First Advisor

Melanie Mitchell

Date of Publication

Fall 12-14-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

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


Computer Science


Computer vision, Machine learning, Neural networks (Computer science)



Physical Description

1 online resource (x, 67 pages)


I investigate properties of HMAX, a computational model of hierarchical processing in the primate visual cortex. High-level cortical neurons have been shown to respond highly to particular natural shapes, such as faces. HMAX models this property with a dictionary of natural shapes, called prototypes, that respond to the presence of those shapes. The resulting set of similarity measurements is an effective descriptor for classifying images. Curiously, prior work has shown that replacing the dictionary of natural shapes with entirely random prototypes has little impact on classification performance. This work explores that phenomenon by studying the performance of random prototypes on natural scenes, and by comparing their performance to that of sparse random projections of low-level image features.

Persistent Identifier