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A novel learning procedure, called FloatBoost, is proposed for learning a boosted classifier for achieving the minimum error rate. FloatBoost learning uses a backtrack mechanism after each iteration of AdaBoost learning to minimize the error rate directly, rather than minimizing an exponential function of the margin as in the traditional AdaBoost algorithms. A second contribution of the paper is a novel statistical model for learning best weak classifiers using a stagewise approximation of the posterior probability. These novel techniques lead to a classifier which requires fewer weak classifiers than AdaBoost yet achieves lower error rates in both training and testing, as demonstrated by extensive experiments. Applied to face detection, the FloatBoost learning method, together with a proposed detector pyramid architecture, leads to the first real-time multiview face detection system reported.