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2013


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Optimal distribution of contact forces with inverse-dynamics control

Righetti, L., Buchli, J., Mistry, M., Kalakrishnan, M., Schaal, S.

The International Journal of Robotics Research, 32(3):280-298, March 2013 (article)

Abstract
The development of legged robots for complex environments requires controllers that guarantee both high tracking performance and compliance with the environment. More specifically the control of the contact interaction with the environment is of crucial importance to ensure stable, robust and safe motions. In this contribution we develop an inverse-dynamics controller for floating-base robots under contact constraints that can minimize any combination of linear and quadratic costs in the contact constraints and the commands. Our main result is the exact analytical derivation of the controller. Such a result is particularly relevant for legged robots as it allows us to use torque redundancy to directly optimize contact interactions. For example, given a desired locomotion behavior, we can guarantee the minimization of contact forces to reduce slipping on difficult terrains while ensuring high tracking performance of the desired motion. The main advantages of the controller are its simplicity, computational efficiency and robustness to model inaccuracies. We present detailed experimental results on simulated humanoid and quadruped robots as well as a real quadruped robot. The experiments demonstrate that the controller can greatly improve the robustness of locomotion of the robots.1

am mg

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

2013


link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Thermodynamics as a theory of decision-making with information-processing costs

Ortega, PA, Braun, DA

Proceedings of the Royal Society of London A, 469(2153):1-18, May 2013 (article)

Abstract
Perfectly rational decision-makers maximize expected utility, but crucially ignore the resource costs incurred when determining optimal actions. Here, we propose a thermodynamically inspired formalization of bounded rational decision-making where information processing is modelled as state changes in thermodynamic systems that can be quantified by differences in free energy. By optimizing a free energy, bounded rational decision-makers trade off expected utility gains and information-processing costs measured by the relative entropy. As a result, the bounded rational decision-making problem can be rephrased in terms of well-known variational principles from statistical physics. In the limit when computational costs are ignored, the maximum expected utility principle is recovered. We discuss links to existing decision-making frameworks and applications to human decision-making experiments that are at odds with expected utility theory. Since most of the mathematical machinery can be borrowed from statistical physics, the main contribution is to re-interpret the formalism of thermodynamic free-energy differences in terms of bounded rational decision-making and to discuss its relationship to human decision-making experiments.

ei

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Concentration and Strain Fields inside a Ag/Au Core-Shell Nanowire Studied by Coherent X-ray Diffraction

Haag, S. T., Richard, M. I., Welzel, U., Favre-Nicolin, V., Balmes, O., Richter, G., Mittemeijer, E. J., Thomas, O.

Nano Letters, 13(5):1883-1889, 2013 (article)

ZWE

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Tank-like module-based climbing robot using passive compliant joints

Seo, T., Sitti, M.

IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics, 18(1):397-408, 2013 (article)

pi

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Flapping wings via direct-driving by DC motors

Azhar, M., Campolo, D., Lau, G., Hines, L., Sitti, M.

In Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2013 IEEE International Conference on, pages: 1397-1402, 2013 (inproceedings)

pi

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Three dimensional independent control of multiple magnetic microrobots

Diller, E., Giltinan, J., Jena, P., Sitti, M.

In Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2013 IEEE International Conference on, pages: 2576-2581, 2013 (inproceedings)

pi

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Enhanced fabrication and characterization of gecko-inspired mushroom-tipped microfiber adhesives

Song, J., Mengüç, Y., Sitti, M.

Journal of Adhesion Science and Technology, 27(17):1921-1932, Routledge, 2013 (article)

pi

Project Page [BibTex]

Project Page [BibTex]


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Linear combination of one-step predictive information with an external reward in an episodic policy gradient setting: a critical analysis

Zahedi, K., Martius, G., Ay, N.

Frontiers in Psychology, 4(801), 2013 (article)

Abstract
One of the main challenges in the field of embodied artificial intelligence is the open-ended autonomous learning of complex behaviours. Our approach is to use task-independent, information-driven intrinsic motivation(s) to support task-dependent learning. The work presented here is a preliminary step in which we investigate the predictive information (the mutual information of the past and future of the sensor stream) as an intrinsic drive, ideally supporting any kind of task acquisition. Previous experiments have shown that the predictive information (PI) is a good candidate to support autonomous, open-ended learning of complex behaviours, because a maximisation of the PI corresponds to an exploration of morphology- and environment-dependent behavioural regularities. The idea is that these regularities can then be exploited in order to solve any given task. Three different experiments are presented and their results lead to the conclusion that the linear combination of the one-step PI with an external reward function is not generally recommended in an episodic policy gradient setting. Only for hard tasks a great speed-up can be achieved at the cost of an asymptotic performance lost.

al

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


Class-Specific Hough Forests for Object Detection
Class-Specific Hough Forests for Object Detection

Gall, J., Lempitsky, V.

In Decision Forests for Computer Vision and Medical Image Analysis, pages: 143-157, 11, (Editors: Criminisi, A. and Shotton, J.), Springer, 2013 (incollection)

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code Project Page [BibTex]

code Project Page [BibTex]


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Time-resolved imaging of nonlinear magnetic domain-wall dynamics in ferromagnetic nanowires

Stein, F.-U., Bocklage, L., Weigand, M., Meier, G.

{Scientific Reports}, 3, Nature Publishing Group, London, UK, 2013 (article)

mms

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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A cryogenically flexible covalent organic framework for efficient hydrogen isotrope separation by quantum sieving

Oh, H., Kalidindi, S. B., Um, Y., Bureekaew, S., Schmid, R., Fischer, R. A., Hirscher, M.

{Angewandte Chemie International Edition in English}, 52(50):13219-13222, Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, D-69451 Weinheim, 2013 (article)

mms

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Unexpected room-temperature ferromagnetism in bulk ZnO

Chen, Y., Goering, E., Jeurgens, L., Wang, Z., Phillipp, F., Baier, J., Tietze, T., Schütz, G.

{Applied Physics Letters}, (103), American Institute of Physics, Melville, NY, 2013 (article)

mms

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Large-area hard magnetic L10-FePt and composite L10-FePt based nanopatterns

Goll, D., Bublat, T.

{Physica Status Solidi A-Applications and Materials Science}, 210(7):1261-1271, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, 2013 (article)

mms

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Wave modes of collective vortex gyration in dipolar-coupled-dot-array magnonic crystals

Han, D., Vogel, A., Jung, H., Lee, K., Weigand, M., Stoll, H., Schütz, G., Fischer, P., Meier, G., Kim, S.

{Scientific Reports}, 3, Nature Publishing Group, London, UK, 2013 (article)

mms

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Abstraction in Decision-Makers with Limited Information Processing Capabilities

Genewein, T, Braun, DA

pages: 1-9, NIPS Workshop Planning with Information Constraints for Control, Reinforcement Learning, Computational Neuroscience, Robotics and Games, December 2013 (conference)

Abstract
A distinctive property of human and animal intelligence is the ability to form abstractions by neglecting irrelevant information which allows to separate structure from noise. From an information theoretic point of view abstractions are desirable because they allow for very efficient information processing. In artificial systems abstractions are often implemented through computationally costly formations of groups or clusters. In this work we establish the relation between the free-energy framework for decision-making and rate-distortion theory and demonstrate how the application of rate-distortion for decision-making leads to the emergence of abstractions. We argue that abstractions are induced due to a limit in information processing capacity.

ei

link (url) [BibTex]

link (url) [BibTex]


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Finite-size effects in the nuclear magnetic resonance of epitaxial palladium thin films

MacFarlane, W. A., Parolin, T. J., Larkin, T. I., Richter, G., Chow, K. H., Hossain, M. D., Kiefl, R. F., Levy, C. D. P., Morris, G. D., Ofer, O., Pearson, M. R., Saadaoui, H., Song, Q., Wang, D.

Physical Review B, 88(14), 2013 (article)

ZWE

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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A Perching Mechanism for Flying Robots Using a Fibre-Based Adhesive

Daler, L., Klaptocz, A., Briod, A., Sitti, M., Floreano, D.

In Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2013 IEEE International Conference on, 2013 (inproceedings)

pi

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Micro-scale mobile robotics

Diller, E., Sitti, M.

Foundations and Trends in Robotics, 2(3):143-259, Now Publishers Incorporated, 2013 (article)

pi

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Survey and Introduction to the Focused Section on Bio-Inspired Mechatronics

Sitti, M., Menciassi, A., Ijspeert, A., Low, K. H., Kim, S.

Mechatronics, IEEE/ASME Transactions on, 18(2):409-418, DOI: 10.1109/TMECH.2012. 2233492, 2013 (article)

pi

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Bonding methods for modular micro-robotic assemblies

Diller, E., Zhang, N., Sitti, M.

In Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2013 IEEE International Conference on, pages: 2588-2593, 2013 (inproceedings)

pi

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Robustness of guided self-organization against sensorimotor disruptions

Martius, G.

Advances in Complex Systems, 16(02n03):1350001, 2013 (article)

Abstract
Self-organizing processes are crucial for the development of living beings. Practical applications in robots may benefit from the self-organization of behavior, e.g.~to increase fault tolerance and enhance flexibility, provided that external goals can also be achieved. We present results on the guidance of self-organizing control by visual target stimuli and show a remarkable robustness to sensorimotor disruptions. In a proof of concept study an autonomous wheeled robot is learning an object finding and ball-pushing task from scratch within a few minutes in continuous domains. The robustness is demonstrated by the rapid recovery of the performance after severe changes of the sensor configuration.

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Controlled Reduction with Unactuated Cyclic Variables: Application to 3D Bipedal Walking with Passive Yaw Rotation

Gregg, R., Righetti, L.

IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, 58(10):2679-2685, October 2013 (article)

Abstract
This technical note shows that viscous damping can shape momentum conservation laws in a manner that stabilizes yaw rotation and enables steering for underactuated 3D walking. We first show that unactuated cyclic variables can be controlled by passively shaped conservation laws given a stabilizing controller in the actuated coordinates. We then exploit this result to realize controlled geometric reduction with multiple unactuated cyclic variables. We apply this underactuated control strategy to a five-link 3D biped to produce exponentially stable straight-ahead walking and steering in the presence of passive yawing.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Learning Task Error Models for Manipulation

Pastor, P., Kalakrishnan, M., Binney, J., Kelly, J., Righetti, L., Sukhatme, G. S., Schaal, S.

In 2013 IEEE Conference on Robotics and Automation, IEEE, Karlsruhe, Germany, 2013 (inproceedings)

Abstract
Precise kinematic forward models are important for robots to successfully perform dexterous grasping and manipulation tasks, especially when visual servoing is rendered infeasible due to occlusions. A lot of research has been conducted to estimate geometric and non-geometric parameters of kinematic chains to minimize reconstruction errors. However, kinematic chains can include non-linearities, e.g. due to cable stretch and motor-side encoders, that result in significantly different errors for different parts of the state space. Previous work either does not consider such non-linearities or proposes to estimate non-geometric parameters of carefully engineered models that are robot specific. We propose a data-driven approach that learns task error models that account for such unmodeled non-linearities. We argue that in the context of grasping and manipulation, it is sufficient to achieve high accuracy in the task relevant state space. We identify this relevant state space using previously executed joint configurations and learn error corrections for those. Therefore, our system is developed to generate subsequent executions that are similar to previous ones. The experiments show that our method successfully captures the non-linearities in the head kinematic chain (due to a counterbalancing spring) and the arm kinematic chains (due to cable stretch) of the considered experimental platform, see Fig. 1. The feasibility of the presented error learning approach has also been evaluated in independent DARPA ARM-S testing contributing to successfully complete 67 out of 72 grasping and manipulation tasks.

am mg

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


Non-parametric hand pose estimation with object context
Non-parametric hand pose estimation with object context

Romero, J., Kjellström, H., Ek, C. H., Kragic, D.

Image and Vision Computing , 31(8):555 - 564, 2013 (article)

Abstract
In the spirit of recent work on contextual recognition and estimation, we present a method for estimating the pose of human hands, employing information about the shape of the object in the hand. Despite the fact that most applications of human hand tracking involve grasping and manipulation of objects, the majority of methods in the literature assume a free hand, isolated from the surrounding environment. Occlusion of the hand from grasped objects does in fact often pose a severe challenge to the estimation of hand pose. In the presented method, object occlusion is not only compensated for, it contributes to the pose estimation in a contextual fashion; this without an explicit model of object shape. Our hand tracking method is non-parametric, performing a nearest neighbor search in a large database (.. entries) of hand poses with and without grasped objects. The system that operates in real time, is robust to self occlusions, object occlusions and segmentation errors, and provides full hand pose reconstruction from monocular video. Temporal consistency in hand pose is taken into account, without explicitly tracking the hand in the high-dim pose space. Experiments show the non-parametric method to outperform other state of the art regression methods, while operating at a significantly lower computational cost than comparable model-based hand tracking methods.

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Publisher site pdf link (url) [BibTex]

Publisher site pdf link (url) [BibTex]


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Ferromagnetism of zinc oxide nanograined films

Straumal, B. B., Protasova, S. G., Mazilkin, A. A., Schütz, G., Goering, E., Baretzky, B., Straumal, P. B.

{Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Physics Letters}, 97(6):367-377, Pleiades Publishing, Inc., 2013 (article)

mms

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Hydrogen adsorption properties of platinum decorated hierarchically structured templated carbons

Oh, H., Gennett, T., Atanassov, P., Kurttepeli, M., Bals, S., Hurst, K. E., Hirscher, M.

{Microporous and Mesoporous Materials}, pages: 66-74, Elsevier, Amsterdam, 2013 (article)

mms

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Extended s-d models for the dynamics of noncollinear magnetization: Short review of two different approaches

Fähnle, M., Zhang, S.

{Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials}, 326, pages: 232-234, NH, Elsevier, Amsterdam, 2013 (article)

mms

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Correlation between spin structure oscillations and domain wall velocities

Bisig, A., Stärk, M., Mawass, M., Moutafis, C., Rhensius, J., Heidler, J., Büttner, F., Noske, M., Weigand, M., Eisebitt, S., Tyliszczak, T., Van Wayenberge, B., Stoll, H., Schütz, G., Kläui, M.

{Nature Communications}, 4, Nature Publishing Group, London, 2013 (article)

mms

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Recent advances in use of atomic layer deposition and focused ion beams for fabrication of Fresnel zone plates for hard x-rays

Keskinbora, K., Robisch, A., Mayer, M., Grévent, C., Szeghalmi, A. V., Knez, M., Weigand, M., Snigireva, I., Snigirev, A., Salditt, T., Schütz, G.

{Proceedings of SPIE (The International Society for Optical Engineering)}, 8851, 2013 (article)

mms

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Magnetic states in low-pinning high-anisotropy material nanostructures suitable for dynamic imaging

Büttner, F., Moutafis, C., Bisig, A., Wohlhüter, P., Günther, C. M., Mohanty, J., Geilhufe, J., Schneider, M., v. Korff Schmising, C., Schaffert, S., Pfau, B., Hantschmann, M., Riemeier, M., Emmel, M., Finizio, S., Jakob, G., Weigand, M., Rhensius, J., Franken, J. H., Lavrijsen, R., Swagten, H. J. M., Stoll, H., Eisebitt, S., Kläui, M.

{Physical Review B}, 87, Published by the American Physical Society through the American Institute of Physics, Woodbury, NY, 2013 (article)

mms

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Experimental and theoretical study of D2/H2 quantum sieving in a carbon molecular sieve

Gotzias, A., Charalambopoulou, G., Ampoumogli, A., Krkljus, I., Hirscher, M., Steriotis, T.

{Adsorption}, 19(2-4):373-379, Springer Science+Business Media, New York, 2013 (article)

mms

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Bounded Rational Decision-Making in Changing Environments

Grau-Moya, J, Braun, DA

pages: 1-9, NIPS Workshop Planning with Information Constraints for Control, Reinforcement Learning, Computational Neuroscience, Robotics and Games, December 2013 (conference)

Abstract
A perfectly rational decision-maker chooses the best action with the highest utility gain from a set of possible actions. The optimality principles that describe such decision processes do not take into account the computational costs of finding the optimal action. Bounded rational decision-making addresses this problem by specifically trading off information-processing costs and expected utility. Interestingly, a similar trade-off between energy and entropy arises when describing changes in thermodynamic systems. This similarity has been recently used to describe bounded rational agents. Crucially, this framework assumes that the environment does not change while the decision-maker is computing the optimal policy. When this requirement is not fulfilled, the decision-maker will suffer inefficiencies in utility, that arise because the current policy is optimal for an environment in the past. Here we borrow concepts from non-equilibrium thermodynamics to quantify these inefficiencies and illustrate with simulations its relationship with computational resources.

ei

link (url) [BibTex]

link (url) [BibTex]


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Effective polyethylene glycol passivation for the inhibition of surface interactions of peripheral blood mononuclear cells and platelets

Sauter, A., Richter, G., Micoulet, A., Martinez, A., Spatz, J. P., Appel, S.

Biointerphases, 8, 2013 (article)

ZWE

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Self-organized and self-catalyst growth of semiconductor and metal wires by vapour phase epitaxy: GaN rods versus Cu whiskers

Eymery, J., Chen, X. J., Durand, C., Kolb, M., Richter, G.

Comptes Rendus Physique, 14(2-3):221-227, 2013 (article)

ZWE

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]

1996


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A kendama learning robot based on a dynamic optimiation principle

Miyamoto, H., Gandolfo, F., Gomi, H., Schaal, S., Koike, Y., Rieka, O., Nakano, E., Wada, Y., Kawato, M.

In Preceedings of the International Conference on Neural Information Processing, pages: 938-942, Hong Kong, September 1996, clmc (inproceedings)

am

[BibTex]

1996


[BibTex]


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Incorporating invariances in support vector learning machines

Schölkopf, B., Burges, C., Vapnik, V.

In Artificial Neural Networks: ICANN 96, LNCS vol. 1112, pages: 47-52, (Editors: C von der Malsburg and W von Seelen and JC Vorbrüggen and B Sendhoff), Springer, Berlin, Germany, 6th International Conference on Artificial Neural Networks, July 1996, volume 1112 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science (inproceedings)

Abstract
Developed only recently, support vector learning machines achieve high generalization ability by minimizing a bound on the expected test error; however, so far there existed no way of adding knowledge about invariances of a classification problem at hand. We present a method of incorporating prior knowledge about transformation invariances by applying transformations to support vectors, the training examples most critical for determining the classification boundary.

ei

PDF DOI [BibTex]

PDF DOI [BibTex]


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A Kendama learning robot based on bi-directional theory

Miyamoto, H., Schaal, S., Gandolfo, F., Koike, Y., Osu, R., Nakano, E., Wada, Y., Kawato, M.

Neural Networks, 9(8):1281-1302, 1996, clmc (article)

Abstract
A general theory of movement-pattern perception based on bi-directional theory for sensory-motor integration can be used for motion capture and learning by watching in robotics. We demonstrate our methods using the game of Kendama, executed by the SARCOS Dextrous Slave Arm, which has a very similar kinematic structure to the human arm. Three ingredients have to be integrated for the successful execution of this task. The ingredients are (1) to extract via-points from a human movement trajectory using a forward-inverse relaxation model, (2) to treat via-points as a control variable while reconstructing the desired trajectory from all the via-points, and (3) to modify the via-points for successful execution. In order to test the validity of the via-point representation, we utilized a numerical model of the SARCOS arm, and examined the behavior of the system under several conditions.

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link (url) [BibTex]

link (url) [BibTex]


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From isolation to cooperation: An alternative of a system of experts

Schaal, S., Atkeson, C. G.

In Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 8, pages: 605-611, (Editors: Touretzky, D. S.;Mozer, M. C.;Hasselmo, M. E.), MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1996, clmc (inbook)

Abstract
We introduce a constructive, incremental learning system for regression problems that models data by means of locally linear experts. In contrast to other approaches, the experts are trained independently and do not compete for data during learning. Only when a prediction for a query is required do the experts cooperate by blending their individual predictions. Each expert is trained by minimizing a penalized local cross validation error using second order methods. In this way, an expert is able to adjust the size and shape of the receptive field in which its predictions are valid, and also to adjust its bias on the importance of individual input dimensions. The size and shape adjustment corresponds to finding a local distance metric, while the bias adjustment accomplishes local dimensionality reduction. We derive asymptotic results for our method. In a variety of simulations we demonstrate the properties of the algorithm with respect to interference, learning speed, prediction accuracy, feature detection, and task oriented incremental learning. 

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link (url) [BibTex]

link (url) [BibTex]


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One-handed juggling: A dynamical approach to a rhythmic movement task

Schaal, S., Sternad, D., Atkeson, C. G.

Journal of Motor Behavior, 28(2):165-183, 1996, clmc (article)

Abstract
The skill of rhythmic juggling a ball on a racket is investigated from the viewpoint of nonlinear dynamics. The difference equations that model the dynamical system are analyzed by means of local and non-local stability analyses. These analyses yield that the task dynamics offer an economical juggling pattern which is stable even for open-loop actuator motion. For this pattern, two types of pre dictions are extracted: (i) Stable periodic bouncing is sufficiently characterized by a negative acceleration of the racket at the moment of impact with the ball; (ii) A nonlinear scaling relation maps different juggling trajectories onto one topologically equivalent dynamical system. The relevance of these results for the human control of action was evaluated in an experiment where subjects performed a comparable task of juggling a ball on a paddle. Task manipulations involved different juggling heights and gravity conditions of the ball. The predictions were confirmed: (i) For stable rhythmic performance the paddle's acceleration at impact is negative and fluctuations of the impact acceleration follow predictions from global stability analysis; (ii) For each subject, the realizations of juggling for the different experimental conditions are related by the scaling relation. These results allow the conclusion that for the given task, humans reliably exploit the stable solutions inherent to the dynamics of the task and do not overrule these dynamics by other control mechanisms. The dynamical scaling serves as an efficient principle to generate different movement realizations from only a few parameter changes and is discussed as a dynamical formalization of the principle of motor equivalence.

am

link (url) [BibTex]

link (url) [BibTex]


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Influence of humidity on polycrystalline Cu(In,Ga)Se-2 thin films for solar cells: A study of Na and H2O coadsorption

Heske, C., Richter, G., Chen, Z. H., Fink, R., Umbach, E., Riedl, W., Karg, F.

Conference Record of the Twenty Fifth Ieee Photovoltaic Specialists Conference - 1996, pages: 861-864, 1996 (article)

ZWE

DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]