State-of-the-art Machine Learning MRI Reconstruction in 2020: Results of the Second fastMRI Challenge

Accelerating MRI scans is one of the principal outstanding problems in the MRI research community. Towards this goal, we hosted the second fastMRI competition targeted towards reconstructing MR images with subsampled k-space data. We provided participants with data from 7,299 clinical brain scans (de-identified via a HIPAA-compliant procedure by NYU Langone Health), holding back the fully-sampled data from 894 of these scans for challenge evaluation purposes. In contrast to the 2019 challenge, we focused our radiologist evaluations on pathological assessment in brain images. We also debuted a new Transfer track that required participants to submit models evaluated on MRI scanners from outside the training set. We received 19 submissions from eight different groups. Results showed one team scoring best in both SSIM scores and qualitative radiologist evaluations. We also performed analysis on alternative metrics to mitigate the effects of background noise and collected feedback from the participants to inform future challenges. Lastly, we identify common failure modes across the submissions, highlighting areas of need for future research in the MRI reconstruction community.

Reference: Mathew J. Muckley, ...,   Z. Ramzi,  P. Ciuciu and J.-L. Starck et al . “State-of-the-art Machine Learning MRI Reconstruction in 2020: Results of the Second fastMRI Challenge.

This paper presents the results of the fastMRI 2020 challenge, where our team finished 2nd in the 4x and 8x supervised tracks.
It is currently being submitted to IEEE TMI.

XPDNet for MRI Reconstruction: an Application to the fastMRI 2020 Brain Challenge

We present a modular cross-domain neural network the XPDNet and its application to the MRI reconstruction task. This approach consists in unrolling the PDHG algorithm as well as learning the acceleration scheme between steps. We also adopt state-of-the-art techniques specific to Deep Learning for MRI reconstruction. At the time of writing, this approach is the best performer in PSNR on the fastMRI leaderboards for both knee and brain at acceleration factor 4.

Reference:  Z. Ramzi,  P. Ciuciu and J.-L. Starck . “XPDNet for MRI Reconstruction: an Application to the fastMRI 2020 Brain Challenge.


This network was used to submit reconstructions to the 2020 fastMRI Brain reconstruction challenge. Results are to be announced on December 6th 2020.

Denoising Score-Matching for Uncertainty Quantification in Inverse Problems

Deep neural networks have proven extremely efficient at solving a wide range of inverse problems, but most often the uncertainty on the solution they provide is hard to quantify. In this work, we propose a generic Bayesian framework for solving inverse problems, in which we limit the use of deep neural networks to learning a prior distribution on the signals to recover. We adopt recent denoising score matching techniques to learn this prior from data, and subsequently use it as part of an annealed Hamiltonian Monte-Carlo scheme to sample the full posterior of image inverse problems. We apply this framework to Magnetic Resonance Image (MRI) reconstruction and illustrate how this approach not only yields high quality reconstructions but can also be used to assess the uncertainty on particular features of a reconstructed image.

Reference:  Z. Ramzi,  Benjamin Remy, François Lanusse, J.-L. Starck and P. Ciuciu. “Denoising Score-Matching for Uncertainty Quantification in Inverse Problems, Deep Learning and Inverse Problems Workshop NeurIPS, 2020.

Wavelets in the Deep Learning Era

Sparsity based methods, such as wavelets, have been state-of-the-art for more than 20 years for inverse problems before being overtaken by neural networks.
In particular, U-nets have proven to be extremely effective.
Their main ingredients are a highly non-linear processing, a massive learning made possible by the flourishing of optimization algorithms with the power of computers (GPU) and the use of large available data sets for training.
While the many stages of non-linearity are intrinsic to deep learning, the usage of learning with training data could also be exploited by sparsity based approaches.
The aim of our study is to push the limits of sparsity with learning, and comparing the results with U-nets.
We present a new network architecture, which conserves the properties of sparsity based methods such as exact reconstruction and good generalization properties, while fostering the power of neural networks for learning and fast calculation.
We evaluate the model on image denoising tasks and show it is competitive with learning-based models.

Reference:  Z. Ramzi,  J.-L. Starck and P. Ciuciu. “Wavelets in the Deep Learning Era, Eusipco, 2020.

Benchmarking Deep Nets MRI Reconstruction Models on the FastMRI Publicly Available Dataset


The MRI reconstruction field lacked a proper data set that allowed for reproducible results on real raw data (i.e. complex-valued), especially when it comes to deep learning (DL) methods as this kind of approaches require much more data than classical Compressed Sensing~(CS) reconstruction. This lack is now filled by the fastMRI data set, and it is needed to evaluate recent DL models on this benchmark. Besides, these networks are written in different frameworks and repositories (if publicly available), it is therefore needed to have a common tool, publicly available, allowing a reproducible benchmark of the different methods and ease of building new models. We provide such a tool that allows the benchmark of different reconstruction deep learning models.

Reference:  Z. Ramzi, P. Ciuciu and J.-L. Starck. “Benchmarking Deep Nets MRI Reconstruction Models on the FastMRI Publicly Available Dataset, ISBI, 2020.

PySAP: Python Sparse Data Analysis Package for Multidisciplinary Image Processing


Authors: S. Farrens, A. Grigis, L. El Gueddari, Z. Ramzi, Chaithya G. R., S. Starck, B. Sarthou, H. Cherkaoui, P.Ciuciu, J-L. Starck
Journal: Astronomy and Computing
Year: 2020
DOI: 10.1016/j.ascom.2020.100402
Download: ADS | arXiv


We present the open-source image processing software package PySAP (Python Sparse data Analysis Package) developed for the COmpressed Sensing for Magnetic resonance Imaging and Cosmology (COSMIC) project. This package provides a set of flexible tools that can be applied to a variety of compressed sensing and image reconstruction problems in various research domains. In particular, PySAP offers fast wavelet transforms and a range of integrated optimisation algorithms. In this paper we present the features available in PySAP and provide practical demonstrations on astrophysical and magnetic resonance imaging data.


PySAP Code

Benchmarking MRI Reconstruction Neural Networks on Large Public Datasets

Deep learning is starting to offer promising results for reconstruction in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). A lot of networks are being developed, but the comparisons remain hard because the frameworks used are not the same among studies, the networks are not properly re-trained, and the datasets used are not the same among comparisons. The recent release of a public dataset, fastMRI, consisting of raw k-space data, encouraged us to write a consistent benchmark of several deep neural networks for MR image reconstruction. This paper shows the results obtained for this benchmark, allowing to compare the networks, and links the open source implementation of all these networks in Keras. The main finding of this benchmark is that it is beneficial to perform more iterations between the image and the measurement spaces compared to having a deeper per-space network.

Reference:  Z. Ramzi, P. Ciuciu and J.-L. Starck. “Benchmarking MRI reconstruction neural networks on large public datasetsApplied Sciences, 10, 1816, 2020.  doi:10.3390/app10051816

Joint Multichannel Deconvolution and Blind Source Separation


Authors: M. Jiang, J. Bobin, J-L. Starck
Journal: SIAM J. Imaging Sci.
Year: 2017
Download: ADS | arXiv | SIIMS



Blind Source Separation (BSS) is a challenging matrix factorization problem that plays a central role in multichannel imaging science. In a large number of applications, such as astrophysics, current unmixing methods are limited since real-world mixtures are generally affected by extra instrumental effects like blurring. Therefore, BSS has to be solved jointly with a deconvolution problem, which requires tackling a new inverse problem: deconvolution BSS (DBSS). In this article, we introduce an innovative DBSS approach, called DecGMCA, based on sparse signal modeling and an efficient alternative projected least square algorithm. Numerical results demonstrate that the DecGMCA algorithm performs very well on simulations. It further highlights the importance of jointly solving BSS and deconvolution instead of considering these two problems independently. Furthermore, the performance of the proposed DecGMCA algorithm is demonstrated on simulated radio-interferometric data.