Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering

Committee Chair

Gianfranco Doretto

Committee Co-Chair

Bojan Cukic

Committee Member

Mark Culp

Committee Member

Arun Ross

Committee Member

Natalia Schmid


Pervasive and affordable sensor and storage technology enables the acquisition of an ever-rising amount of visual data. The ability to extract semantic information by interpreting, indexing and searching visual data is impacting domains such as surveillance, robotics, intelligence, human- computer interaction, navigation, healthcare, and several others. This further stimulates the investigation of automated extraction techniques that are more efficient, and robust against the many sources of noise affecting the already complex visual data, which is carrying the semantic information of interest. We address the problem by designing novel visual data representations, based on learning data subspace decompositions that are invariant against noise, while being informative for the task at hand. We use this guiding principle to tackle several visual recognition problems, including detection and recognition of human interactions from surveillance video, face recognition in unconstrained environments, and domain generalization for object recognition.;By interpreting visual data with a simple additive noise model, we consider the subspaces spanned by the model portion (model subspace) and the noise portion (variation subspace). We observe that decomposing the variation subspace against the model subspace gives rise to the so-called parity subspace. Decomposing the model subspace against the variation subspace instead gives rise to what we name invariant subspace. We extend the use of kernel techniques for the parity subspace. This enables modeling the highly non-linear temporal trajectories describing human behavior, and performing detection and recognition of human interactions. In addition, we introduce supervised low-rank matrix decomposition techniques for learning the invariant subspace for two other tasks. We learn invariant representations for face recognition from grossly corrupted images, and we learn object recognition classifiers that are invariant to the so-called domain bias.;Extensive experiments using the benchmark datasets publicly available for each of the three tasks, show that learning representations based on subspace decompositions invariant to the sources of noise lead to results comparable or better than the state-of-the-art.