Touradj Ebrahimi

MMSPL third lunch meeting in 2008
The third lunch meeting of Multimedia Signal Processing Group took place on Wednesday 12 March 2008. The lunch was organized by our colleague Lionel Rhyn. This was an occasion to welcome Yolanda Cobos Campos from VicomTECH, Spain, who was staying with us in the framework of a short time scientific mission financed by COST 292 Action. We also took this opportunity to say goodbye and wish good luck to now Dr. Ulrich Hoffmann who was leaving our research group at the end of March, upon successful completion of his Ph.D. thesis.
Some pictures of the lunch can be consulted at:
http://picasaweb.google.com/Touradj.Ebrahimi/MMSPLThirdLunchMeeting
Posted by Touradj Ebrahimi at 17:14
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JPEG meeting in San Francisco
The 44th JPEG meeting took place in San Francisco from March 31st to April 4th. This was a very fruitful meeting with good progress in many ongoing activities. JPEG XR which is a new compression scheme in between JPEG and JPEG 2000 in terms of complexity but also performance, moved one step forward by becoming Committee Draft. JPSearch approved several Working Drafts for its various parts, and a new independent standard activity was initiated called JPEG DI which will standardize tools that go across all JPEG codecs (file format, security tools, interactivity tools, evaluation tools, etc.). Advanced Image Coding activities were also moved forward with agreement on a workplan and next steps towards a call for technologies for the next generation image coding standard.
One of the highlights of this meeting was the 3D digital cinema projection of Beowulf which was attended by the experts of JPEG at the kind invitation of Dolby Laboratories on their premises and projection room in San Francisco.

Some pictures I took during the meeting can be seen from:

http://picasaweb.google.com/Touradj.Ebrahimi/JPEGMeetingInSanFrancisco
Posted by Touradj Ebrahimi at 12:10
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Invited Presentation at Defense and Security Symposium 2008
Defense and Security Symposium (DSS) is an annual event gathering academics, engineers, and professionals in various areas of security and defense in Orlando, Florida. The symposium often takes place either during the Easter week, or next to it. This year DSS was from 16-20 March 2008. You can have a look at the program and various conferences organized during DSS by referring to the following url:

http://spie.org/x23834.xml

I have been attending DSS since three years now and usually teach a short course there on Information Processing for Video Surveillance together with my colleague Dr. Frédéric Dufaux. In 2008, we took a short break from giving this course at DSS (it was given instead during the Electronic Imaging in San Jose on January 2008, and will be given again on July 2008 during SPIE annual meeting in San Diego). Instead, I went there to make an invited presentation on JPSEC and JPWL standards during the conference on Mobile Multimedia/Image Processing, Security, and Applications 2008, which is one of the many conferences during DSS.

I often meet a colleague from MPEG, Pankaj Topiwala, during DSS. The picture below was taken this year with him. You can also consult the content of my invited presentation by clicking the link below the picture.
Posted by Touradj Ebrahimi at 0:09
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PetaMedia first kick-off workshop and adventures with Swiss airline
PetaMedia (Peer to Peer Tagged Media) is a Network of Excellence consortium funded by the European Commission in the area of integration between Social Networks, Peer to Peer networking, and Multimedia Content Analysis. More information about PetaMedia can be found at the following url:
http://www.petamedia.eu/

The kick-off meeting of the project took place in Delft, on March 13-14, 2008. I took a few pictures of the event and put them on the following url:
http://picasaweb.google.com/Touradj.Ebrahimi/PetaMediaDelft
The kick-off meeting was very productive indicating that PetaMedia will be a successful project.

The trip to Delft was by itself some adventure and full of interesting lessons.
In case your Swiss airline flight happens to land too late at Zurich airport and you miss your continuation flight, which is helas becoming now a standard pattern in Swiss flights from Geneva, expect waiting up to one hour before anybody takes care of you if you don't have the privilege of access to first class counter. If you have the privilege to first class counter, the wait is only 30 minutes, but definitely avoid some lady called Mrs Gonzales. She misses the DNA code for politeness in her genes. Don't even think about complaining if after making you wait almost two hours and up to virtually mid-night, they tell you that as you will have to take the plane leaving the next morning at 6 am, you should take a bus ride for 40 minutes to some small village called Zurzach near the German border (http://www.planetware.com/switzerland/zurzach-ch-ag-zurz.htm), sleep in a room which is hardly big enough for putting a tiny bed in it, and you have to get up before 5 am, take another bus ride for 40 minutes to come back to Zurich airport. Of course, if the hotel staff forgets to wake you up at 4:30 am as you asked them to do just a few hours before, don't be surprized. They will tell you they are sorry! At least you discover that not all people from German part of Switzerland are like Mrs Gonzales! If you have time and can stand to be treated like a criminal, after harassing you enough, the Swissport personnel may eventually consider exchanging the bus ride for a taxi, but consider yourself specially honored and lucky if this happens. This is a unique privilege for only the best customers. I just wonder if the best customers are handled like this, how the less best customers are treated!

By the way, did I mention there are cheaper direct flight from Geneva to Amsterdam offered by other companies?

I won't be complete if I did not tell you a similar adventure that happened during the pre-kick off meeting of PetaMedia.

The pre-kick off meeting of PetaMedia took place in Queen Mary University of London on February 11th 2008. As this was a one day meeting, I took a Swiss flight from Geneva to London City airport (http://www.londoncityairport.com/) in the morning with the intention of returning on the same evening. Not surprizingly, the flight was delayed due to fog and bad weather and after much delay in take-off, and then a couple of hours in the air circling around most of the time, Swiss decided to finally land instead in a very remote airport called Stansted (http://www.stanstedairport.com/). This is of course the type of things that can happen, so one cannot really blame anyone for this at first sight. The real problem was that Swiss airline has absolutely nobody nor whatsoever in that airport, and they don't tell you anything about it. So, they land you at a hundred kilometer distance from where you are supposed to be landed, and you are on your own, in an unknown airport, and unknown place, trying to find out how to get where you are supposed to get to! Do you think you receive a letter of apology or any compensation? I let you guess. I can only wish that one day Lufthansa which fully owns Swiss, will decide to change the name of this company, so that at least with the type of services they offer, they do not damage the image of Switzerland by abusing its name!
Posted by Touradj Ebrahimi at 20:06
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Master Program in Security and Cryptology of Information Systems
Since 2002, I have been teaching a media security course in the framework of a Master program on information security, jointly run by INPG and University of Joseph Fourier, in Grenoble, France. As such, since 2002, I have been spending a couple of days per year in Grenoble to teach some 16 hours of lecture in an intensive two-day program.
In 2007-08, the program of this master went through a major revision, and was largely redesigned. One of the big changes has been the language of teaching which is now English, because the program is being attended by non-French speaking students from as far as Emirates.
For those who are interested in knowing more about this Master program on Security and Cryptology of Information Systems, I have put the a brochure of the program in pdf at the end of this article.
This year, my lectures were planned on 6-7 March 2008, and included as usual two full days of lectures followed by a one hour test.
I have put a few pictures taken during my visit to Grenoble at the following url:

http://picasaweb.google.com/Touradj.Ebrahimi/GrenobleMasterProgramOnInformationSecurity
Posted by Touradj Ebrahimi at 22:14
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Adjunct professor at NTNU
EPFL allows its faculty members to dispose of 20% of their time for carrying out any free activities they believe is interesting for them. I recently found a way to make a good use of this possibility! As of March 2008, I have been appointed as an adjunct professor at the Center of Excellence for Quantifiable Quality of Service in Communication Systems (Q2S) of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), in Trondheim, Norway.
This opportunity came out of previous discussions with my good friend Andrew Perkis, who is a full professor at NTNU and very involved in Q2S. Andrew and I have been knowing each other since almost 15 years now, and have been working together in a number of exciting projets in the past. I am happy that this opportunity will allow us to continue with an even stronger collaboration from now on.
Information about NTNU can be found at the following url:
http://www.ntnu.no
There is also a lot of information about Q2S at the following link:
http://www.q2s.ntnu.no
I went to Norway for my first visit of Q2S, from March 2-5. The timing was very fortunate because it not only coincided with the visit of Andrew to Trondheim (he is on leave in Singapore for a while), but also I was lucky to meet two other colleagues and friends: Fernando Pereira, professor at IST in Portugal, and Béatrice Pesquet-Popescu, professor at ENST in Paris, who also were there as members of Jury of the PhD thesis of Stian Johansen. Stian defended his thesis with success. Congratulations to him!
Above all, this visit was an opportunity for me to get to know PhD students, Post-docs and Researchers at Q2S in a first contact, and to have a face to face discussion with some of them, and to plan some concrete activities. I am sure in the near future you will see some other articles in this blog about Q2S and NTNU.
I took a few pictures while in Trondheim. Have a look:
http://picasaweb.google.com/Touradj.Ebrahimi/Q2S
Posted by Touradj Ebrahimi at 23:10
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COST292 WG7 (JPSearch) meeting in Florence
The COST292 is a European research cooperation project entitled Semantic Multimodal Analysis of Digital Media. Some useful information about this consortium can be found here:
http://www.cost292.org
Working Group 7 of this project is involved in JPSearch and I have the pleasure of chairing it.
WG7 had its meeting in the beautiful city of Florence on February 28th, 2008. The goal of the meeting was to discuss the outcome of the lastest JPsearch meeting in November 2007, and to prepare contributions and coordinate among the members of COST292 for the next JPSearch meeting in April 2008. Information about WG7 and its activities can be obtained from its website at the following url:
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/JPSearch-COST292
The above link is password protected for most parts, but you can ask to have access to it, if you become a member of COST 292.
The meeting in Florence was hosted by Alinari at the National Museum of Photography which is really worth visiting if you happen to be in Florence. The museum is very close to the main train station of Florence called Santa Maria Novella (see: http://www.mnaf.it/eng/index.html).
The meeting was both very successful and enjoyable, and was an occasion to meet some good old friends.
Some photos of the meeting can be found at the following url:
http://picasaweb.google.com/Touradj.Ebrahimi/COST292Florence2008
Posted by Touradj Ebrahimi at 0:13
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MMSPL Second Lunch meeting in 2008
MMSPL had its second lunch meeting in 2008 on February 20th. This lunch was organized by Mourad Ouaret, the most senior Ph.D. student in our team. The food was fantastic, and I think everybody enjoyed it. I could join only for the last part of the lunch, as it had collided with our Institute's faculty meeting.
Some pictures can be seen at the following url:
http://picasaweb.google.com/Touradj.Ebrahimi/MMSPLSecondLunchMeeting
Posted by Touradj Ebrahimi at 8:51
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JPEG AhG meeting in Poitiers, France
JPEG members involved in the development of JPEG-XR and the evaluation criteria of AIC had a meeting in Poitiers, France, on February 14 and 15, 2008. This meeting was attended by experts from USA, Japan, and Europe. From EPFL, four attended. Michael Ansorge, Frederic Dufaux, Francesca De Simone, and myself. This was a very successful and rich meeting, with participants giving the latest conclusions of their evaluation of JPEG-XR as compared to other image compression standards such as JPEG and JPEG 2000. EPFL team had worked very hard on this evaluation for weeks. Our results required some 2.5 Tera bytes of disk space, and produced around 4000 comparison graphics.
Beside the meeting in Poitiers which was very successful, this trip was also very rich from other perpectives. I learned that on the evening of February 14th (St Valentine), there is almost no hope to find a restaurant in Poitiers. That in the Parisian metro, one can meet people who could become agressive if you don't give them some money. That Japanese are still among the most civilized people left on this planet. And that if some selfish French woman orders you to carry her heavy bag for her, without even saying 'please', you better do it immediately, if you don't want her to insult you!

Some pictures of the trip can be found in the following site:

http://picasaweb.google.com/Touradj.Ebrahimi/JPEGAhGMeetingInPoitiersFrance
Posted by Touradj Ebrahimi at 21:38
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2008 First MMSPL lunch meeting
The first lunch meeting of our research team in 2008 took place on Tuesday February 5th. The lunch was organized by Francesca De Simone, who actually cooked some great Italian food for us, and took the pain of bringing it all to our Laboratory's premises. I would like to extend on behalf of all those who participated in this lunch meeting, a big thanks to Francesca for the wonderful meals. We are all looking forward to the second lunch meeting in a few weeks!

Some pictures of the first lunch meeting in 2008 can be consulted at the following url:

http://picasaweb.google.com/Touradj.Ebrahimi/MMSPL2008FirstLunchMeeting
Posted by Touradj Ebrahimi at 19:40
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