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Towards Open Ended Learning: Budgets, Model Selection, and Representation


Gomes, Ryan Geoffrey (2011) Towards Open Ended Learning: Budgets, Model Selection, and Representation. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/T92X-DQ05.


Biological organisms learn to recognize visual categories continuously over the course of their lifetimes. This impressive capability allows them to adapt to new circumstances as they arise, and to flexibly incorporate new object categories as they are discovered. Inspired by this capability, we seek to create artificial recognition systems that can learn in a similar fashion.

We identify a number of characteristics that define this Open Ended learning capability. Open Ended learning is unsupervised: object instances need not be explicitly labeled with a category indicator during training. Learning occurs incrementally as experience ensues; there is no training period that is distinct from operation and the categorization system must operate and update itself in a timely fashion with limited computational resources. Open Ended learning systems must flexibly adapt the number of categories as new evidence is uncovered.

Having identified these requirements, we develop Open Ended categorization systems based on probabilistic graphical models and study their properties. From the perspective of building practical systems, the most challenging requirement of Open Ended learning is that it must be carried out in an unsupervised fashion. We then study the question of how best to represent data items and categories in unsupervised learning algorithms in order to extend their domain of application.

Finally, we conclude that continuously learning categorization systems are likely to require human intervention and supervision for some time to come, which suggests research in how best to structure machine-human interactions. We end this thesis by studying a system that reverses the typical role of human and machine in most learning systems. In Crowd Clustering, humans perform the fundamental image categorization tasks, and the machine learning system evaluates and aggregates the results of human workers.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:machine learning, computer vision, unsupervised learning, crowdsourcing
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Computation and Neural Systems
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Perona, Pietro
Thesis Committee:
  • Perona, Pietro (chair)
  • Krause, Andreas
  • Abu-Mostafa, Yaser S.
  • Welling, Max
  • Burdick, Joel Wakeman
Defense Date:18 January 2011
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:02092011-171146758
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:6241
Deposited By: Ryan Gomes
Deposited On:18 Feb 2011 00:21
Last Modified:08 Nov 2023 00:44

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