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: Overall Objectives


Computational vision is one of the most challenging research domains in engineering sciences. The aim is to reproduce human visual perception through intelligent processing of visual data. The application domains span from computer aided diagnosis to industrial automation & robotics. The most common mathematical formulation to address such a challenge is through mathematical modeling. In such a context, first the solution of the desired vision task is expressed in the form of a parameterized mathematical model. Given such a model, the next task consists of associating the model parameters with the available observations, which is often called the model-to-data association. The aim of this task is to determine the impact of a parameter choice to the observations and eventually maximize/minimize the adequacy of these parameters with the visual observations. In simple words, the better the solution is, the better it will be able to express and fit the data. This is often achieved through the definition of an objective function on the parametric space of the model. Last, but not least given the definition of the objective function, visual perception is addressed through its optimization with respect to the model parameters. To summarize, computation visual perception involves three aspects, a task-specific definition of a parametric model, a data-specific association of this model with the available observations and last the optimization of the model parameters given the objective and the observations.

Such a chain processing inherits important shortcomings. The curse of dimensionality is often used to express the importance of the model complexity. In simple words, the higher the complexity of the model is, the better its expressive power will be with counter effect the increase of the difficulty of the inference process. Non-linearity is another issue to be addressed which simply states that the association between the model and the data is a (highly) non-linear function and therefore direct inference is almost infeasible. The impact of this aspect is enforced from the curse of non-convexity that characterizes the objective function. Often it lives in high-dimensional spaces and is ill posed making exact inference problematic (in many cases not possible) and computationally expensive. Last, but not least modularity and scalability is another important concern to be addressed in the context of computational vision. The use of task-specific modeling and algorithmic solutions make their portability infeasible and therefore transfer of knowledge from one task to another is not straightforward while the methods do not always scale well with respect either to the dimensionality of the representation or the data.

GALEN aims at proposing innovative techniques towards automatic structuring, interpretation and longitudinal modeling of visual data. In order to address these fundamental problems of computational perception, GALEN investigates the use of discrete models of varying complexity. These methods exhibit an important number of strengths such as their ability to be modular with respect to the input measurements (clinical data), the nature of the model (certain constraints are imposed from computational perspective in terms of the level of interactions), and the model-to-data association while being computational efficient.