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Biological Vision Systems 2017 (3hp)

The human visual system is able to solve perceptual problems beyond current state-of-the-art in computer vision. The mammalian gaze-control and retinal stabilization systems also comprise one of the fastest control systems known in the animal kingdom. In this course we will read and analyze selected papers and book chapters on biological vision, in a critical review format.

Here's an xkcd take on the subject . (Thanks Jörgen!)


The course consists of a series of seminars, where selected scientific publications, and book chapters are presented and reviewed. The participants will themselves read, present, and review the material as part of the examination. The course is worth 3hp, where 2hp is awarded for a seminar presentation plus 3 attendances, and 1hp is awarded for a critical review.

The course is organized by Per-Erik Forssén , and Michael Felsberg.

Course Registration

If you want to participate, send an email to either of us with: Full name, Personal number, PhD supervisor, preferred contact email (if different from sending email). This should preferably be done before September 1.

The Seminar Format

The seminars are meant to be interactive, and are opportunities to reflect on the text. Each 2h seminar consists of two parts, a presentation and a review:

1. The presentation. During the first half of a seminar, one student presents the text. (approx. 30min, plus 15 min interleaved discussion time.) All other participating students should also read the seminar text beforehand, and each one should prepare two discussion topics, which are to be brought up during the presentation.
2. The review. After the break, one student does a critical review. The job of the reviewer is to relate the seminar topic to other things, such as e.g.: Competing theories, Other course themes, Optics, Computer Vision, and Systems Theory. Prepare approximately 10 review items. The items should be presented in such a way that all participants are encouraged to discuss them.

Course Schedule

The course features weekly seminars, on Wednesdays 9-11. The series starts with an introductory seminar, where we introduce the human visual system, discuss the course format, and give an overview of the course topics. After this, the main block of seminars start. In the schedule below we will add a list of texts, organized according to four themes: mechanics, action, perception, and learning. In practice these are of course all intertwined in any the visual system, and we will discuss interactions throughout the course.

Actual seminar content depends on the number of participants, and thus the seminar articles will be decided after September 1, when everyone has registered. Examples of the type of articles used can be found on the BioVis 2013 homepage.

Introductory Seminar

  • September 13, 9.15-11 Visionen, Konf. rum. Introductory lecture. [PDF]
    1. Overview of the Human Visual System.
    2. Discussion of the course format.
    3. Assignment of presenters and reviewers.

Eye Mechanics and Physics of Image Formation

  • A1: M. F. Land Dan-Eric Nilsson, "Animal Eyes", Book 2002, Chapter 1 "The Origin of Vision" [URL]
    P: Karl, R: Joakim
  • A2: M. Findlay and I. D Gilchrist, "Active Vision, the physiology of looking and seeing", Chapter 2: "Background to Active Vision". 2003 [PDF]
    P: Joakim, R: Andreas

Active Vision

  • A3: M. F. Land "Motion and vision: why animals move their eyes", Comp Physiol A (1999) [PDF]
    P:Emil, R:Amanda
  • A4: Melvyn A. Goodale and A. David Milner, "Separate visual pathways for perception and action", TINS 1(15) 1992 [PDF]
    P:Abdo, R:Felix
    Also: Milner, Goodale, "The Visual Brain in Action" Psyche 4(12) 1998 [PDF]
    Also: Chinellato CSM16 PDF
  • A5: M. F. Land "Eye movements and the control of actions in everyday life", RER2006 [PDF]
    P:Amanda, R:Karl

Perceptual Organization

  • A6A:A. Borst and J. Haag, "Neural networks in the cockpit of the fly", JCPA2002 [PDF]
  • A6B: T. Baden et al. "The functional diversity of retinal ganglion cells in the mouse", Nature 2016 [URL]
    P:Felix, R:Gustav

Visual Learning

  • A7A: Maximilian Riesenhuber and Tomaso Poggio, "Hierarchical models of object recognition in cortex", Nature Neuroscience 1999 [PDF]
  • A7B: George Azzopardi and Nicolai Petkov "Ventral-stream-like shape representation: from pixel intensity values to trainable object-selective COSFIRE models", Comp. Neurosci. 2014.[URL]
    P:Andreas, R:Abdo
  • A8:Tomaso Poggio, Emilio Bizzi, "Generalization in vision and motor control", Nature 2004. [PDF]
    P:Gustav, R:Emil


While many of the seminars are centered around articles, several of them also come from the following two books. It is recommended that the participants obtain their own copies of them:
  1. James V. Stone, Vision and Brain: How We Perceive the World , MIT Press 2012
  2. John M. Findlay and Iain D. Gilchrist, Active Vision: The Physiology of Looking and Seeing , Oxford University Press 2003

Senast uppdaterad: 2017-09-20