Emeritus Professor Univ. Grenoble-Alpes
I participates and managed many projects during my academic carreer, in cooperation with researchers of GIPSA-lab and of other laboratories in France and abroad.

My projects were focused on methods in statistical processing, especially neural networks, source separation and its applications in audio-video speech processing, hyperspectral imaging and biomedical engineering (ECG, EEG/MEG/fMRI), brain-computer interfaces and processing on the Riemannian manifold.

These projects have been funded  either by the French Research Agency, by European Research or by private companies.

During the last pas 6 years, I worked on a European Research Council project: Challenges on Extraction and Separation of Sources (CHESS). This is and ERC Advanced grant, which began on March 2013 for 5 years, with 2.5 million Euros funding.

Summary of the ERC CHESS project


The CHESS project addresses 3 challenges in extraction and separation of sources.

The first challenge concerns source separation for multimodal recordings. In fact, multimodal recordings can be due to different devices (e.g. EEG and MEG in brain imaging), different time (space) windows for studying dynamics of data along time (space), or different subjects (e.g. patients) recorded by the same device. Although these situations are very different, from a theoretical point of view, they require to jointly process multiple datasets (one per modality) with interactions between them. This challenge relates to data fusion, but the main goal in CHESS is to develop comprehensive foundations and generic methods for multimodal processing instead of designing ad hoc algorithms.
We propose a new source separation model assuming multidimensional sources and multimodal recordings. This model extends independent component analysis (ICA), independent vector analysis (IVA) and independent subspace analysis (ISA). Results, some of them based on generalization of Schur’s Lemma, show that multimodality, provided that hard or soft interactions exist between datasets, leads to relaxed conditions for source identifiability and uniqueness.
The core of multimodal models is the interaction between datasets. For multi-devices or multi-temporal data sets, we develop a general and flexible framework suited to a vast class of models with interaction, e.g. when datasets share common, correlated or weakly related factors, or with factors varying along data sets. This leads to algorithmic implementations, based on non convex optimization with constraints: the cost function contains a classical data fit term, completed by regularization terms, modeling interactions between the datasets.
More generally, performance in joint processing of multimodal recordings is usually assumed better than that achieved using only one recording coming from a unique modality. But, in the literature, there are results in contradiction with this claim. We then studied, in an information theoretic approach, the benefits or disadvantages of using two or more modalities. Our results explain how different sampling rates, SNRs in each modality and correlation between modalities influence estimation performance.

The second challenge focuses on source separation in nonlinear mixtures. A new generic approach consists in replacing the time-invariant nonlinear mixture of sources by a time-varying linear mixture of the derivatives of the sources. This idea only requires mild conditions, i.e. the nonlinear model to be differentiable and sources to be smooth enough. It leads to theoretical proof of identifiability and new algorithms. A second, very generic approach too, is based on the fact that the Gaussian process property is lost when mixed nonlinearly with polynomial. Thus, Gaussian process can be used as a criterion for separating colored sources satisfying Gaussian process model, using simple second-order statistics. Main applications are focused on processing signals coming from ion-sensitive or gas sensor arrays.

The third challenge (extraction of sources in high- or low-dimension data) has been explored in three multimodal applicative frameworks: PCG/ECG based non-invasive fetal heart extraction, audio-video speech separation, gaze-EEG recordings, and hyperscanning. Typically, we design methods, which exploit simple hints of the sources of interest: hints can be properties like quasi-periodicity or simple binary information coming from one modality. For hyperscanning, we show that approximate joint diagonalizer of a set of matrices is related to the geometric mean of those matrices. This finding links blind source separation to classification on Riemannian manifold.

More details, and especially all the CHESS publications, can be found on the ERC web pages of the CHESS project or on the open-access site HAL using the acronym CHESS in “European project” topics.

International cooperations

Since 2004, I have strong cooperations with Prof. M. Babaie-Zadeh from Sharif University of Tecnology (Tehran, Iran) and his research team (since 2004). The cooperation is supported by bilateral (France-Iran) funding in the framework of the GundhiShapour program, and we supervised together a few PhDs in co-cotuelle. The research we are doing together is focused on sparse component analysis (SCA), source separation in under-determined mixtures and applications in various domains, from image denoising, biomedical engineering to digital communications.

I also have cooperations on fetal ECG extraction with Prof. M. Shamsollahi from Sharif University of Tecnology (Tehran, Iran), Prof. R. Sameni from Shiraz university (Iran) and Prof. G. Clifford (MIT, USA, then Oxford, UK, and now Atlanta Univ., USA), mainly on ECG modeling and noninvasive fetal ECG extraction. First results developed by Prof. R. Sameni during his PhD have been patented and are exploited by the US compagny MindChild.

I also have a regular cooperation since 2010 with Prof. L. Duarte at Univ. of Campinas. This cooperation is mainly focused on source separation in nonlinear mixtures, with applications in chemical sensing.

During the ERC CHESS project, in addition to the above collaborations, I have a strong cooperation with Prof. T. Adali (Univ. of Maryland, Baltimore County), on the fusion of multimodal data. This cooperation appear with special sessions or tutorials in international conferences, a special issue in Proceedings of the IEEE, and papers.

Grenoble Images Parole Signal Automatique laboratoire

UMR 5216 CNRS - Grenoble INP - Université Joseph Fourier - Université Stendhal