First Advisor

Wayne Wakeland

Date of Publication

Fall 1-23-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Systems Science


Systems Science




Neural networks (Computer science), Artificial intelligence -- Data processing -- Mathematical models, Machine learning -- Mathematical models, Computer vision -- Mathematical models



Physical Description

1 online resource (iv, 37 pages)


One of the most impressive qualities of the brain is its neuro-plasticity. The neocortex has roughly the same structure throughout its whole surface, yet it is involved in a variety of different tasks from vision to motor control, and regions which once performed one task can learn to perform another. Machine learning algorithms which aim to be plausible models of the neocortex should also display this plasticity. One such candidate is the stacked denoising autoencoder (SDA). SDA's have shown promising results in the field of machine perception where they have been used to learn abstract features from unlabeled data. In this thesis I develop a flexible distributed implementation of an SDA and train it on images and audio spectrograms to experimentally determine properties comparable to neuro-plasticity. Specifically, I compare the visual-auditory generalization between a multi-level denoising autoencoder trained with greedy, layer-wise pre-training (GLWPT), to one trained without. I test a hypothesis that multi-modal networks will perform better than uni-modal networks due to the greater generality of features that may be learned. Furthermore, I also test the hypothesis that the magnitude of improvement gained from this multi-modal training is greater when GLWPT is applied than when it is not. My findings indicate that these hypotheses were not confirmed, but that GLWPT still helps multi-modal networks adapt to their second sensory modality.


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