Bayesian Multiple Target Localization

author: Peter I. Frazier, School of Operations Research and Information Engineering, Cornell University
published: Sept. 27, 2015,   recorded: July 2015,   views: 1518

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We consider the problem of quickly localizing multiple targets by asking questions of the form ``How many targets are within this set" while obtaining noisy answers. This setting is a generalization to multiple targets of the game of 20 questions in which only a single target is queried. We assume that the targets are points on the real line, or in a two dimensional plane for the experiments, drawn independently from a known distribution. We evaluate the performance of a policy using the expected entropy of the posterior distribution after a fixed number of questions with noisy answers. We derive a lower bound for the value of this problem and study a specific policy, named the dyadic policy. We show that this policy achieves a value which is no more than twice this lower bound when answers are noise-free, and show a more general constant factor approximation guarantee for the noisy setting. We present an empirical evaluation of this policy on simulated data for the problem of detecting multiple instances of the same object in an image. Finally, we present experiments on localizing multiple faces simultaneously on real images.

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