Ms. Lina Jin passed Her PhD dissertation Public Exam

Ms. Lina Jin started her PhD study from January 2011 at the Computing Imaging group, Department of Signal Processing, Tampere University of Technology, Finland. Since 2011, She has been co-supervised by Prof. C.-C. Jay Kuo from the University of Southern California. From October 2013 to December 2014, she has been working at Prof. Kuo’s Media Communications Lab as a visiting scholar.

Congratulations to Lina Jin for passing her public examination on January 30, 2015. The title of her dissertation is “Perceptual Quality Assessment for Visual Signal”. Her dissertation was pre-examined by Prof. Patrick LeCallet (Université de Nantes/Ecole Polytechnique de l’Université de Nantes, France) and Prof. Weisi Lin (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore). The opponent is Prof. Mårten Sjöström from Mid Sweden University, Sweden.

With the rapid growth of information technology and the Internet, image and video have become one part of our everyday life and their quality is of prime importance for numerous applications. The aim of realistic digital image and video is to create accurate, high quality imagery, which faithfully represents the physical environment. The ultimate goal is to create images that are perceptually indistinguishable from the actual scene. Thus, the automatic evaluation of image and video quality plays a critical role in the fields of image and video processing and there are many practical applications, such as quality monitoring to maintain Quality of Service (QoS) requirements, the evaluation of video processing for compression, and perceptually optimal design of video processing systems. Ms. Lina Jin’s dissertation investigates and analyses image artifacts resulting from various 2D and 3D image/video applications and explores human visual perception of different image artifacts through subjective experiments. She conducted in designing and building a large new image quality database, TID2013. TID2013 provides [...]

By |February 8th, 2015|News|Comments Off on Ms. Lina Jin passed Her PhD dissertation Public Exam|
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    “Cloud-based Media” Workshop to be Organized at IEEE ICME 2015

“Cloud-based Media” Workshop to be Organized at IEEE ICME 2015

To provide rich media services, multimedia computing has emerged as a technique to generate, edit, process, and search media contents, such as images, video, audio, graphics, and so on. Typical types of cloud-based services include: IaaS, NaaS, PaaS, IPMaaS, DaaS, and SaaS. In the same manner, future networks meet cloud via Network Function Virtualization and Software Defined Networking (SDN). Prosumers’ potential for hosting, delivering and interacting with Media Events requires a rich pool of resources and also a flexible set of provisions and guarantees upon users’ request. Towards this direction, Cloud Computing arises as a promising solution, being able to reserve assets on demand and guarantee their provisions over time. Existing resource reservation techniques are based either on a “fixed” model, so that to accommodate the anticipated peak demand but with low resource utilization during non-peak times, or on a “pay-as-you-go” model, where the cost is estimated for the total amount of information transferred, but subject to variation due to contention from other applications in the Cloud Data Center.

Decoupling hardware and software through virtualization is the most important reason for content providers to shift towards the cloud. The applications can be available always on, low in cost, on demand, massively scalable and pay as you grow among users with heterogeneous capabilities and characteristics. This will be accomplished through the design and development of an abstraction entity that is responsible to manage the media resources and the network capabilities, acting as a mediator between the client application and the media-aware cloud. The content can be processed to meet the device capabilities and the backhaul network bandwidth by aggregating requests from the end-users.

To address all the above technical issues in cloud-based media computing, Professor C.-C. Jay [...]

By |February 1st, 2015|News|Comments Off on “Cloud-based Media” Workshop to be Organized at IEEE ICME 2015|
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    Congratulations to Pang-Cheng (Brian) Lan for Passing His Qualifying Exam

Congratulations to Pang-Cheng (Brian) Lan for Passing His Qualifying Exam

Congratulations to Mr. Pang-Cheng (Brian) Lan for passing his Qualifying Exam on January 22, 2015. The title of Brian’s thesis proposal is “Enhancing Secrecy in Wireless Environment with Only Channel State Information: Theory and Applications”. His Qualifying Exam committee consisted of Jay Kuo (Chair), Keith Chugg, Andy Molisch, Salman Avestimehr and Wlodek Proskurowski (Outside Member).

In his proposal, Brian shows the advantages of having only transmitter-side channel state information (CSI) but none or limited CSI at the receiver and the eavesdropper in wiretap channels. With CSI only at the transmitter (CSIT), distortion and interference on the main channel can be pre-compensated by the transmitter to facilitate detection at the receiver while leaving the eavesdropper confused by the uncertainties of its own channel. These ideas are first tested in the case of finite-alphabet discrete memoryless wiretap channels, where the secrecy capacity expression is derived, and are then applied to two practical scenarios, namely, fading wiretap channels and those with Gaussian interference. Truncation-based schemes are proposed to ensure that the transmission occurs only when the main channel is sufficiently reliable. Furthermore, a practical unitary modulation scheme is recommended as application of exploiting the benefits of having CSIT in secrecy for multi-antenna communication systems in which Long Term Evolution (LTE) is used as an example. The achievable secrecy rates of the proposed schemes are derived and asymptotic or approximate expressions are proposed for the optimization purpose. The effectiveness of the proposed transmission schemes and the advantages of having only CSIT are demonstrated through numerical simulations.

By |January 25th, 2015|News|Comments Off on Congratulations to Pang-Cheng (Brian) Lan for Passing His Qualifying Exam|
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    Congratulations to Ms. Young Ju Jeong for Passing Her Qualifying Exam

Congratulations to Ms. Young Ju Jeong for Passing Her Qualifying Exam

Ms. Young Ju Jeong joined the MCL in 2005 Fall firstly as a MS student and then a PhD student. Young Ju took a leave of absence, returned to Korea and worked as a research engineer in the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT) in 2007 August. She has resumed her PhD program remotely since two years ago by taking courses through DEN and communicating with Professor Kuo on her research progress. Congratulations to Young Ju for passing her Qual exam on January 13, 2015. Her proposal is “Autostereoscopic 3D Display Rendering from Conventional Stereo Sequences”. Her Qual exam committee includes: Jay Kuo (Chair), Sandy Sawchuk, Keith Jenkins, Panos Georgiou and Aichiro Nakano (Outside Member).

Progress in the development of 3D displays has enabled human to reproduce a more realistic 3D world. However, it is difficult to generate 3D various display images from restrictive input contents. In her thesis proposal, Young Ju proposed a new framework for the 3D display representation. The first step for the creation of 3D display images is 3D reconstruction from the restrictive input contents. Under the estimated 3D structure, robust rendering with respect to uncalibrated artifacts is an important task. For the light field display, fast and efficient rendering for a huge number of pixels and memory usage is the main challenge. Young Ju introduced a new stereo matching algorithm that estimates disparities between high- and low-confidence regions separately. Then, she proposed an efficient multiview rendering algorithm for the autostereoscopic display that takes uncalibrated stereo as the input. Finally, she proposed an efficient light-field rendering algorithm that utilizes only a few input colors and depth images. Experimental results demonstrate that proposed stereo matching algorithm offers high quality results on real [...]

By |January 18th, 2015|News|Comments Off on Congratulations to Ms. Young Ju Jeong for Passing Her Qualifying Exam|

Two MCL Papers Presented at ICCE 2015

Two research  findings of the USC Media Communications Lab were presented at the IEEE International Conference on Consumer Electronics (ICCE), which was held from January 9th to 12th 2015, in Las Vegas .

Auto exposure (AE) control is an important function of modern digital cameras. Simple AE algorithms are designed for a specific type of camera sensors. Advanced AE techniques have been developed to tackle a wider class of camera sensors and/or high contrast lighting conditions, yet they are computationally intensive and, thus, difficult to implement in a resource-constrained environment such as phone cameras. Besides, none of existing solutions provides robust performance if erroneous exposure occurs. To address the aforementioned shortcomings, a fast and robust AE algorithm is  in need. The first paper entitled with “Fast and Robust Camera’s Auto Exposure Control Using Convex or Concave Model”, co-authored by Yuanhang Su and C.-C. Jay Kuo, proposed a concave/convex function model for the luminance characteristics of a camera. Based on such a model, a proper parameter value can be computed using a modified secant algorithm with fast convergence. This paper was presented by an MCL member, Joe Lin.

The second paper entitled with “Uncalibrated Multiview Synthesis based on Epipolar Geometry Approximation”, co-authored by Young Ju Jeong, Hyoseok Hwang, Dongkyung Nam and C.-C. Jay Kuo, was mainly conducted in Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT) with the input from Professor Kuo. This paper proposed an  efficient multiview rendering algorithm that takes uncalibrated stereo as the input. First, the epipolar geometry of multiple viewpoints is analyzed for multiview display. Then, the camera pose for an arbitrarily selected viewpoint is estimated by algebraic approximation. Finally, by exploiting rectification homographs and disparities of rectified stereo, one can determine multiview images with [...]

By |January 11th, 2015|News|Comments Off on Two MCL Papers Presented at ICCE 2015|

Congratulations to Hyunsuk Ko for Passing his Defense

Congratulations to Hyunsuk Ko, an MCL member, for passing his defense this afternoon. His thesis title is “Advanced Techniques for Stereoscopic image rectification and quality assessment”. His thesis guidance committee includes Jay Kuo (Chair), Sandy Sawchuk and Aiichiro Nakano (Outside Member). The committee gave a lot of praise to the quality of Hyunsuk’s thesis and his excellent presentation. The following is the abstract of Hyunsuk’s thesis.
“New frameworks for an objective quality evaluation and an image rectification of stereoscopic image pairs are presented in this work. First, quality assessment of stereoscopic image pairs is more complicated than that for 2D images since it is a multi-dimensional problem where the quality is affected by distortion types as well as the relation between the left and right views such as different types/levels of distortion in two views. In our work, we first introduce a novel formula-based metric that provide better results than several existing methods. However, the formula-based metric still has its limitation. For further improvement, we propose a parallel boosting system based quality index. That is, we classify distortion types into groups and design a set of scorer to handle them separately. At stage 1, each scorer generates its own score for a specific distortion type. At stage 2, all intermediate scores are fused to predict the final quality index with nonlinear regression. Experimental results demonstrate that the proposed quality index outperforms most of state-of-the art quality assessment methods by a significant margin over different databases. Secondly, a novel algorithm for uncalibrated stereo image-pair rectification under the constraint of geometric distortion, called USR-CGD, is presented in this work. Although it is straightforward to define a rectifying transformation (or homography) given the epipolar geometry, many existing [...]

By |December 6th, 2014|News|Comments Off on Congratulations to Hyunsuk Ko for Passing his Defense|

Interview with new MCL postdoctoral Xue Wang

Xue Wang, a recently graduated Ph.D. student from Media Communications Lab at USC, decides to continue her research work as a postdoctoral associate here with us. She is so happy to study with Professor Kuo and other lab members. Now we have an interview with her, talking about the change of roles between a Ph.D. student and a post-doc researcher and lifelong study plan.

Could you briefly describe yourself and your current research?

My research is an extension of the previous work on the objective evaluation of cataract surgical techniques using image processing and computer vision methods. The state-of-art surgeon evaluation tools primarily require human observers to fill out a grading questionnaire after viewing a video of the procedure, a technique that is subject to observer bias and variability. Therefore, it is hoped that our work could be extremely helpful in developing reliable computational analysis methods that can precisely and automatically identify quantitative and qualitative evaluation for surgical techniques.

Why do you choose to take a post-doc position and what’s your future plan?

I set up my career goal to become a faculty in the university when I started my Ph.D. at USC. I enjoy doing research and communicating with fellow workmates, and working as a post-doc is necessary step in the preparation for becoming faculty. To make this decision, I talked with different professors about the ongoing research work and future plan. Also, I got great help from Jing Zhang, one of our MCLab alumni, who is now pursuing her post-doc at Yale University. I’d apply for faculty position in future and I need to improve myself more. One aspect is about the research; I will enhance my work and try to seize any off-campus presentation opportunity [...]

By |September 21st, 2014|News|Comments Off on Interview with new MCL postdoctoral Xue Wang|

Interview with new MCL visitor Jeong Seyoon

Dr. Seyoon Jeong, a principal researcher in Broadcasting and Telecommunications Media Research Laboratory of Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI), have been visiting Media Communications Lab (USC) since this September. Now we have an interview with him, talking about his research and thoughts on MCLab.

Could you briefly describe yourself and your previous research experience?

I received BS, MS degrees from Inha University in 1995, and 1997, respectively. Then I finished my Ph.D degree from Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in Aug. 2014. Since December 1996, I joined ETRI and focused on the development of international standards such as Scalable Video Coding (SVC), High Efficient Video Coding (HEVC). Currently, my research interests are video coding, super resolution and parallel computing for realistic broadcasting applications such as 3DTV and UHDTV.

What were your first impression of USC and MCLab?

I just arrived USC this month and not very familiar with the environment. People in the lab are very nice and help me a lot. I met Hyunsuk Ko this Monday. He showed me around the campus and our lab. USC is a very diverse university. People from all over the world come to here for their dreams. It is amazing that happens to meet some Koreans when walking on campus and chats with them, just like at home.  As for Media Communications Lab, it is a big family. Professor Kuo is very warm-hearted to introduce his group to me. I really like his style that treats his students as his children. I feel so lucky to join this group.

What is your future expectation in MCLab?

Actually, this is the second year of the UHDTV collaborative project from ETRI and USC MCLab. For the first year, Dr. Kim [...]

By |September 15th, 2014|News|Comments Off on Interview with new MCL visitor Jeong Seyoon|

Interview with new MCL member Chien-Yi Wang

In 2014 Fall semester, Chien-Yi Wang will become a new Ph.D. student in MCLab. Chien-Yi Wang received the B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from National Taiwan University in 2013. He arrived at USC a month ago, and now we have an interview with him, talking about his background and his thoughts on USC and MCLab.

What were your first impression of USC and MCLab?

I have heard of USC in its great learning environment and plenty of resources. At first sight, the buildings in USC are amazing and beautiful. There are usually many trees and animals around the campus, bringing lots of energy and spirits. I also notice that there are always some comfortable benches and tables, accompanying with fabulous fountains, for people to study and chat outside. I am so excited and cannot wait to study in this wonderful campus.
As for MCLab, I think people here are really nice and friendly. Some senior students in the lab introduce many places in the campus for me, and try to help me to get used to the life in Los Angeles. I also got many assistances and advices from them in academy and living before I entered the school. It’s really great to become one of this big warm family.

Could you briefly describe your previous research experience?

In the last two years of my B.S. program, I joined the Wireless Communication Lab and initiated a research project on multimedia communication subject. I have studied the protocols of different wireless systems and learned how to use complex encoding technologies such as H.264 on video sources. I found it interesting to design some algorithms and implement them on the wireless driver. I finally proposed a scheme to improve the [...]

By |September 1st, 2014|News|Comments Off on Interview with new MCL member Chien-Yi Wang|

Re-union Party of USC MCL Alumni in Taiwan with Prof. Kuo

On Thursday (08/14)evening, 17 USC MCL alumni in Taiwan had a re-union party with Prof. Kuo. The party was held in Gabriel Lin’s new house in Hsinchu. The attendees graduated from 1994 to 2011 including: Kwo-Jyr Wong (1994), Chun-Hsiung (Gene) Chuang (1994), Li-Chien Lin (1994), Yu-Chuan (Gabriel) Lin (1995), Houngjyh (Mike) Wang (1998), Huan Chen (2002), Chien-Hwa Hwang (2003), Po-Chyi Su (2003), Sau-Hsuan Wu (2003), Feng-Tsun Chien (2004), Shang-Ho (Lawrence) Tsai (2005), Pei-Kai Liao (2007), Chia-Chin (Kelvin) Chou (2007), Yu-Hao (Roger) Chang (2007), Chia-Chun (Alex) Hsu (2007), Yu-Jung (Ronald) Chang (2008), Peiying (Naco) Chiang (2011), Chung-Cheng (Roy) Lou (2011).

In this party, Prof. Kuo shared the recent situation about USC and MCL Lab. In addition, each member shared his/her working experience in recent years, and some funny and interesting things in the USC. Everyone had a good time and enjoyed the happy atmosphere. This party ended late at 11:30pm.

Via the re-unions, the MCL alumni in Taiwan have built strong connections both in the industry and academia. To date, there are around 35 MCL alumni in Taiwan, working in diverse areas. Most of them are faculty members in prestige schools, some are senior engineers or high level managers in leading companies, and some are the founders of new companies. The MCL alumni keep making contributions to develop new technologies for Taiwan, and the world.

News written by Shang-Ho (Lawrence) Tsai

By |August 17th, 2014|News|Comments Off on Re-union Party of USC MCL Alumni in Taiwan with Prof. Kuo|