Robust Recognition of Noisy and Superimposed Patterns via Selective Attention

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 12 (NIPS 1999)

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Soo-Young Lee, Michael C. Mozer


In many classification tasks, recognition accuracy is low because input patterns are corrupted by noise or are spatially or temporally overlapping. We propose an approach to overcoming these limitations based on a model of human selective attention. The model, an early selection filter guided by top-down attentional control, entertains each candidate output class in sequence and adjusts attentional gain coefficients in order to produce a strong response for that class. The chosen class is then the one that obtains the strongest response with the least modulation of attention. We present simulation results on classification of corrupted and superimposed handwritten digit patterns, showing a significant improvement in recognition rates. The algorithm has also been applied in the domain of speech recognition, with comparable results.