The purpose of this thesis is the study of non-parametric models for structured data and their fields of application in computer vision. We aim at the development of context-sensitive architectures which are both expressive and efficient. Our focus is on directed graphical models, in particular Bayesian networks, where we combine the flexibility of non-parametric local distributions with the efficiency of a global topology with bounded treewidth. A bound on the treewidth is obtained by either constraining the maximum indegree of the underlying graph structure or by introducing determinism. The non-parametric distributions in the nodes of the graph are given by decision trees or kernel density estimators.
The information flow implied by specific network topologies, especially the resultant (conditional) independencies, allows for a natural integration and control of contextual information. We distinguish between three different types of context: static, dynamic, and semantic. In four different approaches we propose models which exhibit varying combinations of these contextual properties and allow modeling of structured data in space, time, and hierarchies derived thereof. The generative character of the presented models enables a direct synthesis of plausible hypotheses.
Extensive experiments validate the developed models in two application scenarios which are of particular interest in computer vision: human bodies and natural scenes. In the practical sections of this work we discuss both areas from different angles and show applications of our models to human pose, motion, and segmentation as well as object categorization and localization. Here, we benefit from the availability of modern datasets of unprecedented size and diversity. Comparisons to traditional approaches and state-of-the-art research on the basis of well-established evaluation criteria allows the objective assessment of our contributions.
In Proceedings IEEE Conf. on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), pages: 1314-1321, IEEE, June 2014 (inproceedings)
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
In Proceedings IEEE Conf. on Computer Vision (ICCV), pages: 1281-1288, December 2013 (inproceedings)
Having a sensible prior of human pose is a vital ingredient for many computer vision applications, including tracking and pose estimation. While the application of global non-parametric approaches and parametric models has led to some success, finding the right balance in terms of flexibility and tractability, as well as estimating model parameters from data has turned out to be challenging. In this work, we introduce a sparse Bayesian network model of human pose that is non-parametric with respect to the estimation of both its graph structure and its local distributions. We describe an efficient sampling scheme for our model and show its tractability for the computation of exact log-likelihoods. We empirically validate our approach on the Human 3.6M dataset and demonstrate superior performance to global models and parametric networks. We further illustrate our model's ability to represent and compose poses not present in the training set (compositionality) and describe a speed-accuracy trade-off that allows realtime scoring of poses.
Our goal is to understand the principles of Perception, Action and Learning in autonomous systems that successfully interact with complex environments and to use this understanding to design future systems