The error in the error

How large is the classification error? What is the performance of the recognition  system? At the end this is the main question, in applications, in proposing novelties, in comparative studies. But how trustworthy is the number that is measured, how accurate is the error estimate? The most common way to estimate the error of a…

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Pattern recognition and the art of naming

If we really understand something, we are able to express it in words, at least for ourselves. Having the right words available may be essential. Language plays a basic role in thinking, If something new is found, if a new idea pops up the right word can crystallize it in language. By this, it can…

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Pattern recognition: for better or worse?

It starts as an innocent curiosity: humans recognize patterns in the surrounding world. It helps them to communicate and survive. How do they do this? How do they detect a pattern? How is it defined and recognized? However, once it is understood somewhat, it is applied. Pattern recognition is mainly an engineering field after all….

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Qualities and Quantities

Properties can be distinguished in qualities and quantities. In decision making it is essential to know them. If we have to judge a candidate for a position, if we want to buy a car, if we select a restaurant, if we try to find our way through the world, properties of people, objects, observed items…

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Classifying the exception

Exceptions do not follow the rules. That is their nature. Humans know how to handle them. Can that be learnt? Learning a rule One of the first real world datasets I had to handle consisted of the examination results of the two-year propedeuse in physics. Students passed or failed depending on their scores for 15…

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Fraud and pattern recognition

More and more reports appear about fraud in science. Does the field of pattern recognition suffer from fraud as well? Or, does it profit from it? Googling “fraud” and “pattern recognition” almost entirely results in projects, meetings and studies on the use of pattern recognition for fraud detection.The main issue is not fraud in science…

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Recognition, belief or knowledge

Recognition systems have to be trained. An expert is necessary to act as a teacher. He has to know what is what. But … Does he really know, or does he just believe that he knows? Or, does he know that he just believes? And, does he know how good his belief is? Nils Nilsson,…

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Is the neural network model good for pattern recognition? Or, is it too complex, too vague, too clumsy to be of any use in performing applications or in building understanding? The relation between the pattern recognition community and these questions have always been very sensitive. Its history is also interesting for observing how science may…

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Peaking summarized

Pattern recognition learns from examples. Thereby, generalization is needed. This can only be done if the objects, or at least the differences between pattern classes have a finite complexity. That is what peaking teaches us. We will go once more through the steps. (See also our previous discussions on peaking and overtraining). The basic cause…

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Platonic thinking

Everybody tries to understand his world. Some people, the scientists, try to do this in a systematic way. They report their findings in books, journals and at conferences. The starting student may think that there is a single way of doing this, of building knowledge and describing progress. He will be confused on what he…

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