Thursday, March 30, 2006

2006 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship

Today I found out that I won the 2006 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship! Last year I won Honorable Mention, so the big question is "What did I do differently this time around?" The short answer is, "I wrote awesome essays that addressed the NSF Merit Review Criteria of Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts."

I felt like I was writing a somewhat non-technical introduction to my thesis when I was writing the proposed research essay. If I know you and you think that reading my essays (old ones got Honorable Mention and new ones got The Award) will be useful when you are applying for the NSF GRF this upcoming fall, then get in touch with me. NOTE: Only if I already know you or you go to the Robotics Institute at CMU will I help you out. In other words, if you are thinking of emailing me with the hope of getting my essays than don't even bother.

I'm still waiting to hear back from the NDSEG fellowship. On another note (slightly old news):
Alexei Efros(My research advisor) won an NSF Career Award and his other vision student, Derek Hoiem, won a Microsoft Fellowship.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

what is segmentation? lessons from DDMCMC

On the desktop of my windows-based laptop there exists a text file titled "Reforming Segmentation," which discusses how the only way to get segmentation algorithms to do what we really want is by incorporating machine learning techniques into vision.

Coming soon...

Monday, March 20, 2006

segmenting horses

Here is a sample image generated from my current research endeavours. Basically I'm trying to segment out the horse using a small number of segments (here the number of segments is 4). The images are sorted from best to worst (using a ground truth segmentation image).

I'll describe what I'm trying to do in future blog entries.

To summarize the horse dataset, here is the mean image in RGB-space of Eran Borenstein's Weizmann horse database:

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Greetings World!
-Currently chilling in Montreal.
-Be be back in Pittsburgh on Friday.
-About to go to an Ethiopian restaurant. w00t w00t

We are now back from Canada and pictures will be posted soon.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

kiss my axe -> mont tremblant -> super unsupervised superpixel clustering

I've been recently listening to Al Di Meola's album Kiss My Axe rather frequently. I just can't get enought of the 2nd track, titled "The Embrace."

On another note, tomorrow morning spring break starts. Me (Tomasz), Mark, Geoff, and Boris are driving to Canada to do some intense boarding and skiing at Mont Tremblant. Unfortunately, Hanns had to stay behind and do some research-related work. After hitting up the mountain, we are going to check out Montreal for a few days. In addition, on the way up we are going to stop in the Albany/Troy region for Friday night to party and relax.

Even though I'm not planning on bringing my laptop, 15 CPUs are crunching away at images of animals; I think my job should be done in about 4 days. I'm trying to do a study of segmentation algorithms so that I can implement some of the new discriminative superpixel-based recognition theory I've been working on when I get back from spring break. I'm performing the study on the {PASCAL 2006,MSRCv2,Weizmann Horse} databases and I am utilizing Stella Yu's Constrained Normalized Cuts implementation on top of Berkeley's Probability of Boundary detector. With such large collections of images, I'm going to try out some super unsupervised superpixel clustering strategies in not too long.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

metaphysics strikes again and the console ninja

As I'm finishing up my console ninja* related work, I'm thinking about {metaphysics, undirected graphical models, Markov Chain Monte Carlo, superpixels, etc}.

*console ninja - a term I found on the internet (the person who used it was named pytholyx but I have no clue who they are) referring to somebody extremely proficient at the *nix console. It refers to one who is one with the console and can utilize the shell in a way similar to a ninja using a sword.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

under pressure -> screen is my favourite *nix program

80's nite on Thursdays at the Upstage is awesome! It's a great way for people to relax after a stressfull week of graduate school and meet some other cool people. Also, where else can you expect to hear Michael Jackson's Billy Jean with a very high probability?

So today I learned that it is in fact David Bowie who sings "Under Pressure" -- a song which is generally preceded by Vanillla Ice's "Ice Ice Baby." What a great combination!


Up until yesterday, SSH was my favourite *nix utility while screen was 2nd on the list. However, after a power screen-learning session yesterday I discovered the power of .screenrc files and screen rapidly jumpted to the #1 spot. In reality, there is no reason to use screen independently of SSH; however, all the fun features of screen make it just plain old awesome.

I wrote a short script that runs like:
$ screen -L -c ~/private/.screenrc

And does the following:
1.) Start 14 screen virtual terminals, and in the N-th virtual terminal do the following: ssh into a machine called "" and start MATLAB to start a process called "fun_batch"
2.) -L enables logging, and I have each log file name point to a web-readable directory so I can check out the output of each virtual terminal remotely
3.) Start a 15th screen virtual terminal which gives me a blank SHELL in which I can check the CPU states of the other 14 machines

Then I simply detach the screen session, and periodically check up on each MATLAB process.
Now I have to find out how to avoid using up 14 MATLAB Image Processing Toolbox Licenses. Any advice will be appreciated.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

controlling a robotic system via search

Two ways of doing controls. The electrical engineering kind of way and the artificial intelligence kind of way. I like to search, and I'll go with the artificial intelligence approach anyday.

Here are the links to the last three Kinematics Dynamics & Control Homeworks:

3.)Modeling a Robotic Finger via Uniform Grid Search

2.)Optimizing the Control of a Two-Link Pendulum

1.)Controlling a Robotic Pendulum via Dijskstra-Like Backward Value Iteration