Team, Visitors, External Collaborators
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

National Initiatives


Neuroref: Mathematical Models of Anatomy / Neuroanatomy / Diffusion MRI

Participants : Demian Wassermann [Correspondant] , Antonia Machlouzarides Shalit, Valentin Iovene.

While mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) has become the focus of many neuroimaging studies, the understanding of mTBI, particularly in patients who evince no radiological evidence of injury and yet experience clinical and cognitive symptoms, has remained a complex challenge. Sophisticated imaging tools are needed to delineate the kind of subtle brain injury that is extant in these patients, as existing tools are often ill-suited for the diagnosis of mTBI. For example, conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies have focused on seeking a spatially consistent pattern of abnormal signal using statistical analyses that compare average differences between groups, i.e., separating mTBI from healthy controls. While these methods are successful in many diseases, they are not as useful in mTBI, where brain injuries are spatially heterogeneous.

The goal of this proposal is to develop a robust framework to perform subject-specific neuroimaging analyses of Diffusion MRI (dMRI), as this modality has shown excellent sensitivity to brain injuries and can locate subtle brain abnormalities that are not detected using routine clinical neuroradiological readings. New algorithms will be developed to create Individualized Brain Abnormality (IBA) maps that will have a number of clinical and research applications. In this proposal, this technology will be used to analyze a previously acquired dataset from the INTRuST Clinical Consortium, a multi-center effort to study subjects with Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and mTBI. Neuroimaging abnormality measures will be linked to clinical and neuropsychological assessments. This technique will allow us to tease apart neuroimaging differences between PTSD and mTBI and to establish baseline relationships between neuroimaging markers, and clinical and cognitive measures.

DirtyData: Data integration and cleaning for statistical analysis

Participants : Gaël Varoquaux [Correspondant] , Patricio Cerda Reyes, Pierre Glaser.

Machine learning has inspired new markets and applications by extracting new insights from complex and noisy data. However, to perform such analyses, the most costly step is often to prepare the data. It entails correcting errors and inconsistencies as well as transforming the data into a single matrix-shaped table that comprises all interesting descriptors for all observations to study. Indeed, the data often results from merging multiple sources of informations with different conventions. Different data tables may come without names on the columns, with missing data, or with input errors such as typos. As a result, the data cannot be automatically shaped into a matrix for statistical analysis.

This proposal aims to drastically reduce the cost of data preparation by integrating it directly into the statistical analysis. Our key insight is that machine learning itself deals well with noise and errors. Hence, we aim to develop the methodology to do statistical analysis directly on the original dirty data. For this, the operations currently done to clean data before the analysis must be adapted to a statistical framework that captures errors and inconsistencies. Our research agenda is inspired from the data-integration state of the art in database research combined with statistical modeling and regularization from machine learning.

Data integrating and cleaning is traditionally performed in databases by finding fuzzy matches or overlaps and applying transformation rules and joins. To incorporate it in the statistical analysis, an thus propagate uncertainties, we want to revisit those logical and set operations with statistical-learning tools. A challenge is to turn the entities present in the data into representations well-suited for statistical learning that are robust to potential errors but do not wash out uncertainty.

Prior art developed in databases is mostly based on first-order logic and sets. Our project strives to capture errors in the input of the entries. Hence we formulate operations in terms of similarities. We address typing entries, deduplication -finding different forms of the same entity- building joins across dirty tables, and correcting errors and missing data.

Our goal is that these steps should be generic enough to digest directly dirty data without user-defined rules. Indeed, they never try to build a fully clean view of the data, which is something very hard, but rather include in the statistical analysis errors and ambiguities in the data.

The methods developed will be empirically evaluated on a variety of dataset, including the French public-data repository, The consortium comprises a company specialized in data integration, Data Publica, that guides business strategies by cross-analyzing public data with market-specific data.

FastBig Project

Participants : Bertrand Thirion [Correspondant] , Jerome-Alexis Chevalier, Tuan Binh Nguyen.

In many scientific applications, increasingly-large datasets are being acquired to describe more accurately biological or physical phenomena. While the dimensionality of the resulting measures has increased, the number of samples available is often limited, due to physical or financial limits. This results in impressive amounts of complex data observed in small batches of samples.

A question that arises is then : what features in the data are really informative about some outcome of interest ? This amounts to inferring the relationships between these variables and the outcome, conditionally to all other variables. Providing statistical guarantees on these associations is needed in many fields of data science, where competing models require rigorous statistical assessment. Yet reaching such guarantees is very hard.

FAST-BIG aims at developing theoretical results and practical estimation procedures that render statistical inference feasible in such hard cases. We will develop the corresponding software and assess novel inference schemes on two applications : genomics and brain imaging.

MultiFracs project

Participant : Philippe Ciuciu [Correspondant] .

The scale-free concept formalizes the intuition that, in many systems, the analysis of temporal dynamics cannot be grounded on specific and characteristic time scales. The scale-free paradigm has permitted the relevant analysis of numerous applications, very different in nature, ranging from natural phenomena (hydrodynamic turbulence, geophysics, body rhythms, brain activity,...) to human activities (Internet traffic, population, finance, art,...).

Yet, most successes of scale-free analysis were obtained in contexts where data are univariate, homogeneous along time (a single stationary time series), and well-characterized by simple-shape local singularities. For such situations, scale-free dynamics translate into global or local power laws, which significantly eases practical analyses. Numerous recent real-world applications (macroscopic spontaneous brain dynamics, the central application in this project, being one paradigm example), however, naturally entail large multivariate data (many signals), whose properties vary along time (non-stationarity) and across components (non-homogeneity), with potentially complex temporal dynamics, thus intricate local singular behaviors.

These three issues call into question the intuitive and founding identification of scale-free to power laws, and thus make uneasy multivariate scale-free and multifractal analyses, precluding the use of univariate methodologies. This explains why the concept of scale-free dynamics is barely used and with limited successes in such settings and highlights the overriding need for a systematic methodological study of multivariate scale-free and multifractal dynamics. The Core Theme of MULTIFRACS consists in laying the theoretical foundations of a practical robust statistical signal processing framework for multivariate non homogeneous scale-free and multifractal analyses, suited to varied types of rich singularities, as well as in performing accurate analyses of scale-free dynamics in spontaneous and task-related macroscopic brain activity, to assess their natures, functional roles and relevance, and their relations to behavioral performance in a timing estimation task using multimodal functional imaging techniques.

This overarching objective is organized into 4 Challenges:

  1. Multivariate scale-free and multifractal analysis,

  2. Second generation of local singularity indices,

  3. Scale-free dynamics, non-stationarity and non-homogeneity,

  4. Multivariate scale-free temporal dynamics analysis in macroscopic brain activity.

DARLING: Distributed adaptation and learning over graph signals

Participant : Philippe Ciuciu [Correspondant] .

The project will be starting in 2020 with a post-doc to be hired probably in 2021.

The DARLING project will aim to propose new adaptive learning methods, distributed and collaborative on large dynamic graphs in order to extract structured information of the data flows generated and/or transiting at the nodes of these graphs. In order to obtain performance guarantees, these methods will be systematically accompanied by an in-depth study of random matrix theory. This powerful tool , never exploited so far in this context although perfectly suited for inference on random graphs, will thereby provide even avenues for improvement. Finally, in addition to their evaluation on public data sets, the methods will be compared with each other using two advanced imaging techniques in which two of the partners are involved: radio astronomy with the giant SKA instrument (Obs. Côte d'Azur) and magnetoencephalographic brain imaging (Inria Parietal at NeuroSpin, CEA Saclay). These involve the processing of time series on graphs while operating at extreme observation scales. Standardization, sharing and analysis of MEEG data simplified by BIDS

Participant : Alexandre Gramfort [Correspondant] .

The project accepted by ANR in 2019 will be starting in 2020 with an engineer to be hired in 2020. This project is in collaboration with the MEG groups at CEA NeuroSpin and the Brain and Spine Institute (ICM) in Paris.

The neuroimaging community recently started an international effort to standardize the sharing of data recorded with magnetoencephalography (MEG) and with electroencephalography (EEG). This format, known as the Brain Imaging Data Structure (BIDS), now needs a wider adoption, notably in the French neuroimaging community, along with the development of dedicated software tools that operate seamlessly on BIDS formatted datasets. The project has three aims: 1) accelerate the research cycles by allowing analysis software tools to work with BIDS formated data, 2) simplify data sharing with high quality standards thanks to automated validation tools, 3) train French neuroscientists to leverage existing public BIDS MEG/EEG datasets and to share their own data with little efforts.