Johannes Burge (PhD, UC Berkeley) joined the Center for Perceptual Systems to work with Bill Geisler in August, 2009. He completed his undergraduate degree at Stanford University where he majored in Psychology and minored in Mathematics.
A fundamental goal of vision science is to understand visual function under natural conditions. However, natural stimuli are extremely complicated and difficult to characterize mathematically. As a result, most vision research has investigated visual processing with artificial stimuli that are easier to characterize. This has left important gaps in our knowledge of the human visual system.
The primary aims of Johannes's research are (i) to understand the computations that optimally transform sensory information in natural images into behaviorally relevant representations of the environment and (ii) to understand the computations that humans and other animals actually use. He develops tools to enable the rigorous characterization of natural stimuli and applies these tools to the study of specific natural tasks. Many times, the methods that are developed for the study of one task in one organism can be applied to other tasks in other organisms.
His current work is focused on understanding how to estimate depth from natural images. He has developed computational methods for optimally estimating individual depth cues in natural images (e.g. defocus, disparity, motion). He is using psychophysical methods to estimate how accurately humans estimate those depth cues. And he is planning computational and psychophysical studies that will investigate the combination of those depth cues in natural images. He is also developing methods for how known neurophysiological mechanisms can perform the optimal computations. Previous work has included research on natural scene statistics, wave-optics, cue-combination, cue-calibration, and visuo-motor adaptation. Some of his work has direct technological applications.
Visit Johannes's website to view his publications and find out more about his research: http://jburge.cps.utexas.edu