About

I am an associate professor of Applied Mathematics in the Faculty of Science at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. My research is primarily focused around applied machine learning. I have worked in the domains of probabilistic robotics and computer vision for many years, have some recent experience in computational linguistics and reinforcement learning, and currently focus mainly on representation learning and low-resource computer vision. I like working on applications for nature conservation and social impact, and I am passionate about building and serving machine learning communities all across the African continent.

I completed an MSc in Applied Mathematics at Stellenbosch in 2005, and a PhD in Computer Science at Sheffield Hallam University in the UK in 2008. After about a year of postdoc work at South Africa's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, I returned to Stellenbosch in 2009 where I have been teaching a variety of undergrad and postgrad courses in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science, and working with many amazing grad students.

Office:  Room A311, General Engineering Building, Banghoek Road        Email:  wbrink [at] sun [dot] ac [dot] za        Phone:  +27 (0)21 808 4218

Community engagement

Deep Learning Indaba
The Deep Learning Indaba is an organisation whose mission is to strengthen machine learning and artificial intelligence in Africa. We work towards the goal of Africans being not only observers and receivers of ongoing advances, but active shapers and owners of these technologies. Visit our website to find out more!

Maties Machine Learning
Herman Kamper and I created MML in 2018, in an effort to bring together researchers and students from across departments and faculties of Stellenbosch University. It is primarily a seminar series and discussion forum, and anyone at the university interested in machine learning is most welcome to join us.

Teaching

Courses I am teaching in 2021:

Other courses I've taught in the past:

  •   •   AM244  Applied Differential Equations

  •   •   NM262  Numerical Methods for Engineers

  •   •   AM324  Numerical Analysis

  •   •   CS364  Computer Vision

  •   •   AM793  Digital Image Processing

Coming 2022:

  •   •   a one-year structured MSc in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence   (watch this space!)

Graduate students

  •   •   Shane Josias (PhD)

  •   •   Samuel Mensah (PhD, co-supervised with Bubacarr Bah)

  •   •   Jama Mohamud (PhD, co-supervised with Ulrich Paquet)

  •   •   Dries Smit (PhD, co-supervised with Herman Engelbrecht)

  •   •   Wian Crous (MSc)

  •   •   Fred de Villiers (MSc, co-supervised with Benjamin Rosman)

  •   •   Mikkel du Plessis (MSc)

  •   •   Christiaan Louw (MSc)

  •   •   Mulanga Makhubele (MSc)

  •   •   Evander Nyoni (MSc, co-supervised with Bruce Bassett)

Publications and preprints

  1. Class-selective mini-batching and multitask learning for visual relationship recognition
    Shane Josias, Willie Brink
    SAIEE Africa Research Journal, to appear, 2021

  2. BINet: a binary inpainting network for deep patch-based image compression  [link] [arXiv]
    André Nortje, Willie Brink, Herman Engelbrecht, Herman Kamper
    Signal Processing: Image Communication, vol. 29, art. 116119, 2021

  3. Towards the localisation of lesions in diabetic retinopathy
    Samuel Mensah, Bubacarr Bah, Willie Brink
    Computing Conference, to appear, 2021

  4. Link prediction in knowledge graphs using latent feature modelling and neural tensor factorisation  [pdf]
    Luyolo Magangane, Willie Brink
    Southern African Conference for Artificial Intelligence Research (SACAIR), pp. 335-348, 2020

  5. Image identification of Protea species with attributes and subgenus scaling  [pdf]
    Peter Thompson, Willie Brink
    IEEE Winter Conference on Applications of Computer Vision (WACV), pp. 2094-2102, 2020

  6. Learning fine-grained control for mapless navigation  [pdf]
    Fred de Villiers, Willie Brink
    SAUPEC/RobMech/PRASA Conference, pp. 666-671, 2020

  7. Batch construction and multitask learning in visual relationship recognition  [pdf]
    Shane Josias, Willie Brink
    SAUPEC/RobMech/PRASA Conference, pp. 713-718, 2020

  8. Towards automating healthcare question answering in a noisy multilingual low-resource setting  [pdf]
    Jeanne Daniel, Willie Brink, Ryan Eloff, Charles Copley
    Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL), pp. 948-953, 2019

  9. Short-term stream flow forecasting at Australian river sites using data-driven regression techniques  [pdf]
    Melise Steyn, Josefine Wilms, Willie Brink, Francois Smit
    International Work-Conference on Time Series (ITISE), pp. 865-876, 2017

  10. A method for three-dimensional stem analysis and its application in a study on the occurrence of resin pockets in Pinus patula  [link]
    Frederick Lerm, Melanie Blumentritt, Willie Brink, Brand Wessels
    European Journal of Forest Research, vol. 136, no. 3, pp. 411-420, 2017

  11. A probabilistic graphical model approach to the structure-and-motion problem  [pdf]
    Simon Streicher, Willie Brink, Johan du Preez
    PRASA-RobMech International Conference, paper 8, 2016

  12. Text detection in natural images with convolutional neural networks and synthetic training data  [pdf]
    Marco Grond, Willie Brink, Ben Herbst
    PRASA-RobMech International Conference, paper 20, 2016

  13. The application of support vector regression for stream flow prediction on the Amazon basin  [pdf]
    Melise du Toit, Josefine Wilms, Francois Smit, Willie Brink
    Conference of the South African Society for Atmospheric Sciences, pp. 25-28, 2016

  14. Pose uncertainty in occupancy grids through Monte Carlo integration  [link]
    Daniek Joubert, Willie Brink, Ben Herbst
    Journal of Intelligent & Robotic Systems, vol. 77, no. 1, pp. 5-16, 2015

  15. Long-term tracking of multiple interacting pedestrians using a single camera  [pdf]
    Mogomotsi Keaikitse, Willie Brink, Natasha Govender
    PRASA, RobMech and AfLaT International Joint Symposium, pp. 59-65, 2014

  16. Pose uncertainty in occupancy grids through Monte Carlo integration  [pdf]
    Daniek Joubert, Willie Brink, Ben Herbst
    International Conference on Advanced Robotics (ICAR), paper 90, 2013

  17. FastSLAM with stereo vision  [pdf]
    Wikus Brink, Willie Brink, Corné van Daalen
    Annual Symposium of the Pattern Recognition Association of South Africa (PRASA), pp. 24-30, 2012

  18. Probabilistic outlier removal for robust landmark identification in stereo vision based SLAM  [pdf]
    Wikus Brink, Willie Brink, Corné van Daalen
    IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), pp. 2822-2827, 2012

  19. Scene reconstruction from uncontrolled motion using a low cost 3D sensor  [pdf]
    Pierre Joubert, Willie Brink
    Annual Symposium of the Pattern Recognition Association of South Africa (PRASA), pp. 13-18, 2011

  20. Stereo vision as a sensor for EKF SLAM  [pdf]
    Wikus Brink, Willie Brink, Corné van Daalen
    Annual Symposium of the Pattern Recognition Association of South Africa (PRASA), pp. 19-24, 2011

  21. A mesh-based approach to incremental range image integration  [pdf]
    Daniek Joubert, Willie Brink
    Annual Symposium of the Pattern Recognition Association of South Africa (PRASA), pp. 74-79, 2011

  22. Graph cut segmentation of range images into planar regions  [pdf]
    Simon Muller, Willie Brink
    Annual Symposium of the Pattern Recognition Association of South Africa (PRASA), pp. 108-113, 2011

  23. Gain scheduling control of monocular vision-based human-following robot  [pdf]
    Michael Burke, Willie Brink
    World Congress of the International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC), pp. 8177-8182, 2011

  24. Dense stereo correspondence for uncalibrated images in multiple view reconstruction  [pdf]
    Willie Brink, Daniek Joubert, Francois Singels
    Annual Symposium of the Pattern Recognition Association of South Africa (PRASA), pp. 39-44, 2010

  25. Estimating target orientation with a single camera for use in a human-following robot  [pdf]
    Michael Burke, Willie Brink
    Annual Symposium of the Pattern Recognition Association of South Africa (PRASA), pp. 51-56, 2010

  26. Multi-view 3D position estimation of sports players  [pdf]
    Robbie Vos, Willie Brink
    Annual Symposium of the Pattern Recognition Association of South Africa (PRASA), pp. 299-304, 2010

  27. Applying Bayesian segmentation in volumetric silhouette-based reconstruction  [pdf]
    Willie Brink
    Annual Symposium of the Pattern Recognition Association of South Africa (PRASA), pp. 17-22, 2009

  28. Real-time stereo reconstruction through hierarchical DP and LULU filtering  [pdf]
    Francois Singels, Willie Brink
    Annual Symposium of the Pattern Recognition Association of South Africa (PRASA), pp. 41-46, 2009

  29. Combining motion detection and hierarchical particle filter tracking in a multi-player sports environment  [pdf]
    Robbie Vos, Willie Brink
    Annual Symposium of the Pattern Recognition Association of South Africa (PRASA), pp. 65-70, 2009

  30. Real-time surface tracking with uncoded structured light  [pdf]
    Willie Brink
    Annual Symposium of the Pattern Recognition Association of South Africa (PRASA), pp. 91-95, 2008

  31. Indexing uncoded stripe patterns in structured light systems by maximum spanning trees  [pdf]
    Willie Brink, Alan Robinson, Marcos Rodrigues
    British Machine Vision Conference (BMVC), pp. 575-584, 2008

  32. Willmore energy vs area as criteria for mesh optimisation  [pdf]
    Willie Brink, Lyuba Alboul
    Numerical Geometry, Grid Generation and High Performance Computing, pp. 6-12, 2006

  33. Mesh optimisation based on Willmore energy  [pdf]
    Lyuba Alboul, Willie Brink, Marcos Rodrigues
    European Workshop on Computational Geometry, pp. 133-136, 2006

Previous graduate students

  • Luyolo Magangane  (MSc, 2020)
    Link prediction in knowledge graphs using latent feature modelling and neural tensor factorisation  [link]

  • Gregory Newman  (MSc, 2020)
    Video classification using deep learning  [link]

  • Reem Elmahdi  (MSc, 2020)
    Predicting water quality variables  [link]

  • Shane Josias  (MSc, 2020)
    Multitask learning and data distribution search in visual relationship recognition  [link]

  • Jeanne Daniel  (MSc, 2020)
    Applications of natural language processing for low-resource languages in the healthcare domain  [link]

  • Peter Thompson  (MSc, 2020)
    Image and attribute identification of Protea species  [link]

  • Simbarashe Nyatsanga  (MSc, 2020)
    Automatic video captioning using spatiotemporal convolutions on temporally sampled frames  [link]

  • Belinda Matebese  (PhD, 2019)
    Path planning for wheeled mobile robots using an optimal control approach  [link]

  • Jaco Briers  (MSc, 2019)
    Data-driven river flow routing using deep learning  [link]

  • Russell Kingwill  (MSc, 2019)
    Evaluating the effectiveness of neural network techniques in the forecasting of South African basic fuel prices  [link]

  • Jacques Marais  (MSc, 2018)
    Automated elephant detection and classification from aerial infrared and colour images using deep learning  [link]

  • Melise Steyn  (MSc, 2018)
    Short-term stream flow forecasting and downstream gap infilling using machine learning techniques  [link]

  • Marco Grond  (MSc, 2017)
    Text detection in natural images using convolutional neural networks  [link]

  • Simon Streicher  (MSc, 2016)
    A probabilistic graphical model approach to solving the structure and motion problem  [link]

  • Gideon Zuurmond  (MSc, 2015)
    Accurate camera position determination by means of moiré pattern analysis  [link]

  • Alwyn Burger  (MEng, 2015)
    Occupancy grid mapping using stereo vision  [link]

  • Pieter Holtzhausen  (PhD, 2015)
    Video surveillance incorporating pan-tilt-zoom cameras  [link]

  • Lloyd Hughes  (MSc, 2014)
    Enhancing mobile camera pose estimation through the inclusion of sensors  [link]

  • Pierre Joubert  (MSc, 2014)
    Thermal and colour data fusion for people detection and tracking  [link]

  • Mogomotsi Keaikitse  (MSc, 2014)
    Long-term tracking of multiple interacting pedestrians using a single camera  [link]

  • Simon Muller  (MSc, 2013)
    Planar segmentation of range images  [link]

  • Wikus Brink  (MEng, 2012)
    Stereo vision for simultaneous localization and mapping  [link]

  • Daniek Joubert  (MSc, 2012)
    Adaptive occupancy grid mapping with measurement and pose uncertainty  [link]

  • Michael Burke  (MEng, 2011)
    Visual servo control for a human-following robot  [link]

  • Robbie Vos  (MSc, 2010)
    3D position estimation of sports-players through multi-view tracking

  • Francois Singels  (MSc, 2010)
    Real-time stereo reconstruction using hierarchical dynamic programming and LULU filtering  [link]

Last updated: 2 March 2021