You Know It When You See It - IEEE Xplore

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quately what the field is really all about. (see the ... Adriana Dumitras — Apple Inc. Brendan Frey ... Majid Rabbani — Eastman Kodak Company. Phillip A.

[from the EDITOR]

Antonio Ortega Area Editor, Feature Articles [email protected] publications/periodicals/spm

You Know It When You See It

“I shall not today attempt further to define [obscenity]; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it. . .,” U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, 1973.


ot too long ago I attended a lecture by Prof. Karl Östrom, who spoke about his view that control had become a “hidden technology,” present everywhere, without most people noticing it. But, wait, wasn’t signal processing a “stealth technology” (see the “President’s Message” in the

Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/MSP.2009.932409

IEEE SIGNAL PROCESSING MAGAZINE Li Deng, Editor-in-Chief — Microsoft Research AREA EDITORS Feature Articles — Antonio Ortega, University of Southern California Columns and Forums — Ghassan AlRegib, Georgia Institute of Technology Special Issues — Dan Schonfeld, University of Illinois at Chicago e-Newsletter — Min Wu, University of Maryland EDITORIAL BOARD Alex Acero — Microsoft Research John G. Apostolopoulos — Hewlett-Packard Laboratories Les Atlas — University of Washington Holger Boche — Fraunhofer HHI, Germany Liang-Gee Chen — National Taiwan University Ingemar Cox — University College London Ed Delp — Purdue University Adriana Dumitras — Apple Inc. Brendan Frey — University of Toronto Sadaoki Furui — Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan Alex Gershman — Darmstadt University of Technology, Germany Mazin Gilbert — AT&T Research Yingbo Hua — University of California, Riverside Alex Kot — Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Chin-Hui Lee — Georgia Institute of Technology Bede Liu — Princeton University B.S. Manjunath — University of California, Santa Barbara Soo-Chang Pei — National Taiwan University Michael Picheny — IBM T.J. Watson Research Center

March 2008 issue)? What is going on? Is electrical engineering becoming the invisible engineering? Clearly, there is some serious soul searching taking place in various corners of our field. Those of us in academia may have heard about lower undergraduate EE enrollments and what that may do to our departmental operations (is your dean still returning your calls?). All of us in research may have heard complaints about how difficult it is to “out-impact” our colleagues in the sciences and what that may do to shrinking research budgets. There is much to be discussed, but allow me to stay away from the broader issues and focus on signal processing. There seems to be a perception that signal processing is not as visible as it

Roberto Pieraccini — Speech Cycle Inc. Fernando Pereira — ISTIT, Portugal Jose C. Principe — University of Florida Majid Rabbani — Eastman Kodak Company Phillip A. Regalia — Catholic University of America Hideaki Sakai — Kyoto University, Japan Nicholas Sidiropoulos — Tech University of Crete, Greece Murat Tekalp — Koc University, Turkey Henry Tirri — Nokia Research Center Anthony Vetro — MERL Xiaodong Wang — Columbia University ASSOCIATE EDITORS— COLUMNS AND FORUM Umit Batur — Texas Instruments Andrea Cavallaro — Queen Mary, University of London Berna Erol — Ricoh California Research Center Rodrigo Capobianco Guido — University of Sao Paulo, Brazil Konstantinos Konstantinides — Hewlett-Packard Andres Kwasinski — Rochester Institute of Technology Rick Lyons — Besser Associates Aleksandra Mojsilovic — IBM T.J. Watson Research Center George Moschytz — Bar-Ilan University, Israel Douglas O’Shaughnessy — INRS, Canada C. Britton Rorabaugh — DRS C3 Systems Co. Greg Slabaugh — Medicsight PLC, U.K. Wade Trappe — Rutgers University Stephen T.C. Wong — Methodist Hospital-Cornell Dong Yu — Microsoft Research


ought to be. Many good ideas have been discussed to increase the visibility of the field (see again the “President’s Message” in the March 2008 issue), including considering whether the name conveys adequately what the field is really all about (see the “President’s Message” in the September 2008 issue). Let’s be honest about this; changing names is no trivial matter, and we should proceed with caution. Perhaps by the time the United States has switched to the metric system, we may be ready for action...but seriously is there a good alternative name for the field? Think about it, and it’s not clear what may be good options. Is it that signal processing defies definition? IEEE Signal Processing Magazine strives to be open to all research going

ASSOCIATE EDITORS—E-NEWSLETTER Nitin Chandrachoodan — India Institute of Technologies Huaiyu Dai — North Carolina State University Pascal Frossard — EPFL, Switzerland Alessandro Piva — University of Florence, Italy Mihaela van der Schaar — University of California, Los Angeles IEEE PERIODICALS MAGAZINES DEPARTMENT Geraldine Krolin-Taylor — Senior Managing Editor Susan Schneiderman — Business Development Manager +1 732 562 3946 Fax: +1 732 981 1855 Felicia Spagnoli — Advertising Production Mgr. Janet Dudar — Senior Art Director Gail A. Schnitzer — Assistant Art Director Theresa L. Smith — Production Coordinator Dawn M. Melley — Editorial Director Peter M. Tuohy — Production Director Fran Zappulla — Staff Director, Publishing Operations IEEE SIGNAL PROCESSING SOCIETY José M.F. Moura — President Mos Kaveh — President-Elect Michael D. Zoltowski — Vice President, Awards and Membership V. John Mathews — Vice President, Conferences Petar Djuric´ — Vice President, Finance Ali H. Sayed — Vice President, Publications Alex Acero — Vice President, Technical Directions Mercy Kowalczyk — Executive Director and Associate Editor

[from the EDITOR]

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on in our Society; anybody can submit proposals for feature articles and special issues, reviewed by the Editorial Board (EB), whose members represent a very broad set of areas. Believe me, as area editor for feature articles, when I seek feedback from the EB about a specific proposal I get diverse opinions, feedback, and comments, always constructive, never unanimous. Thus, what gets published in the magazine gives us an idea of what is new and exciting in our society, and what the new emerging topics and challenges are. Browse through recent issues of the magazine, and the range of topics is impressive. We seek to understand how humans work from the lowest levels (genomic signal processing), to the highest semantic levels (spoken language technology), or even as a society (social networks). We create new interfaces (brain machine interfacing), displays (multiview and three-dimensional technology) and sounds (sound synthesis). We contribute key tools to communicate (network coding, dynamic spectrum access, cognitive radios) and sense (wireless sensor networks). In the process, we constantly rethink how signals are obtained (compressive sampling) and represented (frames). We consider broad applications, studying some the best things we can produce (cultural heritage) and some of the worst too (forensics for analysis of digital evidence). With this list in mind, let me raise two broad points and make a request. First, many of these topics do not address signals of the type most of us encountered in our introductory DSP courses. Audio, speech, images, and video are clearly important research areas, but so are “signals” encountered in genome analysis or biomedical applications. Identifying new research areas has become, if anything, more interesting. We continuously hear about how much more data can be captured and stored now, as compared to what was possible just a few years back. Some people see a clear risk here; a new pervasive form of data storage may be created: write once read never. To us this should be a great opportunity, developing tools to analyze and extract useful information from these very large data sets. We can bring a unique perspective to the problem, and can do so by seeing signals where others can see just, well, data. Second, and most important, what really impresses me about this list of topics is that it didn’t turn out this way by design. Instead many individuals decided that recent progress on a given topic had to be published, and that this magazine was the best to publish it. It may not be signal processing as we used to know it, but we, as a community think that it is signal processing and belongs in the magazine. As for the request (you all knew this was coming, of course): keep those feature article/special issue white papers coming! Many of them will get published (no worries: this material is legal in most places) and will make it possible for all of us to “see” what signal processing is. [SP]