Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Computer and Information Science

First Advisor

Ben Taskar


Human pose estimation from 2D images is one of the most challenging

and computationally-demanding problems in computer vision. Standard

models such as Pictorial Structures consider interactions between

kinematically connected joints or limbs, leading to inference cost

that is quadratic in the number of pixels. As a result, researchers

and practitioners have restricted themselves to simple models which

only measure the quality of limb-pair possibilities by their 2D

geometric plausibility.

In this talk, we propose novel methods which allow for efficient

inference in richer models with data-dependent interactions. First, we

introduce structured prediction cascades, a structured analog of

binary cascaded classifiers, which learn to focus computational effort

where it is needed, filtering out many states cheaply while ensuring

the correct output is unfiltered. Second, we propose a way to

decompose models of human pose with cyclic dependencies into a

collection of tree models, and provide novel methods to impose model

agreement. Finally, we develop a local linear approach that learns

bases centered around modes in the training data, giving us

image-dependent local models which are fast and accurate.

These techniques allow for sparse and efficient inference on the order

of minutes or seconds per image. As a result, we can afford to model

pairwise interaction potentials much more richly with data-dependent

features such as contour continuity, segmentation alignment, color

consistency, optical flow and multiple modes. We show empirically that

these richer models are worthwhile, obtaining significantly more

accurate pose estimation on popular datasets.

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