Rémi Flamary

Professional website



I am associate professor at Nice-Sophia Antipolis University in the Departement of Electronics and in the Lagrange Laboratory. This laboratory is part of the Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur. I was previously a PhD student and teaching assistant at the LITIS Laboratory and my PhD advisor was Alain Rakotomamonjy at Rouen University.

On this website, you can find a list of my publications and download the corresponding software/code. Some of my french teaching material is also available.

Research Interests

  • Machine Learning
    • Kernel methods, Support Vector Machines
    • Sparsity, variable selection, mixed norm
    • Data representation, kernel learning
  • Statistical signal processing
    • Classification and segmentation of signals and images
    • Filter learning
    • Sparse and non-convex optimization
  • Applications
    • Biomedical engineering, Brain-Computer Interfaces
    • Remote sensing and hyperspectral Imaging
    • Astronomical image processing

Wordcloud of my research interests.

Recent work

Flamary, R., Aime, C., "Optimization of starshades: focal plane versus pupil plane", Astronomy and Astrophysics, Vol. 569, N. A28, pp 10, 2014.
Abstract: We search for the best possible transmission for an external occulter coronagraph that is dedicated to the direct observation of terrestrial exoplanets. We show that better observation conditions are obtained when the flux in the focal plane is minimized in the zone in which the exoplanet is observed, instead of the total flux received by the telescope. We describe the transmission of the occulter as a sum of basis functions. For each element of the basis, we numerically computed the Fresnel diffraction at the aperture of the telescope and the complex amplitude at its focus. The basis functions are circular disks that are linearly apodized over a few centimeters (truncated cones). We complemented the numerical calculation of the Fresnel diffraction for these functions by a comparison with pure circular discs (cylinder) for which an analytical expression, based on a decomposition in Lommel series, is available. The technique of deriving the optimal transmission for a given spectral bandwidth is a classical regularized quadratic minimization of intensities, but linear optimizations can be used as well. Minimizing the integrated intensity on the aperture of the telescope or for selected regions of the focal plane leads to slightly different transmissions for the occulter. For the focal plane optimization, the resulting residual intensity is concentrated behind the geometrical image of the occulter, in a blind region for the observation of an exoplanet, and the level of background residual starlight becomes very low outside this image. Finally, we provide a tolerance analysis for the alignment of the occulter to the telescope which also favors the focal plane optimization. This means that telescope offsets of a few decimeters do not strongly reduce the efficiency of the occulter.
author = { Flamary, R. and Aime, C.},
title = {Optimization of starshades: focal plane versus pupil plane}, 
journal = { Astronomy and Astrophysics},
volume = {569},
number = {A28},
pages = { 10},
year = {2014}
Courty, N., Flamary, R., Tuia, D., "Domain adaptation with regularized optimal transport", European Conference on Machine Learning and Principles and Practice of Knowledge Discovery in Databases (ECML PKDD), 2014.
Abstract: We present a new and original method to solve the domain adaptation problem using optimal transport. By searching for the best transportation plan between the probability distribution functions of a source and a target domain, a non-linear and invertible transformation of the learning samples can be estimated. Any standard machine learning method can then be applied on the transformed set, which makes our method very generic. We propose a new optimal transport algorithm that incorporates label information in the optimization: this is achieved by combining an efficient matrix scaling technique together with a majoration of a non-convex regularization term. By using the proposed optimal transport with label regularization, we obtain significant increase in performance compared to the original transport solution. The proposed algorithm is computationally efficient and effective, as illustrated by its evaluation on a toy example and a challenging real life vision dataset, against which it achieves competitive results with respect to state-of-the-art methods.
author = {Courty, N. and Flamary, R. and Tuia, D.},
title = {Domain adaptation with regularized optimal transport}, 
booktitle = {European Conference on Machine Learning and Principles and Practice of Knowledge Discovery in Databases (ECML PKDD)},
year = {2014}
Boisbunon, A., Flamary, R., Rakotomamonjy, A., Giros, A., Zerubia, J., "Large scale sparse optimization for object detection in high resolution images", IEEE Workshop in Machine Learning for Signal Processing (MLSP), 2014.
Abstract: In this work, we address the problem of detecting objects in images by expressing the image as convolutions between activation matrices and dictionary atoms. The activation matrices are estimated through sparse optimization and correspond to the position of the objects. In particular, we propose an efficient algorithm based on an active set strategy that is easily scalable and can be computed in parallel. We apply it to a toy image and a satellite image where the aim is to detect all the boats in a harbor. These results show the benefit of using nonconvex penalties, such as the log-sum penalty, over the convex l1 penalty.
author = {Boisbunon, A. and Flamary, R. and Rakotomamonjy, A. and Giros, A. and Zerubia, J.},
title = {Large scale sparse optimization for object detection in high resolution images}, 
booktitle = {IEEE Workshop in Machine Learning for Signal Processing (MLSP)},
year = {2014}
Boisbunon, A., Flamary, R., Rakotomamonjy, A., "Active set strategy for high-dimensional non-convex sparse optimization problems", International Conference on Acoustic, Speech and Signal Processing (ICASSP), 2014.
Abstract: The use of non-convex sparse regularization has attracted much interest when estimating a very sparse model on high dimensional data. In this work we express the optimality conditions of the optimization problem for a large class of non-convex regularizers. From those conditions, we derive an efficient active set strategy that avoids the computing of unnecessary gradients. Numerical experiments on both generated and real life datasets show a clear gain in computational cost w.r.t. the state of the art when using our method to obtain very sparse solutions.
author = {Boisbunon, A. and Flamary, R. and Rakotomamonjy, A.},
title = {Active set strategy for high-dimensional non-convex sparse optimization problems}, 
booktitle = {International Conference on Acoustic, Speech and Signal Processing (ICASSP)},
year = {2014}
Flamary, R., Jrad, N., Phlypo, R., Congedo, M., Rakotomamonjy, A., "Mixed-Norm Regularization for Brain Decoding", Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine, Vol. 2014, N. 1, pp 1-13, 2014.
Abstract: This work investigates the use of mixed-norm regularization for sensor selection in event-related potential (ERP) based brain-computer interfaces (BCI). The classification problem is cast as a discriminative optimization framework where sensor selection is induced through the use of mixed-norms. This framework is extended to the multitask learning situation where several similar classification tasks related to different subjects are learned simultaneously. In this case, multitask learning helps in leveraging data scarcity issue yielding to more robust classifiers. For this purpose, we have introduced a regularizer that induces both sensor selection and classifier similarities. The different regularization approaches are compared on three ERP datasets showing the interest of mixed-norm regularization in terms of sensor selection. The multitask approaches are evaluated when a small number of learning examples are available yielding to significant performance improvements especially for subjects performing poorly.
author = {Flamary, R. and Jrad, N. and Phlypo, R. and Congedo, M. and Rakotomamonjy, A.},
title = {Mixed-Norm Regularization for Brain Decoding}, 
journal = {Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine},
volume = {2014},
number = {1},
pages = {1-13},
year = {2014}
Niaf, E., Flamary, R., Rakotomamonjy, A., Rouvière, O., Lartizien, C., "SVM with feature selection and smooth prediction in images: application to CAD of prostate cancer", IEEE International Conference on Image Processing (ICIP), 2014.
Abstract: We propose a new computer-aided detection scheme for prostate cancer screening on multiparametric magnetic resonance (mp-MR) images. Based on an annotated training database of mp-MR images from thirty patients, we train a novel support vector machine (SVM)-inspired classifier which simultaneously learns an optimal linear discriminant and a subset of predictor variables (or features) that are most relevant to the classification task, while promoting spatial smoothness of the malignancy prediction maps. The approach uses a $\ell_1$-norm in the regularization term of the optimization problem that rewards sparsity. Spatial smoothness is promoted via an additional cost term that encodes the spatial neighborhood of the voxels, to avoid noisy prediction maps. Experimental comparisons of the proposed $\ell_1$-Smooth SVM scheme to the regular $\ell_2$-SVM scheme demonstrate a clear visual and numerical gain on our clinical dataset.
author = {Niaf, E. and Flamary, R. and Rakotomamonjy, A. and Rouvière, O. and Lartizien, C.},
title = {SVM with feature selection and smooth prediction in images: application to CAD of prostate cancer}, 
booktitle = {IEEE International Conference on Image Processing (ICIP)},
year = {2014}
Laporte, L., Flamary, R., Canu, S., Déjean, S., Mothe, J., "Nonconvex Regularizations for Feature Selection in Ranking With Sparse SVM", Neural Networks and Learning Systems, IEEE Transactions on, Vol. 25, N. 6, pp 1118-1130, 2014.
Abstract: Feature selection in learning to rank has recently emerged as a crucial issue. Whereas several preprocessing approaches have been proposed, only a few works have been focused on integrating the feature selection into the learning process. In this work, we propose a general framework for feature selection in learning to rank using SVM with a sparse regularization term. We investigate both classical convex regularizations such as l1 or weighted l1 and non-convex regularization terms such as log penalty, Minimax Concave Penalty (MCP) or lp pseudo norm with p lower than 1. Two algorithms are proposed, first an accelerated proximal approach for solving the convex problems, second a reweighted l1 scheme to address the non-convex regularizations. We conduct intensive experiments on nine datasets from Letor 3.0 and Letor 4.0 corpora. Numerical results show that the use of non-convex regularizations we propose leads to more sparsity in the resulting models while prediction performance is preserved. The number of features is decreased by up to a factor of six compared to the l1 regularization. In addition, the software is publicly available on the web.
author = { Laporte, L. and Flamary, R. and Canu, S. and Déjean, S. and Mothe, J.},
title = {Nonconvex Regularizations for Feature Selection in Ranking With Sparse SVM}, 
journal = { Neural Networks and Learning Systems, IEEE Transactions on},
volume = {25},
number = {6},
pages = {1118-1130},
year = {2014}


Best paper at PCV 2014


Our paper has been chosen for a best paper award at the Photogrammetric Computer Vision symposium (PCV 2014).

Tuia, D., Courty, N., Flamary, R., "A group-lasso active set strategy for multiclass hyperspectral image classification", Photogrammetric Computer Vision (PCV), 2014.

Abstract: Hyperspectral images have a strong potential for landcover/landuse classification, since the spectra of the pixels can highlight subtle differences between materials and provide information beyond the visible spectrum. Yet, a limitation of most current approaches is the hypothesis of spatial independence between samples: images are spatially correlated and the classification map should exhibit spatial regularity. One way of integrating spatial smoothness is to augment the input spectral space with filtered versions of the bands. However, open questions remain, such as the selection of the bands to be filtered, or the filterbank to be used. In this paper, we consider the entirety of the possible spatial filters by using an incremental feature learning strategy that assesses whether a candidate feature would improve the model if added to the current input space. Our approach is based on a multiclass logistic classifier with group-lasso regularization. The optimization of this classifier yields an optimality condition, that can easily be used to assess the interest of a candidate feature without retraining the model, thus allowing drastic savings in computational time. We apply the proposed method to three challenging hyperspectral classification scenarios, including agricultural and urban data, and study both the ability of the incremental setting to learn features that always improve the model and the nature of the features selected.
author = {Tuia, D. and Courty, N. and Flamary, R.},
title = {A group-lasso active set strategy for multiclass hyperspectral image classification}, 
booktitle = {Photogrammetric Computer Vision (PCV)},
year = {2014} 
This is a joint work with Devis Tuia and Nicolas Courty.



I will be at ICASSP 2014 in Firenze. I will present the paper Active set strategy for high-dimensional non-convex sparse optimization problems on Wednesday, May 7 in the special session Optimization algorithms for high dimensional signal processing.

This is a joint work with Aurélie Boisbunon and Alain Rakotomamonjy.

AMOR project is online


The AMOR project is a Young researchers project that is financed by GdR ISIS and the GRETSI association.

The wep page of the project is now available here.