Attribute-driven transfer learning for detecting novel buried threats with ground-penetrating radar

TitleAttribute-driven transfer learning for detecting novel buried threats with ground-penetrating radar
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsColwell, KA, and Collins, LM
Conference NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Date Published01/2016

© 2016 SPIE.Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) technology is an effective method of detecting buried explosive threats. The system uses a binary classifier to distinguish "targets", or buried threats, from "nontargets" arising from system prescreener false alarms; this classifier is trained on a dataset of previously-observed buried threat types. However, the threat environment is not static, and new threat types that appear must be effectively detected even if they are not highly similar to every previously-observed type. Gathering a new dataset that includes a new threat type is expensive and time-consuming; minimizing the amount of new data required to effectively detect the new type is therefore valuable. This research aims to reduce the number of training examples needed to effectively detect new types using transfer learning, which leverages previous learning tasks to accelerate and improve new ones. Further, new types have attribute data, such as composition, components, construction, and size, which can be observed without GPR and typically are not explicitly included in the learning process. Since attribute tags for buried threats determine many aspects of their GPR representation, a new threat type's attributes can be highly relevant to the transfer-learning process. In this work, attribute data is used to drive transfer learning, both by using attributes to select relevant dataset examples for classifier fusion, and by extending a relevance vector machine (RVM) model to perform intelligent attribute clustering and selection. Classification performance results for both the attribute-only case and the low-data case are presented, using a dataset containing a variety of threat types.