Richard E. Turner

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The brain extracts useful features from a maelstrom of sensory information, and a fundamental goal of theoretical neuroscience is to work out how it does so. One proposed feature extraction strategy is motivated by the observation that the meaning of sensory data, such as the identity of a moving visual object, is often more persistent than the activation(More)
Computational models of visual cortex, and in particular those based on sparse coding, have enjoyed much recent attention. Despite this currency, the question of how sparse or how over-complete a sparse representation should be, has gone without principled answer. Here, we use Bayesian model-selection methods to address these questions for a sparse-coding(More)
There is information in speech sounds about the length of the vocal tract; specifically, as a child grows, the resonators in the vocal tract grow and the formant frequencies of the vowels decrease. It has been hypothesized that the auditory system applies a scale transform to all sounds to segregate size information from resonator shape information, and(More)
The visual system must learn to infer the presence of objects and features in the world from the images it encounters, and as such it must, either implicitly or explicitly, model the way these elements interact to create the image. Do the response properties of cells in the mammalian visual system reflect this constraint? To address this question, we(More)
Model-free deep reinforcement learning (RL) methods have been successful in a wide variety of simulated domains. However, a major obstacle facing deep RL in the real world is the high sample complexity of such methods. Unbiased batch policy-gradient methods offer stable learning, but at the cost of high variance, which often requires large batches, while(More)
Variational methods are a key component of the approximate inference and learning toolbox. These methods fill an important middle ground, retaining distributional information about uncertainty in latent variables, unlike maximum a posteriori methods (MAP), and yet requiring fewer computational resources than Monte Carlo Markov Chain methods. In particular(More)
It is important to understand the rich structure of natural sounds in order to solve important tasks, like automatic speech recognition, and to understand auditory processing in the brain. This thesis takes a step in this direction by characterising the statistics of simple natural sounds. We focus on the statistics because perception often appears to(More)