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Atom interferometers have a multitude of proposed applications in space including precise measurements of the Earth's gravitational field, in navigation & ranging, and in fundamental physics such as tests of the weak equivalence principle (WEP) and gravitational wave detection. While atom interferometers are realized routinely in ground-based laboratories, current efforts aim at the development of a space compatible design optimized with respect to dimensions, weight, power consumption, mechanical robustness and radiation hardness. In this paper, we present a design of a high-sensitivity differential dual species 85Rb/87Rb atom interferometer for space, including physics package, laser system, electronics and software. The physics package comprises the atom source consisting of dispensers and a 2D magneto-optical trap (MOT), the science chamber with a 3D-MOT, a magnetic trap based on an atom chip and an optical dipole trap (ODT) used for Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) creation and interferometry, the detection unit, the vacuum system for 10-11 mbar ultra-high vacuum generation, and the high-suppression factor magnetic shielding as well as the thermal control system.
The laser system is based on a hybrid approach using fiber-based telecom components and high-power laser diode technology and includes all laser sources for 2D-MOT, 3D-MOT, ODT, interferometry and detection. Manipulation and switching of the laser beams is carried out on an optical bench using Zerodur bonding technology. The instrument consists of 9 units with an overall mass of 221 kg, an average power consumption of 608 W (819 W peak), and a volume of 470 liters which would well fit on a satellite to be launched with a Soyuz rocket, as system studies have shown.

Optical surface inspection: A novelty detection approach based on CNN-encoded texture features
(2018)

In inspection systems for textured surfaces, a reference texture is typically known before novel examples are inspected. Mostly, the reference is only available in a digital format. As a consequence, there is no dataset of defective examples available that could be used to train a classifier. We propose a texture model approach to novelty detection. The texture model uses features encoded by a convolutional neural network (CNN) trained on natural image data. The CNN activations represent the specific characteristics of the digital reference texture which are learned by a one-class classifier. We evaluate our novelty detector in a digital print inspection scenario. The inspection unit is based on a camera array and a flashing light illumination which allows for inline capturing of multichannel images at a high rate. In order to compare our results to manual inspection, we integrated our inspection unit into an industrial single-pass printing system.

Targetless Lidar-camera registration is a repeating task in many computer vision and robotics applications and requires computing the extrinsic pose of a point cloud with respect to a camera or vice-versa. Existing methods based on learning or optimization lack either generalization capabilities or accuracy. Here, we propose a combination of pre-training and optimization using a neural network-based mutual information estimation technique (MINE [1]). This construction allows back-propagating the gradient to the calibration parameters and enables stochastic gradient descent. To ensure orthogonality constraints with respect to the rotation matrix we incorporate Lie-group techniques. Furthermore, instead of optimizing on entire images, we operate on local patches that are extracted from the temporally synchronized projected Lidar points and camera frames. Our experiments show that this technique not only improves over existing techniques in terms of accuracy, but also shows considerable generalization capabilities towards new Lidar-camera configurations.

Image novelty detection is a repeating task in computer vision and describes the detection of anomalous images based on a training dataset consisting solely of normal reference data. It has been found that, in particular, neural networks are well-suited for the task. Our approach first transforms the training and test images into ensembles of patches, which enables the assessment of mean-shifts between normal data and outliers. As mean-shifts are only detectable when the outlier ensemble and inlier distribution are spatially separate from each other, a rich feature space, such as a pre-trained neural network, needs to be chosen to represent the extracted patches. For mean-shift estimation, the Hotelling T2 test is used. The size of the patches turned out to be a crucial hyperparameter that needs additional domain knowledge about the spatial size of the expected anomalies (local vs. global). This also affects model selection and the chosen feature space, as commonly used Convolutional Neural Networks or Vision Image Transformers have very different receptive field sizes. To showcase the state-of-the-art capabilities of our approach, we compare results with classical and deep learning methods on the popular dataset CIFAR-10, and demonstrate its real-world applicability in a large-scale industrial inspection scenario using the MVTec dataset. Because of the inexpensive design, our method can be implemented by a single additional 2D-convolution and pooling layer and allows particularly fast prediction times while being very data-efficient.

We are interested in computing a mini-batch-capable end-to-end algorithm to identify statistically independent components (ICA) in large scale and high-dimensional datasets. Current algorithms typically rely on pre-whitened data and do not integrate the two procedures of whitening and ICA estimation. Our online approach estimates a whitening and a rotation matrix with stochastic gradient descent on centered or uncentered data. We show that this can be done efficiently by combining Batch Karhunen-Löwe-Transformation [1] with Lie group techniques. Our algorithm is recursion-free and can be organized as feed-forward neural network which makes the use of GPU acceleration straight-forward. Because of the very fast convergence of Batch KLT, the gradient descent in the Lie group of orthogonal matrices stabilizes quickly. The optimization is further enhanced by integrating ADAM [2], an improved stochastic gradient descent (SGD) technique from the field of deep learning. We test the scaling capabilities by computing the independent components of the well-known ImageNet challenge (144 GB). Due to its robustness with respect to batch and step size, our approach can be used as a drop-in replacement for standard ICA algorithms where memory is a limiting factor.

The detection of anomalous or novel images given a training dataset of only clean reference data (inliers) is an important task in computer vision. We propose a new shallow approach that represents both inlier and outlier images as ensembles of patches, which allows us to effectively detect novelties as mean shifts between reference data and outliers with the Hotelling T2 test. Since mean-shift can only be detected when the outlier ensemble is sufficiently separate from the typical set of the inlier distribution, this typical set acts as a blind spot for novelty detection. We therefore minimize its estimated size as our selection rule for critical hyperparameters, such as, e.g., the size of the patches is crucial. To showcase the capabilities of our approach, we compare results with classical and deep learning methods on the popular datasets MNIST and CIFAR-10, and demonstrate its real-world applicability in a large-scale industrial inspection scenario.

Volterra and Wiener series
(2011)

Volterra and Wiener series are two classes of polynomial representations of nonlinear systems. They are perhaps the best understood and most widely used nonlinear system representations in signal processing and system identification. A Volterra or Wiener representation can be thought of as a natural extension of the classical linear system representation. In addition to the convolution of the input signal with the system's impulse response, the system representation includes a series of nonlinear terms that contain products of increasing order of the input signal with itself. It can be shown that these polynomial extension terms allow for representing a large class of nonlinear systems which basically encompasses all systems with scalar outputs that are time-invariant and have noninfinite memory.

Increasing robustness of handwriting recognition using character N-Gram decoding on large lexica
(2016)

Offline handwriting recognition systems often include a decoding step, that is retrieving the most likely character sequence from the underlying machine learning algorithm. Decoding is sensitive to ranges of weakly predicted characters, caused e.g. by obstructions in the scanned document. We present a new algorithm for robust decoding of handwriting recognizer outputs using character n-grams. Multidimensional hierarchical subsampling artificial neural networks with Long-Short-Term-Memory cells have been successfully applied to offline handwriting recognition. Output activations from such networks, trained with Connectionist Temporal Classification, can be decoded with several different algorithms in order to retrieve the most likely literal string that it represents. We present a new algorithm for decoding the network output while restricting the possible strings to a large lexicon. The index used for this work is an n-gram index with tri-grams used for experimental comparisons. N-grams are extracted from the network output using a backtracking algorithm and each n-gram assigned a mean probability. The decoding result is obtained by intersecting the n-gram hit lists while calculating the total probability for each matched lexicon entry. We conclude with an experimental comparison of different decoding algorithms on a large lexicon.

Recent years have seen the proposal of several different gradient-based optimization methods for training artificial neural networks. Traditional methods include steepest descent with momentum, newer methods are based on per-parameter learning rates and some approximate Newton-step updates. This work contains the result of several experiments comparing different optimization methods. The experiments were targeted at offline handwriting recognition using hierarchical subsampling networks with recurrent LSTM layers. We present an overview of the used optimization methods, the results that were achieved and a discussion of why the methods lead to different results.