Conference Covers Latest in Image Processing

Capturing and transmitting moving images are the targets

9 July 2012

The world is becoming ever more visual as print and computer text give way to still and moving pictures, with tiny smartphones, for example, performing image wizardry that once would have been the envy of Hollywood technicians.

As  Internet and wireless content becomes visual, the challenges of capturing, representing, transmitting, and exploiting such information grow. Since 1994, the IEEE International Conference on Image Processing (ICIP) has furthered progress in the field, bringing together engineers and scientists from around the world.

This year’s ICIP is scheduled for 30 September to 3 October in Orlando, Fla. The conference, sponsored by the IEEE Signal Processing Society, moves to a different continent each year. Previous ICIPs were in Hong Kong and Brussels, and next year’s is to be held in Melbourne, Australia.

ICIP’s technical scope covers all aspects of processing and applications for image, video, 3-D, and multiview data. That includes image coding and transmission; formation, capture and display; storage and retrieval; display printing and perception; analysis; implementation; and applications.

More than 750 papers are expected to be presented, winnowed down from the more than 2000 submitted. “This year we’ve changed several of our processes to better foster a sense of community among participants, in particular focusing on improved pre-conference communications,” says IEEE Senior Member Gaurav Sharma, the technical program cochair. “We’ve added more feedback to the paper-selection process, letting reviewers know which of the papers they reviewed were accepted or rejected and passing back authors’ comments on their reviews. Reactions to these changes have been overwhelmingly positive.”

Three special sessions are scheduled: on recent advances in cryptography and image processing, depth camera image processing and applications, and people re-identification and tracking of persons seen by multiple cameras. The first day of the conference, 30 September, is devoted to a welcome reception, tutorials, and workshops where Google, Mathworks, and other companies plan to show off their latest technology and products.

Unlike tutorials at some conferences, ICIP’s are “not just for newbies but for engineers, researchers, and developers in industry as well as for individuals interested in continuing education and entrepreneurship,” says IEEE Senior Member Lina Karam, the conference’s tutorials chair. “But even though they tackle advanced state-of-the-art topics, they don’t depend on your background but teach you from the ground up.” Topics include time-of-flight depth image enhancement—useful for tracking gesture response—and smart interactive interfaces, which is what today’s consumers want, according to Karam. Other tutorials cover standards for 2-D and 3-D video coding, which is important to consumer electronics, telecommunications, and multimedia-streaming.

 “Companies would have to pay a lot for these tutorials, but here they can pay just a few hundred dollars for the whole meeting to hear from experts in the field. So they their send engineers and developers, not only researchers,” adds IEEE Senior Member Eli Saber, the conference’s general chair. “Some tutorials straddle the interface between fields such as image processing and computer vision.”

Markus Gross, a professor at ETH Zurich, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and director of Disney Research Zurich, is set to present a plenary speech titled “Advancing Stereoscopic 3-D and Beyond: Potential for Media and Entertainment.” The other plenary speakers are Jack Gallant of UC Berkeley (“Reverse Engineering the Human Visual System”) and Henry C. Ferguson, who heads the science division of the Space Telescope Science Institute, in Baltimore (“Revealing the Distant Universe With Space Observatories”).

Running in parallel to the paper sessions are an exhibit of products and services for imaging researchers, as well as hands-on show-and-tell sessions where companies and individuals can demonstrate new developments. “Say you have a great algorithm in image segmentation or super-resolution. You bring your laptop and show what it does and how it does it, in real time, even letting people run examples on it,” Saber says.

“ICIP is really the premier conference in video and image processing,” he adds. “The people who come to it are a who’s who of those at the frontier,  an international community of researchers, from MIT to Beijing’s Tsinguha University.”

More than 1100 participants are expected. Most will be from academic and research institutions, but people from industry also are expected, Karam says, “especially innovators—entrepreneurs and companies focused on research and development of innovative state-of-the-art products. They are focused on the future.”

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