Pierre Kornprobst Webpage


Short Bio: A journey in vision science

I received my Ph.D. in Mathematics from Nice-Sophia Antipolis University, France, in 1998. I am a senior research scientist (Directeur de Recherche) at Inria, specialized in vision science. My current research is focused on unveiling fundamental mechanisms of visual perception of people with visual impairments to predict their needs, and better address them through the development of innovative solutions (using, e.g., virtual and augmented reality). I have co-authored more than 60 research papers and a textbook in image processing that received more than 2,000 citations (source: Google Scholar). I am an associate editor for the Computer Vision and Image Understanding journal.


I contributed to five European projects in neuroscience and computational neuroscience: FACETS (“Fast Analog Computing with Emergent Transient States“, FP6-FET, 2005–2010), SEARISE (“Smart Eyes: Attending and Recognizing Instances of Salient Events“, FP7-ICT, 2008–2011, WP leader), BRAINSCALES (“Brain-inspired multiscale computation in neuromorphic hybrid systems“, FP7-FET, 2011–2015), MATHEMACS (“Mathematics of Multilevel Anticipatory Complex Systems“, FP7-ICT, 2012–2014), RENVISION (“Retina-inspired ENcoding for advanced VISION tasks”, FP7-FET, 2013–2016, WP leader). I am currently involved in the ANR DEVISE  (2021-2024, WP leader).



Vision science

I have worked on different facets of vision science: computer vision, visual neuroscience, and ophthalmology. My research is characterized by a rich interaction between theoretical models, applications, and experimental data analysis. See a selection of projects and my list of publications.


I am also deeply interested in the valorization of research results. Because the digital world offers a fantastic range of possibilities for everyone, especially people with disabilities, I aim to bring innovative solutions as close as possible to the end-user. See an example of a recent valorization project.


Below is a selection of contributions that illustrate my research trajectory in vision science.

Perception Toolbox for Virtual Reality (PTVR): A fully open source library for creating visual perception experiments in virtual reality using a high-level Python interface
The PTVR library’s ambition is to let you design and implement visual perception experiments in virtual reality using a high-level Python interface. As such, it is intended to help behavioral science researchers leverage virtual reality’s power for their research without the need to learn how virtual reality works. More information.
Towards Accessible News Reading Design in Virtual Reality for Low Vision H.-Y. Wu, A. Calabrese, and P. Kornprobst. Multimedia Tools and Applications, Springer Verlag, 2021
This paper positions virtual reality as the next step towards accessible and enjoyable news reading for the low vision. We present a framework that integrates the design principles from our analysis and implement a proof-of-concept for this framework using browser-based graphics to demonstrate the feasibility of our proposal with modern virtual reality technology. This paper illustrates my current research focus, which is to unveil fundamental mechanisms of low vision people’s visual perception to predict their needs and better address them by developing innovative solutions based on virtual and augmented reality.
Bio-inspired computer vision: Towards a synergistic approach of artificial and biological vision, N. V. K. Medathati, H. Neumann, G. S. Masson, and P. Kornprobst. Computer Vision and Image Understanding, 150:1–30, 2016.
This paper provides new insights for researchers interested in the design of novel biology-based computer vision algorithms and paves the way for much-needed interaction between the two communities of artificial and biological vision, leading to the development of synergistic models. This paper has been the second most downloaded paper in CVIU for several months (2370 downloads between Oct. 2016 and Mar. 2017), and it has been selected as part of the 21st Annual Best of Computing.
Bifurcation study of a neural fields competition model with an application to perceptual switching in motion integration, J. Rankin, A. I. Meso, G. S. Masson, O. Faugeras, and P. Kornprobst. Journal of Computational Neuroscience, 36(2):193–213, 2014.
Contrarily to all former models of perceptual multistability, the neural fields model at the core of our study has a continuous feature space, which allows multistability to be investigated in a motion integration problem where the different percepts are represented on a continuous scale. The key idea was to use bifurcation methods for tuning parameters such that the model operates close to bifurcation whilst simultaneously matching known response properties from physiological studies. As a result, by combining modeling and empirical evidence, we found a new computational rule explaining the switching behavior based on the signal-strength-dependent interplay between noise and adaptation. Want to experiment yourself? fixate the center of the tristable stimulus for a few seconds…
Virtual Retina: A biological retina model and simulator, with contrast gain control, A. Wohrer and P. Kornprobst. Journal of Computational Neuroscience, 26(2):219, 2009.
The key novelty of the model was a new formulation of the contrast gain control mechanism described by a system of ordinary differential equations, which can encompass spatial and temporal invariance to contrast, and mathematical results have been established. This works also resulted in a retina simulator which has been among the first of its kind, allowing large-scale simulations (up to 100,000 neurons) in reasonable processing times (around 2 seconds per frame on a standard computer). Virtual Retina received +100 citations, and it has been used in academia in several theoretical and simulation studies.
Mathematical Problems in Image Processing Partial Differential Equations and the Calculus of Variations, G. Aubert, and P. Kornprobst. Springer, New York, NY, Second Edition, 2006
This book (first edition in 2002) was the only one explaining in detail the techniques of functional analysis and the theory of partial differential equations to study several fundamental questions in image processing. It encountered a big success, with +2000 citations (source: Google Scholar), 4440 books sold, and 26092 e-book chapter downloads. Associated code and more information are available here.


I have been the advisor of 6 PhDs and +20 M.S. students, and I have contributed to mentoring other French and foreign students. I have supervised the work of 6 postdoctoral fellows, mainly in the scope of European projects I was involved in. Most of my past Postdocs and PhDs are now successfully working on computer vision or neuroscience in the academy or industry. I have also supervised engineers’ work in valorization projects.

Current Ph.D. student

  • Sebastian Gallardo (Ph.D., 2023-2026, CIFRE contract with the company Demain un Autre Jour): Making newspaper layouts dynamic: Study of new combinatorial/ geometric packing problems, co-supervised with Dorian Mazauric.
  • Johanna Delachambre (Ph.D., 2022-2025): Social interactions in low vision: A collaborative approach based on immersive technologies, co-supervised with Hui-Yin Wu.
  • Alexandre Bonlarron (Ph.D., 2021-2024): Pushing the limits of reading performance screening with Artificial Intelligence: Towards large-scale evaluation protocols for the Visually Impaired, co-supervised with Jean-Charles Régin and Aurélie Calabrèse.

Past Ph.D. students

Past postdoctoral fellows and engineers

  • Sebastian Vizcay (Postdoc, 2023), Design and application of adaptive procedures in PTVR.
  • Jérémy Termoz-Masson (Engineer, 2021-2023), VR Software developments: Core HMIs and psychophysical experiments’ design. Now:
  • Hui-Yin Wu (Postdoc, 2019-2020), Designing accessible VR reading platforms for low vision patients. Now: Inria researcher in Biovision.
  • Josselin Gautier (Engineer, 2017-2018), Augmented reality for visually impaired people, Partnership with Bosch Visiontec. Now: Postdoc at INSERM National Ophthalmology Hospital, France.
  • Marco Benzi (Engineer, 2017-2019): VREAD prematuration project.
  • Iliann Caugant Gomez (Business developer, 2018-2019): VREAD prematuration project. Now: Sales Business Development at BeNomad, France.
  • Daniela Pamplona (Postdoc, 2014-2016): Retina modeling & new approaches for receptive field estimation. Now: Postdoctoral researcher at ENSTA-ParisTech, Paris, France
  • Audric Drogoul (Postdoc, 2014-2016): Variational approaches for receptive field estimation. Now: Research Engineer at Thales Alenia Space, Cannes, France.
  • Geoffrey Portelli (Postdoc, 2012-2015): Understanding the wave of the first spike (from MEA recordings) & the role of micromovements (from simulations).
    Now: Looking for a position.
  • James Rankin (Postdoc, 2010-2013): Perceptual switching in motion integration. Now: Lecturer in Mathematical Biology at University of Exeter, UK.
  • Vivien Robinet (Postdoc, 2010-2011): Neural network functional connectivity from spike train analysis. Now: Assistant professor, Université des Antilles et de la Guyane (UAG), France.
  • Neil Bruce (Postdoc, 2008-2010): Models of saliency for video-surveillance systems. Now: Assistant professor, University of Manitoba, Canada.


Postal address:

Inria Sophia Antipolis – Méditerranée
Biovision team
2004 Route des Lucioles – BP 93
06902 Sophia Antipolis Cedex

Email: pierre.kornprobst (AT) inria.fr

Phone: +33(0)4-92-38-79-79

Skype Id: pierre.kornprobst73

Google Scholar – Semantic Scholar – DBLP

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