I am on a researcher position at Inria (Rennes), in the WIDE team.

“Maybe, not content to be alienated by observation, maybe does the object deceive us? Maybe it invented original answers, and not only the ones we ask for? May not be does it not want to be analyzed and observed at all and taking this for a challenge (which is true), does it respond with another challenge? […] the object analyzed today triumphs everywhere, by its object position, over the subject of analysis.” (Jean Baudrillard, Fatal Strategies.)

My main current research activity is trying to disprove that quote, by studying black-box algorithms in the context of recommender systems, neural-network models, or decision-making algorithms in general. I co-organized with Gilles and Antoine the workshop “Algorithmes en Boite-Noire”, in a continuous attempt to link several research domains on this societal question. e.g.:


Recent publications (others in e.g., scholar)

  • SurFree: a fast surrogate-free black-box attack, Thibault Maho, Teddy Furon, Erwan Le Merrer. In CVPR (2021). Preprint [Arxiv 2020], [code].

  • RoBIC: A benchmark suite for assessing classifiers robustness, Thibault Maho, Benoît Bonnet, Teddy Furon, Erwan Le Merrer. In ICIP (2021) Preprint [Arxiv 2021], [code].

  • Setting the Record Straighter on Shadow Banning, Erwan Le Merrer, Benoît Morgan, Gilles Trédan. In INFOCOM (2021). [IEEE link] [ArXiv preprint 2020].

  • Remote Explainability faces the bouncer problem, Erwan Le Merrer, Gilles Trédan. In Nature Machine Intelligence (2020). Paper PDF doi [citation].

  • FeGAN: Scaling Distributed GANs, Rachid Guerraoui, Arsany Guirguis, Anne-Marie Kermarrec, Erwan Le Merrer. In Middleware, 2020. [Preprint], [Presentation video].

  • The Imitation Game: Algorithm Selection by Exploiting Black-Box Recommenders, Georgios Damaskinos, Rachid Guerraoui, Erwan Le Merrer and Christoph Neumann. In NETYS, 2020. [Preprint].

  • zoNNscan : a boundary-entropy index for zone inspection of neural models, Adel Jaouen, Erwan Le Merrer. In Monte Carlo Search workshop (MCS) @ IJCAI 2020 [ArXiv preprint 2018].

  • Adversarial Frontier Stitching for Remote Neural Network Watermarking, Erwan Le Merrer, Patrick Perez, Gilles Trédan. In Neural Comput & Applic 32, 9233–9244 (2020). [editor] [preprint] [citation]


I was a senior research scientist at Technicolor R&I (2009-2018), where I worked on scalable storage, processing and machine learning for data analytics. I joined Inria in 2018, an on a permanent researcher position in 2021. I obtained my habilitation (HDR) on November 2016 from University of Rennes 1. I am the president and on of the sysadmins of the gozdata association, that provides the gozmail service, built from free software. I am a board member of the Société Informatique de France.

Profile photo © Inria / Photo B. Fourrier