A Signal-Processing Approach to Modeling Vision, and Applications

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Friday, February 25, Giedt Hall 1002, 12:00pm-1:00pm

Sheila Hemami
Professor of Electrical Engineering, Cornell

Host: Professor Anna Scaglione


Current state-of-the-art algorithms that process visual information for end use by humans treat images and video as traditional signals and employ sophisticated signal processing strategies to achieve their excellent performance. These algorithms also incorporate characteristics of the human visual system (HVS), but typically in a relatively simplistic manner, and achievable performance is reaching an asymptote. However, large gains are still realizable with current techniques by aggressively incorporating HVS characteristics, combined with a good dose of clever signal processing. Achieving these gains requires HVS characterizations which better model natural image perception ranging from sub-threshold perception (where distortions are not visible) to suprathreshold perception (where distortions are clearly visible). In this talk, I will present results from our lab characterizing the responses of the HVS to natural images, and contrast these results with 'classical' psychophysical results. I will also present applications of these results to image compression and quality assessment, as well as some signal processing problems (and their solutions) that emerged in applying the psychophysical results.


Sheila S. Hemami received the B.S. degree (summa cum laude) in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 1990 and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Stanford University, Stanford, CA, in 1992 and 1994 respectively. During her last year at Stanford, she was a member of the technical staff at Hewlett Packard Laboratories in Palo, Alto, California. Upon completing her Ph.D., she joined the faculty of the Electrical Engineering department at Cornell where she currently directs the Visual Communications Lab.

She is currently the Editor-in-Chief for the IEEE Transactions on Multimedia (2008-10), a Member of the Signal Processing Society Board of Governors (2009-11), and a Signal Processing Society Distinguished Lecturer (2010-11). She chaired the IEEE Image and Multidimensional Signal Processing Technical Committee (2006-7), and has served as an Associate Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing. Hemami serves on many program committees and organizing committees in the fields of signal and image processing, compression, and perception.

She has held visiting positions at the University of Nantes (Chaire Regionale d'Excellence, Pays de la Loire), Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL WISH Distinguished Visiting Professor), Princeton University, and Rice University (Texas Instruments Distinguished Visiting Professor). In 2001 she visited the Faculte de Sciences, Rabat, Morocco as a Fulbright Distinguished Lecturer.

In 1997 she received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award. She held the Kodak Term Professorship of Electrical Engineering at Cornell University from 1996-1999. In 2000 she received the Eta Kappa Nu C. Holmes MacDonald Outstanding Teaching Award (a national award), and she has won numerous teaching awards at Cornell. She was a finalist for the Eta Kappa Nu Outstanding Young Electrical Engineer in 2003. In 2005 she received the Alice H. Cook and Constance E. Cook Award at Cornell University for her leadership of the Women in Science and Engineering committee.

Hemami is a Fellow of the IEEE and a member of Eta Kappa Nu, and Tau Beta Pi.