Tuesday, February 18, 2014

DARPA* project contributes graphical models toolkit to GraphLab

We are proud to announce that following many months of hard work, Scott Richardson from Vision Systems Inc. has contributed a graphical models toolkit to GraphLab. Here is a some information about their project:

Last year Vision Systems, Inc. (VSI) partnered with Systems & Technology Research (STR) and started working on a DARPA* project to develop intelligent, automatic, and robust computer vision technologies based on realistic conditions. Our goal is to develop a software system that lets users ask queries of photo content, such as "Does this person look familiar?" or "Where is this building located?" If successful, our technology would alert people to scenes that warrant their attention.

We had an immediate need for a solid, scalable graph-parallel computation engine to replace our internal belief propagation implementation. We quickly gravitated to GraphLab. Using this framework, we designed the Factor Graph toolkit based on Joseph Gonzalez's initial implementation. A factor graph, a type of graphical model, is a bipartite graph composed of two types of vertices: variable nodes and factor nodes. The Factor Graph toolkit is able to translate a factor graph into a graphlab distributed-graph and perform inference using a vertex-program which implements the well known message-passing algorithm belief propagation. Both belief propagation and factor graphs are general tools that have applications in a variety of domains. 

We are very excited to get to work on key problems in the Machine Learning/Machine Vision field and to be a part of the powerful communities, like GraphLab, that make it possible.

Below the fold, more about STR and VSI: 
Systems & Technology Research (STR) is a new company focused on developing innovative solutions for challenging information processing problems.  STR staff members bring a deep understanding of state-of-the-art computer vision, signal processing and computer science technologies and the skills to transition them into well-engineered user-oriented products.

Vision Systems, Inc. (VSI) is a start-up Research and Development firm located in Providence, RI. VSI performs research and development in the fields of computer vision and artificial intelligence / machine learning with customers in the intelligence, defense, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) communities. 

*This material is based upon work supported by DARPA and the United States Air Force Research Laboratory under Contract No. FA8750-12-C-0102. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Air Force.

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