[Comp-neuro] PhD at CerCo, Toulouse, France

Timothée Masquelier timothee.masquelier at alum.mit.edu
Tue Jun 20 15:08:54 CEST 2017

Beating Roger Federer:

*Modeling visual learning and expertise through a bioinspired neural
network embedded in an electronic device*

*Goal: *PhD grant.

*When:* starting from September 2017 (date may be flexible to some extent)

*Topic:* How do expert tennis players, like Roger Federer for example,
predict if a ball will bounce in or out the field to decide if it should be
played or not? After thousands of trajectory presentations, best champions
have developed extraordinary skills in such a task, but little is known on
how the visual system turns selective to spatiotemporal properties of the
visual stimulus (e.g., 3D position, velocity and acceleration) and learns
how to make an efficient use of it.

The goal of the project is to build an embedded system – based on FPGA
circuits and ARM processor – an artificial neural networkwhich would
replicate – and perhaps beat – the visual and anticipatory performances of
these expert players.

To achieve this goal successfully, we will develop a bio-inspired neural
network, based on some of the key properties of human vision: the Smart
NeuroCam (GST company) will be used to reproduce the retina functioning. It
triggers its message under the form of spikes, in an asynchronous way
(without any concept of frame per second), responding to spatial or
temporal changes in the pattern of illumination. Several kinds of
pre-processing filters can be implemented in VHDL language directly in the
FPGA circuits, and the output is then sent to a neural network. The
artificial network will learn to use this message, applying a simple
learning rule, the Spike-Timing-Dependent Plasticity (STDP). This rule
allows each neuron to become selective to a particular property of the
stimulus, completely autonomously and with no supervision. Several layers
will be built to allow perceiving more and more complex properties of the
visual scene. Once the network will be established, its performances will
be assessed in different conditions of learning and compared to those of
the best tennis players.

*The project is funded by a French National Research Agency (ANR)*,
involving two sites and several researchers:

-      Robin Baurès, Benoit Cottereau, Timothée Masquelier and Simon
Thorpe, CerCo, Toulouse.

-      Michel Paindavoine, GST, Dijon.

*Where: *The candidate will be based at CerCo, Toulouse (France), and will
make the interface with the two sites, with regular trips. The
computational neuroscience part will be done at Toulouse, and electronic
part at Dijon.


-      Matlab (or Python) based simulations of numerical filters. These
filters will be applied to the image processing from which spikes are
generated and then sent to feed the neural network and STDP learning

-      VHDL coding to implement these numerical filters into the FPGA
circuits of the cameras

-      C/C++ coding of the neural network and STDP mechanism that should
work on an embedded ARM processor system

-      Experimental tests that will allow evaluating the performance of the
whole system, from spikes generation to visual properties learning of the
embedded system, to predict tennis ball’s trajectories

*Required skills:*

-      Strong knowledge on electronic, and openness to computational

-      Knowledge in signal-image processing, and artificial neural network

-      Interest for multidisciplinary research

-      Ability to turn smoothly autonomous, once the road has been set

-      Ability to be at the interface of two scientific fields and two
working areas

-      Programming with Matlab and/or Python for simulating the neural

-      Programming in VHDL language for FPGA circuits

-      Programming in C/C++ language for porting the algorithms on ARM

-      French is not a requirement if fluent in English, but willingness to
learn would be beneficial

*Citizenship Eligibility:* We discourage Iranian students to apply, since
most likely the CNRS will not accept them for security/defense reasons,

*Relevant publications for the project:*

-      Masquelier, T., Guyonneau, R. & Thorpe S.J. (2009). Competitive
STDP-Based Spike Pattern Learning. Neural Comput, 21(5),1259-1276.

-      Masquelier, T. & Thorpe, S.J. (2007). Unsupervised learning of
visual features through spike timing dependent plasticity. PLoS Comput
Biol, 3(2):e31.

-      Cottereau, B.R., McKee, S.P. & Norcia, A.M. (2014). Dynamics and
cortical distribution of neural responses to 2D and 3D motion in human. Journal
of Neurophysiology 111(3), 533-543.

-      SmartNeuroCam by GST : https://gsensing.eu/fr/


*Robin Baurès, PhD*

Associate Professor

CerCo, Université Toulouse 3, CNRS

CHU Purpan, Pavillon Baudot

31059 Toulouse Cedex 9 – France

Office phone: 0033 (0)5 62 74 62 15 <05%2062%2074%2062%2015>

Email : robin.baures at cnrs.fr

*Pr Michel Paindavoine*

GlobalSensing Technologies

14, rue Pierre de Coubertin

21000 Dijon

email : michel.paindavoine at gsensing.eu

Timothée Masquelier - timothee.masquelier at cnrs.fr -
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