The Wreath Process: A totally generative model of geometric shape based on nested symmetries

9 Jun 2015  ·  Diana Borsa, Thore Graepel, Andrew Gordon ·

We consider the problem of modelling noisy but highly symmetric shapes that can be viewed as hierarchies of whole-part relationships in which higher level objects are composed of transformed collections of lower level objects. To this end, we propose the stochastic wreath process, a fully generative probabilistic model of drawings. Following Leyton's "Generative Theory of Shape", we represent shapes as sequences of transformation groups composed through a wreath product. This representation emphasizes the maximization of transfer --- the idea that the most compact and meaningful representation of a given shape is achieved by maximizing the re-use of existing building blocks or parts. The proposed stochastic wreath process extends Leyton's theory by defining a probability distribution over geometric shapes in terms of noise processes that are aligned with the generative group structure of the shape. We propose an inference scheme for recovering the generative history of given images in terms of the wreath process using reversible jump Markov chain Monte Carlo methods and Approximate Bayesian Computation. In the context of sketching we demonstrate the feasibility and limitations of this approach on model-generated and real data.

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