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: Research Program

Large-scale learning and optimization

We have entered an era of massive data acquisition, leading to the revival of an old scientific utopia: it should be possible to better understand the world by automatically converting data into knowledge. It is also leading to a new economic paradigm, where data is a valuable asset and a source of activity. Therefore, developing scalable technology to make sense of massive data has become a strategic issue. Computer vision has already started to adapt to these changes.

In particular, very high dimensional models such as deep networks are becoming highly popular and successful for visual recognition. This change is closely related to the advent of big data. On the one hand, these models involve a huge number of parameters and are rich enough to represent well complex objects such as natural images or text corpora. On the other hand, they are prone to overfitting (fitting too closely to training data without being able to generalize to new unseen data) despite regularization; to work well on difficult tasks, they require a large amount of labelled data that has been available only recently. Other cues may explain their success: the deep learning community has made significant engineering efforts, making it possible to learn in a day on a GPU large models that would have required weeks of computations on a traditional CPU, and it has accumulated enough empirical experience to find good hyper-parameters for its networks.

To learn the huge number of parameters of deep hierarchical models requires scalable optimization techniques and large amounts of data to prevent overfitting. This immediately raises two major challenges: how to learn without large amounts of labeled data, or with weakly supervised annotations? How to efficiently learn such huge-dimensional models? To answer the above challenges, we will concentrate on the design and theoretical justifications of deep architectures including our recently proposed deep kernel machines, with a focus on weakly supervised and unsupervised learning, and develop continuous and discrete optimization techniques that push the state of the art in terms of speed and scalability.

This research axis will be developed into three sub-tasks: