Collaborating Authors

When Gravity Fails: Local Search Topology

Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research

Local search algorithms for combinatorial search problems frequently encounter a sequence of states in which it is impossible to improve the value of the objective function; moves through these regions, called plateau moves, dominate the time spent in local search. We analyze and characterize plateaus for three different classes of randomly generated Boolean Satisfiability problems. We identify several interesting features of plateaus that impact the performance of local search algorithms. We show that local minima tend to be small but occasionally may be very large. We also show that local minima can be escaped without unsatisfying a large number of clauses, but that systematically searching for an escape route may be computationally expensive if the local minimum is large. We show that plateaus with exits, called benches, tend to be much larger than minima, and that some benches have very few exit states which local search can use to escape. We show that the solutions (i.e., global minima) of randomly generated problem instances form clusters, which behave similarly to local minima. We revisit several enhancements of local search algorithms and explain their performance in light of our results. Finally we discuss strategies for creating the next generation of local search algorithms.

Multi-Level Active Prediction of Useful Image Annotations for Recognition

Neural Information Processing Systems

We introduce a framework for actively learning visual categories from a mixture of weakly and strongly labeled image examples. We propose to allow the category-learner to strategically choose what annotations it receives---based on both the expected reduction in uncertainty as well as the relative costs of obtaining each annotation. We construct a multiple-instance discriminative classifier based on the initial training data. Then all remaining unlabeled and weakly labeled examples are surveyed to actively determine which annotation ought to be requested next. After each request, the current classifier is incrementally updated. Unlike previous work, our approach accounts for the fact that the optimal use of manual annotation may call for a combination of labels at multiple levels of granularity (e.g., a full segmentation on some images and a present/absent flag on others). As a result, it is possible to learn more accurate category models with a lower total expenditure of manual annotation effort.

Global warming is causing more snow to fall on Antarctica

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Global warming is causing more snow to fall over Antarctica and it is stunting the surge of rising sea levels. Scientists have discovered that the increased amount of snow on Antarctica has helped offset rates of twentieth-century global sea-level rise by up to a third. Since the start of the 20th century the snow on the frozen continent and the Antarctic ice Sheet have played a pivotal role in governing sea level change. The delicate balance between ice sheets melting and increased snowfall has a major part to play on sea levels around the world. The authors of the research caution that this phenomenon is merely slowing sea level rise - not negating it completely.

High Water Levels Cause Damage on Some of the Great Lakes

U.S. News

Water levels on Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are expected to reach 17 inches above average over the next six months. Water levels were about 18 inches above average on the lakes in the beginning of the month.


AAAI Conferences

Accurate keypoint localization of human pose needs diversified features: the high level for contextual dependencies and the low level for detailed refinement of joints. However, the importance of the two factors varies from case to case, but how to efficiently use the features is still an open problem. Existing methods have limitations in preserving low level features, adaptively adjusting the importance of different levels of features, and modeling the human perception process. This paper presents three novel techniques step by step to efficiently utilize different levels of features for human pose estimation. Firstly, an inception of inception (IOI) block is designed to emphasize the low level features. Secondly, an attention mechanism is proposed to adjust the importance of individual levels according to the context. Thirdly, a cascaded network is proposed to sequentially localize the joints to enforce message passing from joints of stand-alone parts like head and torso to remote joints like wrist or ankle. Experimental results demonstrate that the proposed method achieves the state-of-the-art performance on both MPII and LSP benchmarks.