Overall Objectives
Research Program
Application Domains
Highlights of the Year
New Software and Platforms
New Results
Bilateral Contracts and Grants with Industry
Partnerships and Cooperations
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Section: Partnerships and Cooperations

European Initiatives

European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant: “VideoWorld” - Jean Ponce

Participants : Jean Ponce, Ivan Laptev, Josef Sivic.

WILLOW will be funded in part from 2011 to 2016 by the ERC Advanced Grant "VideoWorld" awarded to Jean Ponce by the European Research Council.

`Digital video is everywhere, at home, at work, and on the Internet. Yet, effective technology for organizing, retrieving, improving, and editing its content is nowhere to be found. Models for video content, interpretation and manipulation inherited from still imagery are obsolete, and new ones must be invented. With a new convergence between computer vision, machine learning, and signal processing, the time is right for such an endeavor. Concretely, we will develop novel spatio-temporal models of video content learned from training data and capturing both the local appearance and nonrigid motion of the elements—persons and their surroundings—that make up a dynamic scene. We will also develop formal models of the video interpretation process that leave behind the architectures inherited from the world of still images to capture the complex interactions between these elements, yet can be learned effectively despite the sparse annotations typical of video understanding scenarios. Finally, we will propose a unified model for video restoration and editing that builds on recent advances in sparse coding and dictionary learning, and will allow for unprecedented control of the video stream. This project addresses fundamental research issues, but its results are expected to serve as a basis for groundbreaking technological advances for applications as varied as film post-production, video archival, and smart camera phones.'

European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant: “Activia” - Ivan Laptev

Participant : Ivan Laptev.

WILLOW will be funded in part from 2013 to 2017 by the ERC Starting Grant "Activia" awarded to Ivan Laptev by the European Research Council.

`Computer vision is concerned with the automated interpretation of images and video streams. Today's research is (mostly) aimed at answering queries such as 'Is this a picture of a dog?', (classification) or sometimes 'Find the dog in this photo' (detection). While categorisation and detection are useful for many tasks, inferring correct class labels is not the final answer to visual recognition. The categories and locations of objects do not provide direct understanding of their function i.e., how things work, what they can be used for, or how they can act and react. Such an understanding, however, would be highly desirable to answer currently unsolvable queries such as 'Am I in danger?' or 'What can happen in this scene?'. Solving such queries is the aim of this proposal. My goal is to uncover the functional properties of objects and the purpose of actions by addressing visual recognition from a different and yet unexplored perspective. The main novelty of this proposal is to leverage observations of people, i.e., their actions and interactions to automatically learn the use, the purpose and the function of objects and scenes from visual data. The project is timely as it builds upon the two key recent technological advances: (a) the immense progress in visual recognition of objects, scenes and human actions achieved in the last ten years, as well as (b) the emergence of a massive amount of public image and video data now available to train visual models. ACTIVIA addresses fundamental research issues in automated interpretation of dynamic visual scenes, but its results are expected to serve as a basis for ground-breaking technological advances in practical applications. The recognition of functional properties and intentions as explored in this project will directly support high-impact applications such as detection of abnormal events, which are likely to revolutionise today's approaches to crime protection, hazard prevention, elderly care, and many others.'

European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant: “Leap” - Josef Sivic

Participant : Josef Sivic.

The contract has begun on Nov 1st 2014. WILLOW will be funded in part from 2014 to 2018 by the ERC Starting Grant "Leap" awarded to Josef Sivic by the European Research Council.

`People constantly draw on past visual experiences to anticipate future events and better understand, navigate, and interact with their environment, for example, when seeing an angry dog or a quickly approaching car. Currently there is no artificial system with a similar level of visual analysis and prediction capabilities. LEAP is a first step in that direction, leveraging the emerging collective visual memory formed by the unprecedented amount of visual data available in public archives, on the Internet and from surveillance or personal cameras - a complex evolving net of dynamic scenes, distributed across many different data sources, and equipped with plentiful but noisy and incomplete metadata. The goal of this project is to analyze dynamic patterns in this shared visual experience in order (i) to find and quantify their trends; and (ii) learn to predict future events in dynamic scenes. With ever expanding computational resources and this extraordinary data, the main scientific challenge is now to invent new and powerful models adapted to its scale and its spatio-temporal, distributed and dynamic nature. To address this challenge, we will first design new models that generalize across different data sources, where scenes are captured under vastly different imaging conditions such as camera viewpoint, temporal sampling, illumination or resolution. Next, we will develop a framework for finding, describing and quantifying trends that involve measuring long-term changes in many related scenes. Finally, we will develop a methodology and tools for synthesizing complex future predictions from aligned past visual experiences. Our models will be automatically learnt from large-scale, distributed, and asynchronous visual data, coming from different sources and with different forms of readily-available but noisy and incomplete metadata such as text, speech, geotags, scene depth (stereo sensors), or gaze and body motion (wearable sensors). Breakthrough progress on these problems would have profound implications on our everyday lives as well as science and commerce, with safer cars that anticipate the behavior of pedestrians on streets; tools that help doctors monitor, diagnose and predict patients' health; and smart glasses that help people react in unfamiliar situations enabled by the advances from this project.'

EIT-ICT labs: Mobile visual content analysis (Inria)

Participants : Ivan Laptev, Josef Sivic.

The goal of this project within the European EIT-ICT activity is to mature developed technology towards real-world applications as well as transfer technology to industrial partners. Particular focus of this project is on computer vision technology for novel applications with wearable devices. The next generation mobile phones may not be in the pocket but worn by users as glasses continuously capturing audio-video data, providing visual feedback to the user and storing data for future access. Automatic answers to “Where did I leave my keys yesterday?" or “How did this place look like 100 years ago?" enabled by such devices could change our daily life while creating numerous new business opportunities. The output of this activity is new computer vision technology to enable a range of innovative mobile wearable applications.

This is a collaborative effort with S. Carlsson (KTH Stockholm) and J. Laaksonen (Aalto University).