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Scalable Inference in Hierarchical Generative Models

Thomas Dean
Proceedings of the Ninth International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence and Mathematics (2006)


We address the technical challenges involved in combining key features from several theories of the visual cortex in a single coherent model. The resulting model is a hierarchical Bayesian network factored into modular component networks embedding variable-order Markov models. Each component network has an associated receptive ?eld corresponding to components residing in the level directly below it in the hierarchy. The variable-order Markov models account for features that are invariant to naturally occurring transformations in their inputs. These invariant features give rise to increasingly stable, persistent representations as we ascend the hierarchy. The receptive ?elds of proximate components on the same level overlap to restore selectivity that might otherwise be lost to invariance.

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