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    Congratulations to MCL alumnus Dr. Lance Kaplan being elevated to IEEE Fellow

Congratulations to MCL alumnus Dr. Lance Kaplan being elevated to IEEE Fellow

As an exciting news at the beginning of this new year, MCL alumnus Dr. Lance Kaplan, is elevated to the rank of IEEE fellow, effectively Jan 1st 2016.

Dr. Lance Kaplan received his PhD degree at 1994, as Prof. Kuo’s 4th graduated PhD student in MCL. After his graduation, he worked on staff in the Reconnaissance Systems Department of the Hughes Aircraft Company until 1996.  From 1996-2004, he was a member of the faculty in the Department of Engineering  and a senior investigator in the Center of Theoretical Studies of Physical Systems (CTSPS) at Clark Atlanta University (CAU), Atlanta, GA. Currently, he is a team leader in the Networked Sensing and Fusion branch of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory. Dr. Kaplan serves as Associate Editor-In-Chief and EO/IR Systems Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems (AES). In addition, he is the tutorials editor for the IEEE AES Magazine, and he also serves on the Board of Governors of the IEEE AES Society. He is a three time recipient of the Clark Atlanta University Electrical Engineering Instructional Excellence Award from 1999-2001. He has made significant contributions to several emerging areas: target tracking and localization in distributed sensor networks, extended fractal analysis, trust estimation in social sensing, Joint SAR image formation and detection, etc. His current research interests include signal and image processing, automatic target recognition, data fusion, and resource management.

MCL student Chen Chen got a precious opportunity to have a short interview with Dr. Kaplan.

Q: “How does the study in USC and MCL affect your academia career?”

A: “It was a good foundation. The group was small and researches being conducted were specific to image compression and image processing. Everything in the group were [...]

By |January 9th, 2016|News|Comments Off on Congratulations to MCL alumnus Dr. Lance Kaplan being elevated to IEEE Fellow|

Holiday Greetings

Now we are standing at the end of 2015. This year we have seven students who obtained their PhD degree and five new students that joined the MCL family. We also have publications on top journals and conferences. Congratulations to a fruitful year!

We believe all members are enjoying their holidays at present. MCL sincerely wishes you a merry Christmas and a happy new year!

By |December 25th, 2015|News|Comments Off on Holiday Greetings|

Thanksgiving Luncheon of MCLab

Thanksgiving luncheon has been a tradition of MCL for over twenty years and this year is no exception. This Thursday (11/25/2015), Prof. Kuo held the Thanksgiving luncheon for all MCL members at China Great Buffet in El Monte. More than twenty people including Prof Kuo’s family and other guests invited by MCL members attended this luncheon. We enjoyed the tasty food there including sushi, sashimi, seafood, Chinese food and dessert. This was also a great opportunity for MCL members to get to know each other. We chatted casually and most topics were about Thanksgiving plans.

Although we could not spend Thanksgiving with our family, we really felt quite warm when celebrating Thanksgiving together with lab fellows.

By |November 29th, 2015|News|Comments Off on Thanksgiving Luncheon of MCLab|

Interview with MCL member Ping Wang

Ping Wang is a MS student majoring in Electrical Engineering (Multimedia) at USC. She is conducting directed research (DR) at MCL since the beginning of Fall 2015. We had an interview with her, talking about her research at MCL.

1. Could you please briefly introduce your research at MCL?

My research focuses on quality assessment of compressed image/video based on human’s visual perception. In this research, my group developed a Just Noticeable Difference (JND)-based image/video quality assessment metric, and conducted JND subjective test to collect data. A method to process the measured raw data is proposed afterwards, from which a human-centric quality database is constructed.

2.  Why did you choose MCL to conduct your DR?

It has to do with my major. I’m a multimedia-focusing MS student who has great passion in image/video processing and related technology. I have been taken courses in the previous three semesters yet haven’t got a taste of researching. I feel that doing a research in my cherished field is a perfect end mark for my master’s degree.

3. It’s coming to your end of DR. How would you evaluate it? Do you find it helpful for your study or future career at USC? What do you gain from this experience?

I think this short DR period at MCL is a very unforgettable experience in my whole life. Here I was provided tons of resources. It’s an amazing group where I can always find new things to learn, where each member is helpful and willing to share their experience, where everybody including Professor Kuo is working closely together and where other people’s wisdom can actually inspire me a lot. I’m pretty happy that my master’s degree is fulfilled by the valuable experience here in MCL.

By |November 16th, 2015|News|Comments Off on Interview with MCL member Ping Wang|

Entrepreneurship presentation by Siyang Li

The monthly event, MCL entrepreneurship presentation, continued this week. Siyang Li gave a case study on Oculus, a company focusing on virtual reality. Oculus was founded in 2012, and was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for 2 billion dollars. It features two products at present; both are portable virtual reality display devices. Samsung Gear VR was released this year and Oculus Rift will be released in early 2016.

Siyang briefly explained the concept virtual reality at the beginning and then introduced the co-founders. The fact that the idea to establish a virtual reality technology ­company was brought up by a 20-year-old man, Palmer Luckey, surprised the audience. Then some details of the two products were shown in demo videos. At the end, Siyang emphasized that the solid technology and large market were the key to the success of Oculus. After the presentation, some MCL fellow students commented that a huge transition in game industry is on the way.

By |October 25th, 2015|News|Comments Off on Entrepreneurship presentation by Siyang Li|
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    Dr. Jonghye Woo (an MCL alumnus) promoted to Assistant Professor

Dr. Jonghye Woo (an MCL alumnus) promoted to Assistant Professor

Dr. Jonghye Woo, an MCL alumnus, was recently promoted to Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School. Congratulations!

Dr. Woo graduated from MCL in 2009. He became a research associate at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in 2010 and joined University of Maryland and John Hopkins University as post-doc in 2012. After that he became a faculty member at MGH/Harvard. His research interests lie in medical imaging, particularly multimodal MRI analysis of speech, cardiac/tongue motion modeling and analysis, etc.

Talking about his career path, he thinks it was deeply influenced by his PhD journey, during which he was advised by Prof. Kuo and met several well-known people in the field of medical imaging. Recalling the days in MCL, he felt thankful that he joined the large MCL group, where he interacted a lot with his fellows from various sub-groups. Those experiences are helpful because communication skills are crucial to start career in academia.

Dr. Woo also gave several suggestions to those who want to pursue success in academia. To become a researcher, one needs to be highly motivated and always keeps a clear goal. Humbleness is another important characteristic, which makes one open to different ideas and collaboration with other researchers. The last characteristic he emphasized is persistence. Research is challenging and persistence helps one endure the inevitable struggling.

By |October 18th, 2015|News|Comments Off on Dr. Jonghye Woo (an MCL alumnus) promoted to Assistant Professor|

Interview with new MCL member Ye Wang

MCL has a new PhD student, Ye Wang, in Fall 2015. Let’s give him a warm welcome!

Ye received M.S. degree from Peking University and B.S. degree from Xi’an Jiaotong University in 2014 and 2011, respectively. He joined MCL to pursue his PhD degree in Fall 2015. We had a briefly interview with him.


1. Could you briefly introduce yourself? (Previous research experience, project experience, research interest and expertise)

My previous research field focuses on semiconductor fabrication and test, especially in GaN enhancement mode MOSFET. In 2012 I had a wonderful opportunity to participate in a 3-year project in ‘National Science and Technology Major Project 02’. In the meantime, I published two IEEE journal papers and three top conference papers as well as an invited conference paper.

Since arriving at USC, I have heard more and more about computer vision and machine learning, which are always my keen interest that I haven’t got chances to learn before. Therefore I really appreciate Prof. Kuo for giving me this opportunity to study in MCL and explore more in this exciting area.


2.What’s your first impression of USC and MCL?

USC has a beautiful campus, and Trojans are like a big family with great diversity. Since MCL is a very large group, I was curious about how Prof. Kuo could guide so many students.

However, when I became a member of this group, I finally understand the way Prof. Kuo inspires the students and how they all work together closely and efficiently. Moreover, their passion for research, self-discipline and sound knowledge in this field make me feel really lucky to join MCL.


3. What’s your future expectation for MCL?

To tell the truth, I am completely new to computer vision and machine learning. I feel really [...]

By |October 4th, 2015|News|Comments Off on Interview with new MCL member Ye Wang|

MCL Segmentation Research Work to be Presented at ICCV 2015

The segmentation research in our lab made a significant breakthrough these days. The paper “Robust Image Segmentation Using Contour-guided Color Palettes” by Xiang Fu, Chien-Yi Wang, Chen Chen, Changhu Wang and C.-C. Jay Kuo was accepted by ICCV 2015. In this paper, the contour-guided color palette (CCP) is proposed to efficiently integrate contour and color cues of an image. To find representative colors of an image, color samples along long contours between regions, similar in spirit to machine learning methodology that focus on samples near decision boundaries, are collected to achieve an image-dependent color palette. This color palette provides a preliminary segmentation in the spatial domain, which is further fine-tuned by post-processing techniques such as leakage avoidance, fake boundary removal, and small region mergence. While CCP offers an acceptable standalone segmentation result, it can be further integrated into the framework of layered spectral segmentation to produce a more robust segmentation.


For more details, please refer to our paper that will be published soon. The latest code of this paper can be downloaded here. It is written in MATLAB, and has been tested under 64-bit Windows, Linux, and Mac OSX.

By |September 20th, 2015|News|Comments Off on MCL Segmentation Research Work to be Presented at ICCV 2015|

Interview with new MCL member He Ming Zhang

In 2015 Fall semester, MCLab has a new PhD student, He Ming Zhang. She received the B.S. degree in Communication Engineering and M.S degree in , both from Delft University of Technology, Delft, Netherlands. Now we have an interview with her, talking about her background and her thoughts on USC and MCLab.

1. Could you briefly introduce yourself? 

I received my Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft). After that, I continued my study at Delft for a master degree in multimedia signal processing. My research experiences include designing protocols for secure signal processing and analyzing algorithms for distributed signal processing.

2. What is your first impression of USC and MCL?

Unlike TU Delft, USC has more diversity in schools and also the students. The first time I walked through the campus, I was impressed by the high density of buildings.

MCL has a really large number of students but Prof. Kuo still manages to work quite close with students. It is amazing that I can meet him at least twice per week. The whole group looks like a big family. People communicate with each other very well.

3.What’s your future expectation for MCL?

I hope I will soon know everyone well and become good friends with them. I desire for a friendly study and research environment where people are inspired by each other. I also hope that I can enjoy the research here and contribute to the field of computer vision.

By |September 14th, 2015|News|Comments Off on Interview with new MCL member He Ming Zhang|
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    Congratulations to two MCL PhD students for passing their defense

Congratulations to two MCL PhD students for passing their defense

Congratulations to Sanjay Purushotham and Pang-Chang (Brian) Lan, who passed their defense last week! Following are their thesis abstracts and they also shared their PhD experiences.
Thesis: Advanced Machine Learning Techniques for Video, Social, and Biomedical Data Analytics (Sanjay Purushotham)
In this thesis, advanced machine learning techniques are developed to tackle challenging problems arising in three Big Data application domains. They are: 1) partial near-duplicate content copy detection and alignment for the multimedia (video) application, 2) personalized single user and group recommender systems for the social media data application, and 3) sparse learning models for identification of discriminative feature interactions for gene expression prediction and cancer stage classification for the biomedical data application. Novel and suitable machine learning algorithms and models are designed to meet the nature of the data in each specific application domain. 

Thesis: Secure Wireless Communications with Side Information: Secrecy Analysis and Unitary Modulation Realization (Brian Lan)
In wireless communication systems such as LTE, information security is protected by symmetric cryptography which assumes that the user and the base station shares the same secret key. But before the setup of the symmetric cryptosystems, the key sharing and authentication processes are vulnerable to eavesdropping. This is referred to as the secure initiation problem. Our work proposes to use physical layer techniques to achieve perfect secrecy without using cryptography, so the secure initiation problem can be solved. In particular, we bring up the concept of having only channel state information (CSI) at the transmitter side but not at the receiver nor the eavesdropper. This concept will be shown beneficial in secrecy comparing to the conventional assumption of full CSI at all terminals. A practical scheme, unitary modulation, is then proposed to exploit this concept. [...]

By |September 6th, 2015|News|Comments Off on Congratulations to two MCL PhD students for passing their defense|