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Department Talks

A new path to understanding biological/human vision: theory and experiments

IS Colloquium
  • 11 March 2019 • 14:00 15:00
  • Zhaoping Li
  • MPI-IS lecture hall (N0.002)

Since Hubel and Wiesel's seminal findings in the primary visual cortex (V1) more than 50 years ago, progress in vision science has been very limited along previous frameworks and schools of thoughts on understanding vision. Have we been asking the right questions? I will show observations motivating the new path. First, a drastic information bottleneck forces the brain to process only a tiny fraction of the massive visual input information; this selection is called the attentional selection, how to select this tiny fraction is critical. Second, a large body of evidence has been accumulating to suggest that the primary visual cortex (V1) is where this selection starts, suggesting that the visual cortical areas along the visual pathway beyond V1 must be investigated in light of this selection in V1. Placing attentional selection as the center stage, a new path to understanding vision is proposed (articulated in my book "Understanding vision: theory, models, and data", Oxford University Press 2014). I will show a first example of using this new path, which aims to ask new questions and make fresh progresses. I will relate our insights to artificial vision systems to discuss issues like top-down feedbacks in hierachical processing, analysis-by-synthesis, and image understanding.

Organizers: Timo Bolkart Aamir Ahmad

Still, In Motion

  • 12 October 2018 • 11:00 12:00
  • Michael Cohen

In this talk, I will take an autobiographical approach to explain both where we have come from in computer graphics from the early days of rendering, and to point towards where we are going in this new world of smartphones and social media. We are at a point in history where the abilities to express oneself with media is unparalleled. The ubiquity and power of mobile devices coupled with new algorithmic paradigms is opening new expressive possibilities weekly. At the same time, these new creative media (composite imagery, augmented imagery, short form video, 3D photos) also offer unprecedented abilities to move freely between what is real and unreal. I will focus on the spaces in between images and video, and in between objective and subjective reality. Finally, I will close with some lessons learned along the way.

Learning to align images and surfaces

  • 24 September 2018 • 11:00 12:00
  • Iasonas Kokkinos
  • Ground Floor Seminar Room (N0.002)

In this talk I will be presenting recent work on combining ideas from deformable models with deep learning. I will start by describing DenseReg and DensePose, two recently introduced systems for establishing dense correspondences between 2D images and 3D surface models ``in the wild'', namely in the presence of background, occlusions, and multiple objects. For DensePose in particular we introduce DensePose-COCO, a large-scale dataset for dense pose estimation, and DensePose-RCNN, a system which operates at multiple frames per second on a single GPU while handling multiple humans simultaneously. I will then present Deforming AutoEncoders, a method for unsupervised dense correspondence estimation. We show that we can disentangle deformations from appearance variation in an entirely unsupervised manner, and also provide promising results for a more thorough disentanglement of images into deformations, albedo and shading. Time permitting we will discuss a parallel line of work aiming at combining grouping with deep learning, and see how both grouping and correspondence can be understood as establishing associations between neurons.

Organizers: Vassilis Choutas

Visual Reconstruction and Image-Based Rendering

  • 07 September 2018 • 11:00 12:00
  • Richard Szeliski
  • Ground Floor Seminar Room (N0.002)

The reconstruction of 3D scenes and their appearance from imagery is one of the longest-standing problems in computer vision. Originally developed to support robotics and artificial intelligence applications, it has found some of its most widespread use in support of interactive 3D scene visualization. One of the keys to this success has been the melding of 3D geometric and photometric reconstruction with a heavy re-use of the original imagery, which produces more realistic rendering than a pure 3D model-driven approach. In this talk, I give a retrospective of two decades of research in this area, touching on topics such as sparse and dense 3D reconstruction, the fundamental concepts in image-based rendering and computational photography, applications to virtual reality, as well as ongoing research in the areas of layered decompositions and 3D-enabled video stabilization.

Organizers: Mohamed Hassan

Imitation of Human Motion Planning

  • 27 July 2018 • 12:00 12:45
  • Jim Mainprice
  • N3.022 (Aquarium)

Humans act upon their environment through motion, the ability to plan their movements is therefore an essential component of their autonomy. In recent decades, motion planning has been widely studied in robotics and computer graphics. Nevertheless robots still fail to achieve human reactivity and coordination. The need for more efficient motion planning algorithms has been present through out my own research on "human-aware" motion planning, which aims to take the surroundings humans explicitly into account. I believe imitation learning is the key to this particular problem as it allows to learn both, new motion skills and predictive models, two capabilities that are at the heart of "human-aware" robots while simultaneously holding the promise of faster and more reactive motion generation. In this talk I will present my work in this direction.

New Ideas for Stereo Matching of Untextured Scenes

  • 24 July 2018 • 14:00 15:00
  • Daniel Scharstein
  • Ground Floor Seminar Room (N0.002)

Two talks for the price of one! I will present my recent work on the challenging problem of stereo matching of scenes with little or no surface texture, attacking the problem from two very different angles. First, I will discuss how surface orientation priors can be added to the popular semi-global matching (SGM) algorithm, which significantly reduces errors on slanted weakly-textured surfaces. The orientation priors serve as a soft constraint during matching and can be derived in a variety of ways, including from low-resolution matching results and from monocular analysis and Manhattan-world assumptions. Second, we will examine the pathological case of Mondrian Stereo -- synthetic scenes consisting solely of solid-colored planar regions, resembling paintings by Piet Mondrian. I will discuss assumptions that allow disambiguating such scenes, present a novel stereo algorithm employing symbolic reasoning about matched edge segments, and discuss how similar ideas could be utilized in robust real-world stereo algorithms for untextured environments.

Organizers: Anurag Ranjan

DensePose: Dense Human Pose Estimation In The Wild

  • 16 July 2018 • 11:00 12:00
  • Rıza Alp Güler
  • N3.022 (Aquarium)

Non-planar object deformations result in challenging but informative signal variations. We aim to recover this information in a feedforward manner by employing discriminatively trained convolutional networks. We formulate the task as a regression problem and train our networks by leveraging upon manually annotated correspondences between images and 3D surfaces. In this talk, the focus will be on our recent work "DensePose", where we form the "COCO-DensePose" dataset by introducing an efficient annotation pipeline to collect correspondences between 50K persons appearing in the COCO dataset and the SMPL 3D deformable human-body model. We use our dataset to train CNN-based systems that deliver dense correspondences 'in the wild', namely in the presence of background, occlusions, multiple objects and scale variations. We experiment with fully-convolutional networks and region-based DensePose-RCNN model and observe a superiority of the latter; we further improve accuracy through cascading, obtaining a system that delivers highly accurate results in real time (http://densepose.org).

Organizers: Georgios Pavlakos

  • Zeynep Akata
  • S2.014

Clearly explaining a rationale for a classification decision to an end-user can be as important as the decision itself. Existing approaches for deep visual recognition are generally opaque and do not output any justification text; contemporary vision-language models can describe image content but fail to take into account class-discriminative image aspects which justify visual predictions. In this talk, I will present my past and current work on Zero-Shot Learning, Vision and Language for Generative Modeling and Explainable Artificial Intelligence in that (1) how we can generalize the image classification models to the cases when no visual training data is available, (2) how to generate images and image features using detailed visual descriptions, and (3) how our models focus on discriminating properties of the visible object, jointly predict a class label,explain why the predicted label is appropriate for the image whereas another label is not.

Organizers: Andreas Geiger

Structure-Aware Shape Synthesis

  • 03 July 2018 • 11:00 12:00
  • Elena Balashova (Sizikova)
  • Aquarium N3

Complex shapes can can be summarized using a coarsely defined structure which is consistent and robust across variety of observations. However, existing synthesis techniques do not consider structural decomposition during synthesis, causing generation of implausible or structurally unrealistic shapes. We explore how structure-aware reasoning can benefit existing generative techniques for complex 2D and 3D shapes. We evaluate our methodology on a 3D dataset of chairs and a 2D dataset of typefaces.

Organizers: Sergi Pujades

  • Prof. Andrew Blake
  • Ground Floor Seminar Room N0.002

Organizers: Ahmed Osman

Lessons from the visual system to understand (and help) the brain

IS Colloquium
  • 08 June 2018 • 11:00 12:00
  • Prof. Javier Cudeiro
  • MPI-IS lecture hall (N0.002)

Visual perception involves a complex interaction between feedforward and feedback processes. A mechanistic understanding of these processing, and its limitations, is a necessary first step towards elucidating key aspects of perceptual functions and dysfunctions. In this talk, I will review our ongoing effort towards the understanding of how feedback visual processing operates at the level of the thalamus, a dynamic relay station halfway between the retina and the cortex. I will present experimental evidence from several recent electrophysiology studies performed on subjects engaged in visual detection tasks. The results show that modulatory driving provided by top-down processes (the feedback from primary visual cortex) critically influences the ongoing thalamic activity and shapes the message to be delivered to the cortex. When neuromodulatory techniques (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or static magnetic fields) are used to transiently disrupt cortical activity two very interesting effects show up: (1) alterations in stimulus detection and (2) the spatial properties of thalamic receptive fields are dramatically modified. Finally, I will show how sensory information can be a powerful tool to interact with the motor system and re-organize altered patterns of movement in neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease.

Organizers: Daniel Cudeiro