. The edge-submodular formulation is amenable to the same extensions as standard graph cut approaches, and applicable to a range of problems. We apply this method to the image segmentation problem. Specifically, Here, we apply it to introduce a discount for homogeneous boundaries in binary image segmentation on very difficult images, precisely, long thin objects and color and grayscale images with a shading gradient. The experiments show that significant portions of previously truncated objects are now preserved.

ei

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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Inferring High-Dimensional Causal Relations using Free Probability Theory

Zscheischler, J.

Humboldt Universität Berlin, Germany, August 2010 (diplomathesis)

ei

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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Fast algorithms for total-variationbased optimization

Barbero, A., Sra, S.

(194), Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen, Germany, August 2010 (techreport)

Abstract
We derive a number of methods to solve efficiently simple optimization problems subject to a totalvariation (TV) regularization, under different norms of the TV operator and both for the case of 1-dimensional and 2-dimensional data. In spite of the non-smooth, non-separable nature of the TV terms considered, we show that a dual formulation with strong structure can be derived. Taking advantage of this structure we develop adaptions of existing algorithms from the optimization literature, resulting in efficient methods for the problem at hand. Experimental results show that for 1-dimensional data the proposed methods achieve convergence within good accuracy levels in practically linear time, both for L1 and L2 norms. For the more challenging 2-dimensional case a performance of order O(N2 log2 N) for N x N inputs is achieved when using the L2 norm. A final section suggests possible extensions and lines of further work.

ei

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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Semi-supervised Subspace Learning and Application to Human Functional Magnetic Brain Resonance Imaging Data

Shelton, J.

Biologische Kybernetik, Eberhard Karls Universität, Tübingen, Germany, July 2010 (diplomathesis)

ei

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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Gaussian Mixture Modeling with Gaussian Process Latent Variable Models

Nickisch, H., Rasmussen, C.

Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, June 2010 (techreport)

Abstract
Density modeling is notoriously difficult for high dimensional data. One approach to the problem is to search for a lower dimensional manifold which captures the main characteristics of the data. Recently, the Gaussian Process Latent Variable Model (GPLVM) has successfully been used to find low dimensional manifolds in a variety of complex data. The GPLVM consists of a set of points in a low dimensional latent space, and a stochastic map to the observed space. We show how it can be interpreted as a density model in the observed space. However, the GPLVM is not trained as a density model and therefore yields bad density estimates. We propose a new training strategy and obtain improved generalisation performance and better density estimates in comparative evaluations on several benchmark data sets.

ei

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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Generalized Proximity and Projection with Norms and Mixed-norms

Sra, S.

(192), Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen, Germany, May 2010 (techreport)

Abstract
We discuss generalized proximity operators (GPO) and their associated generalized projection problems. On inputs of size n, we show how to efficiently apply GPOs and generalized projections for separable norms and distance-like functions to accuracy e in O(n log(1/e)) time. We also derive projection algorithms that run theoretically in O(n log n log(1/e)) time but can for suitable parameter ranges empirically outperform the O(n log(1/e)) projection method. The proximity and projection tasks are either separable, and solved directly, or are reduced to a single root-finding step. We highlight that as a byproduct, our analysis also yields an O(n log(1/e)) (weakly linear-time) procedure for Euclidean projections onto the l1;1-norm ball; previously only an O(n log n) method was known. We provide empirical evaluation to illustrate the performance of our methods, noting that for the l1;1-norm projection, our implementation is more than two orders of magnitude faster than the previously known method.

ei

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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Cooperative Cuts: Graph Cuts with Submodular Edge Weights

Jegelka, S., Bilmes, J.

(189), Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tuebingen, Germany, March 2010 (techreport)

Abstract
We introduce a problem we call Cooperative cut, where the goal is to find a minimum-cost graph cut but where a submodular function is used to define the cost of a subsets of edges. That means, the cost of an edge that is added to the current cut set C depends on the edges in C. This generalization of the cost in the standard min-cut problem to a submodular cost function immediately makes the problem harder. Not only do we prove NP hardness even for nonnegative submodular costs, but also show a lower bound of Omega(|V|^(1/3)) on the approximation factor for the problem. On the positive side, we propose and compare four approximation algorithms with an overall approximation factor of min { |V|/2, |C*|, O( sqrt(|E|) log |V|), |P_max|}, where C* is the optimal solution, and P_max is the longest s, t path across the cut between given s, t. We also introduce additional heuristics for the problem which have attractive properties from the perspective of practical applications and implementations in that existing fast min-cut libraries may be used as subroutines. Both our approximation algorithms, and our heuristics, appear to do well in practice.

ei

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]


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Quantitative Evaluation of MR-based Attenuation Correction for Positron Emission Tomography (PET)

Mantlik, F.

Biologische Kybernetik, Universität Mannheim, Germany, March 2010 (diplomathesis)

ei

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Finding Gene-Gene Interactions using Support Vector Machines

Rakitsch, B.

Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany, 2010 (diplomathesis)

ei

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Accurate Prediction of Protein-Coding Genes with Discriminative Learning Techniques

Schweikert, G.

Technische Universität Berlin, Germany, 2010 (phdthesis)

ei

[BibTex]


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Structural and Relational Data Mining for Systems Biology Applications

Georgii, E.

Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany , 2010 (phdthesis)

ei

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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Population Coding in the Visual System: Statistical Methods and Theory

Macke, J.

Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany, 2010 (phdthesis)

ei

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Bayesian Methods for Neural Data Analysis

Gerwinn, S.

Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany, 2010 (phdthesis)

ei

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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Clustering with Neighborhood Graphs

Maier, M.

Universität des Saarlandes, Saarbrücken, Germany, 2010 (phdthesis)

ei

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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Information-theoretic inference of common ancestors

Steudel, B., Ay, N.

Computing Research Repository (CoRR), abs/1010.5720, pages: 18, 2010 (techreport)

ei

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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Detecting the mincut in sparse random graphs

Köhler, R.

Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany, 2010 (diplomathesis)

ei

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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A wider view on encoding and decoding in the visual brain-computer interface speller system

Martens, S.

Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany, 2010 (phdthesis)

ei

[BibTex]


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Goal-Oriented Control of Self-Organizing Behavior in Autonomous Robots

Martius, G.

Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, 2010 (phdthesis)

al

link (url) [BibTex]


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Statics and dynamics of simple fluids on chemically patterned substrates

Dörfler, F.

Universität Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany, 2010 (phdthesis)

mms

link (url) [BibTex]

link (url) [BibTex]