We have previously described an unsupervised learning procedure that discovers spatially coherent properties of the world by maximizing the information that parameters extracted from different parts of the sensory input convey about some common underlying cause. When given random dot stereograms of curved surfaces, this procedure learns to extract surface depth because that is the property that is coherent across space. It also learns how to interpolate the depth at one location from the depths at nearby locations (Becker and Hinton 1992b). In this paper, we propose two new models that handle surfaces with discontinuities. The first model attempts to detect cases of discontinuities and reject them. The second model develops a mixture of expert interpolators. It learns to detect the locations of discontinuities and to invoke specialized, asymmetric interpolators that do not cross the discontinuities.

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