Explainable Deep Learning: Paradigms for Earth Observation, Tuesday January 28, 9:00 am EST

Speaker: Prof. Mihai Datcu Ph.D, German Aerospace Center (DLR)

The volume and variety of valuable Earth Observation (EO) images as well as non-EO related data is rapidly growing.  The open free data access becomes widespread and has an enormous scientific and socio-economic relevance.  EO images are acquired by sensors on satellite, suborbital or airborne platforms. They extend the observation beyond the visual information, gathering physical parameters of the observed scenes in a broad electromagnetic spectrum. The sensed information depends largely on the imaging geometry, orbit, illumination and other specific parameters of the space instruments. Typical EO systems can be classified into optical or radar instruments. During the last years, both types of sensors deliver widely different images, and both have made considerable progress in spatial and radiometric resolution, image acquisition strategies, and data rates.

Generally imaging sensors generate an isomorphic representation of the observed scene. This is not the case for EO, the observations are a doppelgänger of the scattered field, an indirect signature of the imaged object. This positions the load of EO image understanding, and the outmost challenge of Big EO Data Science, as new and particular challenge of Machine and Deep Learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI). The presentation reviews and analyses the new approaches of EO imaging leveraging the recent advances in physical process based AI methods and signal processing, and leading to explainable paradigms where intelligence is the analytical component of the end-to-end sensor and Data Science chain design. A particular focus is on the semantic aspects as a key component in the explainable learning paradigms.

Speaker’s Bio:

Mihai Datcu, received the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electronics and Telecommunications from the University Politechnica Bucharest UPB, Romania, in 1978 and 1986. In 1999 he received the title Habilitation a diriger des recherches in Computer Science from University Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, France. Since 1981 he has been Professor with the Department of Applied Electronics and Information Engineering, Faculty of Electronics, Telecommunications and Information Technology (ETTI), UPB, working in image processing and Electronic Speckle Interferometry. Since 1993, he has been a scientist with the German Aerospace Center (DLR), Oberpfaffenhofen. He is developing algorithms for model-based information retrieval from high complexity signals and methods for scene understanding from Very High Resolution Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and Interferometric SAR data. He is engaged in research related to information theoretical aspects and semantic representations in advanced communication systems. Currently he is Senior Scientist and Data Intelligence and Knowledge Discovery research group leader with the Remote Sensing Technology Institute (IMF) of DLR, Oberpfaffenhofen. Since 2011 he is also leading the Immersive Visual Information Mining research lab at the Munich Aerospace Faculty and he is director of the Research Center for Spatial Information at UPB. His interests are in Artificial Intelligence, Computational Sensing, quantum algorithms, Bayesian inference, information and complexity theory, stochastic processes, machine and deep learning, data mining, for applications in information retrieval and understanding of high resolution SAR and optical observations. He has held Visiting Professor appointments with the University of Oviedo, Spain, the University Louis Pasteur and the International Space University, both in Strasbourg, France, University of Siegen, Germany, University of Innsbruck, Austria, University of Alcala, Spain, University Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy, Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca, campus de Madrid, Spain, University of Camerino, Italy, the Swiss Center for Scientific Computing (CSCS), Manno, Switzerland, From 1992 to 2002 he had a longer Invited Professor assignment with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH Zurich. Since 2001 he has initiated and leaded the Competence Centre on Information Extraction and Image Understanding for Earth Observation, at ParisTech, Paris Institute of Technology, Telecom Paris, a collaboration of DLR with the French Space Agency (CNES). He has been Professor holder of the DLR-CNES Chair at ParisTech, Paris Institute of Technology, Telecom Paris. He initiated the European frame of projects for Image Information Mining (IIM) and is involved in research programs for information extraction, data mining and knowledge discovery and data understanding with the European Space Agency (ESA), NASA, and in a variety of national and European projects. He is a member of the European Big Data From Space Coordination Group (BiDS). He and his team have developed and are currently developing the operational IIM processor in the Payload Ground Segment systems for the German missions TerraSAR-X, TanDEM-X, and the ESA Sentinel 1 and 2. He has served as a co-organizer of International Conferences and workshops, and as guest editor of special issue of the IEEE and other journals. He received in 2006 the Best Paper Award, IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society Prize, in 2008 the National Order of Merit with the rank of Knight, for outstanding international research results, awarded by the President of Romania, in 2018 the Ad Astra award for international scientific activities, and in 1987 the Romanian Academy Prize Traian Vuia for the development of SAADI image analysis system and activity in image processing. He is IEEE Fellow of Signal Processing, Computer and Geoscience and Remote Sensing societies. In 2017 he was awarded a Chair Blaise Pascal for international recognition in the field of Data Science in Earth Observation, with the Centre d’Etudes et de Recherche en Informatique (CEDRIC) at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (CNAM) in Paris.

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