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BPL model for one-shot learning

Matlab source code for one-shot learning of handwritten characters with Bayesian Program Learning (BPL).

Citing this code

Please cite the following paper:

Lake, B. M., Salakhutdinov, R., and Tenenbaum, J. B. (2015). Human-level concept learning through probabilistic program induction. Science, 350(6266), 1332-1338.


Matlab Toolboxes
Optimization Toolbox
Statistics Toolbox (before R2015a) OR Statistics and Machine Learning Toolbox
Image Processing Toolbox
Curve Fitting Toolbox

The Lightspeed Matlab toolbox
Please install and add the lightspeed functions to your Matlab path.

The Omniglot data set
Place these two Omniglot files in the 'data/' directory:

Using the code

Setting your path
First, you must add all of the sub-directories to your Matlab path. While in the main BPL directory type this command:


Pre-processing stroke data
This only needs to be run once, and it can take up to 5 minutes to complete. From the 'data' directory, run:


This will create the 'data_background_processed.mat' and the 'data_evaluation_processed.mat' files for accessing the Omniglot dataset with pre-processed stroke data.

Parsing demo
To run the model fitting demo, type


One-shot classification
First, download the pre-computed models and unzip such that 'model_fits' and 'model_refits' are sub-directories of the 'classification' directory.

To run the model re-fitting demo, enter the 'classification' directory and type:


To measure classification error rate with the pre-computed results, type:


One-shot exemplar generation

First, enter the 'generate_exemplars' directory and unzip '' so 'model_fits' is now a sub-directory. These are the pre-computed models that were used in the exemplar generation visual Turing tests.

To run the exemplar generation demo, from within the 'generate_exemplars' directory type:


Computing resources

Most experiments will require a multi-CPU cluster to run in a reasonable amount of time. Fitting motor programs to images of characters can be run in parallel.

The parsing and one-shot classification demos include a 'fast_mode' option (on by default) which allows for the demo to run quickly, skipping the expensive procedure of fitting the strokes to the details of the image. Use this mode with caution, as this mode is much cruder and was not used in the paper results.


Code was developed and tested on MATLAB R2013a and Lightspeed toolbox version 2.6.

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