Report from ACM MMSYS 2018 – by Gwendal Simon

While I was attending the MMSys conference (last June in Amsterdam), I tweeted about my personal highlights of the conference, in the hope to share with those who did not have the opportunity to attend the conference. Fortunately, I have been chosen as “Best Social Media Reporter” of the conference, a new award given by ACM SIGMM chapter to promote the sharing among researchers on social networks. To celebrate this award, here is a more complete report on the conference!

When I first heard that this year’s edition of MMsys would be attended by around 200 people, I was a bit concerned whether the event would maintain its signature atmosphere. It was not long before I realized that fortunately it would. The core group of researchers who were instrumental in the take-off of the conference in the early 2010’s is still present, and these scientists keep on being sincerely happy to meet new researchers, to chat about the latest trends in the fast-evolving world of online multimedia, and to make sure everybody feels comfortable talking with each other.


I attended my first MMSys in 2012 in North Carolina. Although I did not even submit any paper to MMSys’12, I decided to attend because the short welcoming text on the website was astonishingly aligned with my own feeling of the academic research world. I rarely read the usually boring and unpassionate conference welcoming texts, but this particular day I took time to read this particular MMSys text changed my research career. Before 2012, I felt like one lost researcher among thousands of other researchers, whose only motivation is to publish more papers whatever at stake. I used to publish sometimes in networking venues, sometimes in system venues, sometimes in multimedia venues… My production was then quite inconsistent, and my experiences attending conferences were not especially exciting.

The MMsys community matches my expectations for several reasons:

  • The size of a typical MMSys conference is human: when you meet someone the first day, you’ll surely meet this fellow again the next day.
  • Informal chat groups are diverse. I’ve the feeling that anybody can feel comfortable enough to chat with any other attendee regardless of gender, nationality, and seniority.
  • A responsible vision of what should be an academic event. The community is not into show-off in luxury resorts, but rather promotes decently cheap conferences in standard places while maximizing fun and interactions. It comes sometimes with the cost of organizing the conference in the facilities of the university (which necessarily means much more work for organizers and volunteers), but social events have never been neglected.
  • People share a set of “values” into their research activities.

This last point is of course the most significant aspect of MMSys. The main idea behind this conference is that multimedia services are not only multimedia but also networks, systems, and experiences. This commitment to a holistic vision of multimedia systems has at least two consequences. First, the typical contributions that are discussed in this conference have both some theoretical and experimental parts, and, to be accepted, papers have to find the right balance between both sides of the problem. It is definitely challenging, but it brings passionate researchers to the conference. Second, the line between industry and academia is very porous. As a matter of facts, many core researchers of MMSys are either (past or current) employees of research centers in a company or involved into standard groups and industrial forums. The presence of people being involved in the design of products nurtures the academic debates.

While MMSys significantly grows, year after year, I was curious to see if these “values” remain. Fortunately, it does. The growing reputation has not changed the spirit.


The 2018 edition of the MMSys conference was held in the campus of CWI, near Downtown Amsterdam. Thanks to the impressive efforts of all volunteers and local organizers, the event went smoothly in the modern facilities near the Amsterdam University. As can be expected from a conference in the Netherlands, especially in June, biking to the conference was the obviously best solution to commute every morning from anywhere in Amsterdam.

mmsys_3The program contains a fairly high number of inspiring talks, which altogether reflected the “style” of MMsys. We got a mix of entertaining technological industry-oriented talks discussing state-of-the-art and beyond. The two main conference keynotes were given by stellar researchers (who unsurprisingly have a bright career in both academia and industry) on the two hottest topics of the conference. First Philip Chou (8i Labs) introduced holograms. Phil kind of lives in the future, somewhere five years later than now. And from there, Phil was kind enough to give us a glimpse of the anticipatory technologies that will be developed between our and his nows. Undoubtedly everybody will remember his flash-forwarding talk. Then Nuria Oliver (Vodafone) discussed the opportunities to combine IoT and multimedia in a talk that was powerful and energizing. The conference also featured so-called overview talks. The main idea is that expert researchers present the state-of-the-art in areas that have been especially under the spotlights in the past months. The topics this year were 360-degree videos, 5G networks, and per-title video encoding. The experts were from Tiledmedia, Netflix, Huawei and University of Illinois. With such a program, MMSys attendees had the opportunity to catch-up on everything they may have missed during the past couple of years.


mmsys_5The MMSys conference has also a long history of commitment for open-source and demonstration. This year’s conference was a peak with an astonishing ratio of 45% papers awarded by a reproducibility badge, which means that the authors of these papers have accepted to share their dataset, their code, and to make sure that their work can be reproduced by other researchers. I am not aware of any other conference reaching such a ratio of reproducible papers. MMSys is all about sharing, and this reproducibility ratio demonstrates that the MMSys researchers see their peers as cooperating researchers rather than competitors.


mmsys_6My personal highlights would go for two papers: the first one is a work from researchers from UT Dallas and Mobiweb. It shows a novel efficient approach to generate human models (skeletal poses) with regular Kinect. This paper is a sign that Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality will soon be populated by user-generated content, not only synthetized 3D models but also digital captures of real humans. The road toward easy integration of avatars in multimedia scenes is paved and this work is a good example of it. The second work I would like to highlight in this column is a work from researchers from Université Cote d’Azur. The paper deals with head movement in 360-degree videos but instead of trying to predict movements, the authors propose to edit the content to guide user attention so that head movements are reduced. The approach, which is validated by a real prototype and code source sharing, comes from a multi-disciplinary collaboration with designers, engineers, and human interaction experts. Such multi-disciplinary work is also largely encouraged in MMSys conferences.


Finally, MMSys is also a full event with several associated workshops. This year, Packet Video (PV) was held with MMSys for the very first time and it was successful with regards to the number of people who attended it. Fortunately, PV has not interfered with Nossdav, which is still the main venue for high-quality innovative and provocative studies. In comparison, both MMVE and Netgames were less crowded, but the discussion in these events was intense and lively, as can be expected when so many experts sit in the same room. It is the purpose of workshops, isn’t it?


A very last word on the social events. The social events in the 2018 edition were at the reputation of MMSys: original and friendly. But I won’t say more about them: what happens in MMSys social events stays at MMSys.

mmsys_9The 2019 edition of MMSys will be held on the East Coast of US, hosted by University of Massachusetts-Amherst. The multimedia community is in a very exciting time of its history. The attention of researchers is shifting from video delivery to immersion, experience, and attention. More than ever, multimedia systems should be studied from multiple interplaying perspectives (network, computation, interfaces). MMSys is thus a perfect place to discuss research challenges and to present breakthrough proposals.

[1] This means that I also had my bunch of rejected papers at MMSys and affiliated workshops. Reviewer #3, whoever you are, you ruined my life (for a couple of hours)

ACM Fellows in the SIGMM Community

Multimedia can be defined as the seamless integration of digital technologies in ways which provide for an enriched experience for users as we create and consume information with high fidelity.  Behind that definition lies a host of enabling digital technologies to allow us create, capture, store, analyse, index, locate, transmit and present information. But when did multimedia, as we now know it, start?  Was it the ideas of Vannevar Bush and Memex, or Ted Nelson and Xanadu or the development of Apple computers in the mid 1980s or maybe the emergence of the web which enables distribution of multimedia?

Certainly by the early 1990s and definitely by 1993 when SIGMM was founded, multimedia was established and ACM SIGMMrecognised as a mainstream activity within computing. Over the intervening two and a half decades we’ve seen tremendous progress, incredible developments and a wholesale adoption of our technologies right across our society.  All this has been achieved partly on the backs of innovations by many eminent scientists and technologists who are leaders within our SIGMM community.

We recently saw two of our SIGMM community elevated to the grade of ACM Fellow, joining the 52 other new ACM Fellows in the class of 2017. Our congratulations go to Yong Rui and to Shih-Fu Chang for their elevation to that grade. Yong had a lovely interview for SIGMM on the significance of this honour for him as a researcher, and for us all in SIGMM, which is available at and its worth reflecting on some of our other SIGMM family who have been similarly honoured in the past.

While checking SIGMM membership is an easy thing to do (though its a bit more difficult to check back throughout our membership history) it is a bit arbitrary to define who is and who is not part of our SIGMM “family”.  To me its somebody who is, or has been, an active participant or organiser of our events, or a contributor to our field. Our SIGMM family includes those I would associate with SIGMM rather than any other SIG, and with ACM rather than with any other society.

In the class of new ACM Fellows for 2017 Shih-Fu Chang is elevated “for contributions to large-scale multimedia content recognition and multimedia information retrieval”. Shih-Fu is my predecessor as SIGMM chair and still serves on the SIGMM Executive as well as maintaining a hugely impressive research output.  He won the SIGMM Outstanding Technical Achievement Award in 2011. 

Yong Rui was also elevated to ACM Fellow in 2017 “for contributions to image, video and multimedia analysis, understanding and retrieval”.  Yong is a long-time supporter of SIGMM Conferences as well as a regular attendee and major contributor to our field.

Wen Gao of Peking University is vice president of the National Natural Science Foundation of China and was a co-chair of ACM Multimedia in 2009. He is also on the advisory board of ACM Transactions on Multimedia Computing, Communications, and Applications (TOMM) and was elevated to ACM Fellow in 2013 “for contributions to video technology, and for leadership to advance computing in China”.

Zhengyou Zhang was also elevated in 2013 “for contributions to computer vision and multimedia” and continues to serve the SIGMM community, most recently as Best Papers chair at MM 2017.

Klara Nahrstedt (class of 2012) was elevated “for contributions to quality-of-service management for distributed multimedia systems” and has served as SIGMM Chair prior to Shih-Fu. In 2014 Klara won the SIGMM Technical Achievement Award and until last year she also served on the SIGMM Executive Committee.

Joe Konstan (class of 2008) was elevated “for contributions to human-computer interaction” and he also won the ACM Software System Award in 2010. Joe was the ACM MM 2000 TPC Chair and was on the SIGMM Executive Committee from 1999 to 2007.

HongJiang Zhang (class of 2007) was elevated to Fellow “for contributions to content-based analysis and retrieval of multimedia”.  HongJiang also won the 2012 SIGMM Outstanding Technical Achievement Award and he has a huge publications output with a Google Scholar h-index of 120.

Ramesh Jain (class of 2003) was elevated “for contributions to computer vision and multimedia information systems”. Ramesh remains one of the most prolific authors in our field and a regular, almost omnipresent, attendee at our major SIGMM conferences. In 2010 Ramesh won the SIGMM Outstanding Technical Achievement Award.

Ralf Steinmetz (class of 2001) was elevated for “pioneering work in multimedia communications and education, including fundamental contributions in perceivable Quality of Service for multimedia systems derived from multimedia synchronization, and for multimedia education”. Ralf is also the winner of the inaugural  ACM SIGMM Technical Achievement Award, presented in 2008 and between 2009 and 2015 he served as Editor-in-Chief of the ACM Transactions on Multimedia Computing, Communications, and Applications (TOMM), formerly known as TOMCCAP.

Larry Rowe (class of 1998) was elevated “for seminal contributions to programming languages, relational database technology, user interfaces and multimedia systems”.  Larry is a past chair of SIGMM (1998-2003) and in 2009 he received the SIGMM Technical Achievement Award.
P. Venkat Rangan was elevated to ACM Fellow in 1998. At the recent ACM MM Conference in 2017, we had a short presentation on the first ACM MM Conference in 1993 and Venkat’s efforts in organising that first MM was acknowledged in that presentation. Venkat’s ACM Fellowship citation says that he “founded one of the foremost centers for research in multimedia, in which area he is an inventor of fundamental techniques with global impact”.

What is interesting to note about these awardees is the broad range of areas in which their contributions are grounded, covering the “traditional” areas of multimedia. These range from quality of service delivery across networks to analysis of content and from user interfaces and interaction to progress in fundamental computer vision.  This reflects the broad range of research areas covered by the SIGMM community, which has been part of our DNA since SIGMM was founded.

Our ACM Fellows are a varied and talented group of individuals, each richly deserving of their award and their only single unifying theme is broad multimedia, and that’s one of our distinguishing features. In some SIGs like SIGARCH (computer architecture), SIGCSE (computer science education) or SIGIR (information retrieval), there’s a focus on a narrow topic or a challenge while in other SIGs like SIGCHI (computer human interaction), SIGMOD (management of data) or SIGAI (artificial intelligence), there are a broad range of research areas.  SIGMM sits with those areas where our application and impact is broad.

The ACM Fellow awards started nearly 25 years ago. Further details can be found at and a link to each of the awards can be found at

SIGMM Award for Outstanding Ph.D. Thesis in Multimedia Computing, Communications and Applications 2016

image001ACM Special Interest Group on Multimedia (SIGMM) is pleased to present the 2016 SIGMM Outstanding Ph.D. Thesis Award to Dr. Christoph Kofler. The award committee considers Dr. Kofler’s dissertation entitled “User Intent in Online Video Search” worthy of the recognition as the thesis is the first to innovatively consider a user’s intent in multimedia search yielding significantly improved results in satisfying the information need of the user. The work has high originality and is expected to have significant impact, especially in boosting the search performance for multimedia data.

Dr. Kofler’s thesis systematically explores a user’s video search intent that is behind a user’s information need in three steps: (1) analyzing a real-world transaction log produced by a large video search engine to understand why searches fail, (2) understanding the possible intents of users behind video search and uploads, and (3) designing an intent-aware video search result optimization approach that re-ranks initial video search results so as to yield the highest potential to satisfy the users’ search intent.

The effectiveness of the framework developed in the thesis has been successfully justified by a thorough range of experiments. The thesis topic itself is highly topical and the framework makes groundbreaking contributions to our understanding and knowledge in the area of users’ information seeking, user intent, user satisfaction, and multimedia search engine usability.  The publications related to the thesis clearly demonstrate the impact of this work across several research disciplines including multimedia, web, and information retrieval.  Overall, the committee recognizes that the thesis has significant impact and makes considerable contributions to the multimedia community. 

Bio of Awardee:

Dr. Christoph Kofler is a software engineer and data scientist at Bloomberg L.P., NY, USA. He holds a Ph.D. degree from Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands, and an M.Sc. and B.Sc. degree from Klagenfurt University, Austria – all in Computer Science. His research interests include the broad fields of multimedia and text-based information retrieval with focus on search intent inference and its applications for search results optimization throughout the entire search engine pipeline (indexing, ranking, query formulation). In addition to “what” a user is looking for using search, Dr. Kofler is particularly interested in the “why” component behind the search and in the related opportunities for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of information retrieval systems. Dr. Kofler has co-authored more than 20 scientific publications with predominant focus on venues such as ACM Multimedia, IEEE Transactions on Multimedia, and ACM Computing Surveys. He has been a task co-organizer of the MediaEval Benchmark initiative. He received the Grand Challenge Best Presentation Award at ACM Multimedia and the Best Paper nomination at the European Conference on Information Retrieval. Dr. Kofler is a recipient of the Google Doctoral Fellowship in Information Retrieval (Video Search). He has held positions at Microsoft Research, Beijing, China; Columbia University, NY, USA; and Google, NY, USA.


image003-1The award committee is pleased to present an honorable mention to Dr. Varun Singh for the thesis entitled: “Protocols and Algorithms for Adaptive Multimedia Systems.” The thesis develops and presents congestion control algorithms and signaling protocols that are used in interactive multimedia communications.  The committee is impressed by the thorough theoretical and experimental depth of the thesis. Additionally, remarkable are Dr. Singh’s efforts to shepherd his work to real world adoption which has led him to author four RFCs and several standards-track documents in the IETF. This has resulted in the incorporation of his work in the production versions of the Chrome and Firefox web browsers. Therefore, it can be seen that his work has already achieved impact in the multimedia community.

Bio of Awardee:

Dr. Varun Singh received his Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Helsinki University of Technology, Finland, in 2009 his Ph.D. degree from Aalto University, Finland, in 2015.  His research has led him to making important contributions to different standardization organization: 3GPP (2008 – 2010), IETF (since 2010), and W3C (since 2014). He is the co-author of the WebRTC Statistics API. Beyond this, his research work led him to found and become CEO of, a startup which analyses and optimizes the Quality of multimedia in real-time communication (currently, WebRTC).


ACM SIGMM Award for Outstanding Technical Contributions to Multimedia Computing, Communications and Applications

image002The 2016 winner of the prestigious ACM Special Interest Group on Multimedia (SIGMM) award for Outstanding Technical Contributions to Multimedia Computing, Communications and Applications is Prof. Dr. Alberto del Bimbo. The award is given in recognition of his outstanding, pioneering and continued research contributions in the areas of multimedia processing, multimedia content analysis, and multimedia applications, his leadership in multimedia education, and his outstanding and continued service to the community.

Prof. del Bimbo was among the very few who pioneered the research in image and video content-based retrieval in the late 80’s. Since that time, for over 25 years, he has been among the most visionary and influential researchers in Europe and world-wide in this field. His research has influenced several generations of researchers that are now active in some of the most important research centers world-wide. Over the years, he has made significant innovative research contributions.

In the early times of the discipline he explored all the modalities for retrieval by visual similarity of images and video. In his early paper Visual Image Retrieval by Elastic Matching of User Sketches published in IEEE Trans. on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence in 1997, he presented one of the first and top performing methods for image retrieval by shape similarity from user’s sketches. He also published in IEEE Trans. on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence and IEEE Trans. on Multimedia his original research on representations for spatial relationships between image regions based on spatial logic. This ground-breaking research was accompanied by the definition of efficient index structures to permit retrieval from large datasets. He was one of the first to address this large datasets aspect that has now become very important for the research community.

Since the early 2000s, with the advancement of 3D imaging technologies and the availability of a new generation of acquisition devices capable of capturing the geometry of 3D objects in the three-dimensional physical space, Prof. del Bimbo and his team initiated research in 3D content based retrieval that has now become increasingly popular in mainstream research. Again, he was among the very first researchers to initiate this research. Particularly, he focused on 3D face recognition extending the weighted walkthrough representation of spatial relationships between image regions to model the 3D relationships between facial stripes. His solution of 3D Face Recognition Using Iso-geodesic Stripes scored the best performance at SHREC Shape Retrieval Contest in 2008, and was published in IEEE Trans. on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, in 2010. At CVPR’15 he presented a novel idea for representing 3D textured mesh manifolds using Local Binary Patterns, that is highly effective for 3D face retrieval. This was the first attempt to combine 3D geometry and photometric texture into a single unified representation. In 2016 he has co-authored a forward looking survey on content-based image retrieval in the context of social image platforms, that has appeared on ACM Computing Surveys. It includes an extensive treatise of image tag assignment, refinement and tag-based retrieval and explores the differences between traditional image retrieval and retrieval with socially generated images.
One very important aspect of his contribution to the community is Professor del Bimbo’s educational impact during his career. He was the author of the monograph, Visual Information Retrieval, published by Morgan Kaufmann in 1999 which became one of the most cited and influential books from the early years of image and video content-based retrieval. Many young researchers have used this book as the main reference in their studies, and their career has been shaped by the ideas discussed in this book. Being the first and sole book on that subject in the early times of the discipline, it played a key role to develop content-based retrieval from a research niche to a largely populated field of research and to make it central to Multimedia research.

Professor del Bimbo has an extraordinary and long-lasting track record of services to the scientific community through the last 20 years. As the General Chair he organized two of the most successful conferences in Multimedia, namely IEEE ICMCS’99, the Int’l Conf. on Multimedia Computing and Systems (now renamed IEEE ICME) and ACM MULTIMEDIA’10. The quality and success of these conferences were highly influential to attract new young researchers in the field and form the present research community. Since 2016, he is the Editor-in-Chief for ACM Transactions on Multimedia Computing, Communications, and Applications (TOMM).

Announcement of ACM SIGMM Rising Star Award 2016

image003The ACM Special Interest Group on Multimedia (SIGMM) is pleased to present this year’s Rising Star Award in multimedia computing, communications and applications to Dr. Bart Thomee for his significant contributions in the areas of geo-multimedia computing, media evaluation, and open research datasets. The ACM SIGMM Rising Star Award recognizes a young researcher who has made outstanding research contributions to the field of multimedia computing, communication and applications during the early part of his or her career.

Dr. Bart Thomee received his Ph.D. from Leiden University in 2010. In his thesis, he focused on multimedia search and exploration, specifically targeting artificial imagination and duplicate detection. On the topic of artificial imagination, he aimed to more rapidly understand the user’s search intent by generating imagery that resemble the ideal image the user is looking for. Using the synthesized images as queries instead of existing images from the database boosted the relevance of the image results by up to 23%. On the topic of duplicate detection, he designed descriptors to compactly represent web-scale image collections and to accurately detect transformed versions of the same image. This work led to an Outstanding Paper Citation at ACM Conference on Multimedia Information Retrieval 2008.

In 2011, he jointed Yahoo Labs, where Dr. Thomee ‘s interests grew into geographic computing in Multimedia. He began characterizing spatiotemporal regions from labeled (e.g. tagged) georeferenced media, for which he devised a technique based on scale-space theory that could process billions of georeferenced labels in a matter of hours. This work was published at WWW 2013 and became a reference example at Yahoo for how to disambiguate multi-language and multi-meaning labels from media with noisy annotations.

He also started to use an overlooked piece of information that is found in most camera phone images: compass information. He developed a technique to accurately pinpoint the locations and surface area of landmarks, solely based on the positions and orientations of photos taken of them which may have been taken hundreds of yards to miles away.

Dr. Thomee’s recent work on the YFCC100M dataset has had important impacts on the multimedia and SIGMM research community. This new dataset was real in size and structure to fuel and change the landscape of research in Multimedia. What started as an initiative to release a geo-Flickr dataset, Dr. Thomee quickly saw the broader impact and worked rapidly to scale the size. He had to push the limits of openness without violating licensing terms, copyright, or privacy. He worked closely with many lawyers to overturn the default, restrictive terms of use by making it also available to non-academics all over the world. He coordinated and led the efforts to share the data and effort horizontally with ICSI, LLNL, and Amazon Open Data. It was highlighted in the 2016 February issue of the Communications of ACM (CACM). The dataset has been requested over 1200 times in just a few months and cited many times since launch. Dr. Thomee has continued by releasing expansion packs to the YFCC100M. This dataset is expected to impact Multimedia research significantly over the future years.

Dr. Thomee has also been an exemplary community member of the Multimedia community. For example, he organized the ImageCLEF photo annotation task (2012-2013) and MediaEval placing task (2013-2016) as well as designed the ACM Grand Challenge on Event Summarization (2015) and on Tag & Caption Prediction (2016).

In summary, Dr. Bart Thomee receives the 2016 ACM SIGMM Rising Star Award Thomee for significant contributions in the areas of geo-multimedia computing, media evaluation, and open datasets for research.

TOMM Associate Editor of the Year Award 2015

Annually, the Editor-in-Chief of the ACM Transactions on Multimedia Computing, Communications and Applications (TOMM) honors one member of the Editorial Board with the TOMM Associate Editor of the Year Award. The purpose of the award is the distinction of excellent work for ACM TOMM and hence also for the whole multimedia community in the previous year. Criteria for the award are (1.) the amount of submissions processed in time, (2.) the performance during the reviewing process and (3.) the accurate interaction with the reviewers in order to broader the awareness for the journal. Based on the criteria mentioned above, the ACM Transactions on Multimedia Computing, Communications and Applications Associate Editor of the Year Award 2015 goes to Pradeep Atrey from State University of New York, Albany, USA. pradeep-atreyPradeep K. Atrey is an Assistant Professor at the State University of New York, Albany, NY, USA. He is also an (on-leave) Associate Professor at the University of Winnipeg, Canada and an Adjunct Professor at University of Ottawa, Canada. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the National University of Singapore, M.S. in Software Systems and B.Tech. in Computer Science and Engineering from India. He was a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Multimedia Communications Research Laboratory, University of Ottawa, Canada. His current research interests are in the area of Security and Privacy with a focus on multimedia surveillance and privacy, multimedia security, secure-domain cloud-based large-scale multimedia analytics, and social media. He has authored/co-authored over 100 research articles at reputed ACM, IEEE, and Springer journals and conferences. His research has been funded by Canadian Govt. agencies NSERC and DFAIT, and by Govt. of Saudi Arabia. Dr. Atrey is on the editorial board of several journals including ACM Trans. on Multimedia Computing, Communications and Applications, ETRI Journal and IEEE Communications Society Review Letters. He was also guest editor for Springer Multimedia Systems and Multimedia Tools and Applications journals. He has been associated with over 40 international conferences/workshops in various roles such as Organizing Chair, Program Chair, Publicity Chair, Web Chair, Area Chair, Demo Chair and TPC Member. Dr. Atrey was a recipient of the Erica and Arnold Rogers Award for Excellence in Research and Scholarship (2014), ETRI Journal Best Editor Award (2012), ETRI Journal Best Reviewer Award (2009) and the three University of Winnipeg Merit Awards for Exceptional Performance (2010, 2012 and 2013). He was also recognized as “ICME 2011 – Quality Reviewer” and is invited as a Rising Star Speaker at the SIGMM Inaugural Multimedia Frontier Workshop (2015). The Editor-in-Chief Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ralf Steinmetz cordially congratulates Pradeep.

2015 ACM Transactions on Multimedia Computing, Communications and Applications (TOMM) Nicolas D. Georganas Best Paper Award

The 2015 ACM Transactions on Multimedia Computing, Communications and Applications (TOMM) Nicolas D. Georganas Best Paper Award is provided to the paper “A Quality of Experience Model for Haptic Virtual Environments” (TOMM vol.10, Issue 3) by Abdelwahab Hamam, Abdulmotaleb El Saddik and Jihad Alja’am.

The purpose of the named award is to recognize the most significant work in ACM TOMM (formerly TOMCCAP) in a given calendar year. The whole readership of ACM TOMM was invited to nominate articles which were published in Volume 10 (2014). Based on the nominations the winner has been chosen by the TOMM Editorial Board. The main assessment criteria have been quality, novelty, timeliness, clarity of presentation, in addition to relevance to multimedia computing, communications, and applications.

The winning paper is grounded on the observation that so far there is only limited research on Quality of Experience (QoE) for Haptic-based Virtual Reality applications. In order to overcome this issue, the authors propose a human-centric taxonomy for the evaluation of QoE for haptic virtual environments. The QoE evaluation is applied through a fuzzy logic inference model. The taxonomy also gives guidelines for the evaluation of other multi-modal multimedia systems. This multi-modality was one of the main reasons for the selection of this article and TOMM members expect that it will have an impact on future QoE studies in various sub-fields of multimedia research.

The award honors the founding Editor-in-Chief of TOMM, Nicolas D. Georganas, for his outstanding contributions to the field of multimedia computing and his significant contributions to ACM. He exceedingly influenced the research and the whole multimedia community.

The Editor-in-Chief Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ralf Steinmetz and the Editorial Board of ACM TOMM cordially congratulate the winner. The award will be presented to the authors at the ACM Multimedia 2015 in Brisbane, Australia, and includes travel expenses for the winning authors.

abdelwahab-hamamAbdelwahab Hamam received his PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Ottawa, Canada, in 2013. He is currently a postdoctoral research scientist at Immersion in Montreal, Canada focusing in research and development of novel haptic technologies and interactions. He was previously a teaching and research assistant at the University of Ottawa from Jan 2005 to May 2013. He has more than 35 academic papers and pending patent applications. He is the recipient of the best paper award at the 2015 QoMEX workshop. He is the technical co-chair of the 2015 Haptic Audio-Visual Environments and Games (HAVE) Workshop and the co-organizer of the 2015 QoMEX workshop special session on quality of experience in haptics. His research interests include haptic applications, medical simulations, and quality of experience for multimedia haptics.

abed-el-saddikAbdulmotaleb El Saddik is Distinguished University Professor and University Research Chair in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Ottawa. He is an internationally-recognized scholar who has made strong contributions to the knowledge and understanding of multimedia computing, communications and applications. He has authored and co-authored four books and more than 450 publications. Chaired more than 50 conferences and workshop and has received research grants and contracts totaling more than $18 Mio. He has supervised more than 100 researchers. He received several international awards, among others ACM Distinguished Scientist, Fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada, Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineers and Fellow of IEEE and IEEE Canada Computer Medal.

jihad-mohamed-aljaamJihad Mohamed Alja’am received the Ph.D. degree, MS. degree and BSc degree in computing from Southern University (The National Council for Scientific Research, CNRS), France. He was with IBM-Paris as Project Manager and with RTS-France as IT Consultant for several years. He is currently with the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Qatar University. His current research interests include multimedia, assistive technology, learning systems, human–computer interaction, stochastic algorithms, artificial intelligence, information retrieval, and natural language processing. Dr. Alja’am is a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Soft Computing, American Journal of Applied Sciences, Journal of Computing and Information Sciences, Journal of Computing and Information Technology, and Journal of Emerging Technologies in Web Intelligence. He acted as a scientific committee member of different international conferences (ACIT, SETIT, ICTTA, ACTEA, ICLAN, ICCCE, MESM, ICENCO, GMAG, CGIV, ICICS, and ICOST). He is a regular reviewer for the ACM computing review and the journal of supercomputing. He has collaborated with different researchers in Canada, France, Malaysia, and USA. He published so far 138 papers, 8 books chapters in computing and information technology which are published in conference proceedings, scientific books, and international journals. He is leading a research team in multimedia and assistive technology and collaborating in the Financial Watch and Intelligent Document Management System for Automatic Writer Identification projects.

ACM SIGMM Award for Outstanding PhD Thesis in Multimedia Computing, Communications and Applications 2015


ting-yaoACM Special Interest Group on Multimedia (SIGMM) is pleased to present the 2015 SIGMM Outstanding Ph.D. Thesis Award to Dr. Ting Yao and Honorable Mention recognition to Dr. Britta Meixner.

The award committee considers Dr. Yao’s dissertation entitled “Multimedia Search by Self, External, and Crowdsourcing Knowledge” worthy of the recognition as the thesis proposes an innovative knowledge transfer framework for multimedia search which is expected to have significant impact, especially in boosting the search performance for big multimedia data.

Dr. Yao’s thesis proposes the knowledge transfer methodology in three multimedia search scenarios:

  1. Seeking consensus among multiple modalities in the context of search re-ranking,
  2. Leveraging external knowledge as a prior to be transferred to a problem that belongs to a domain different from the external knowledge, and
  3. Exploring the large user click-through data as crowdsourced human intelligence for annotation and search.

The effectiveness of the proposed framework has been successfully justified by thorough experiments. The proposed framework has substantial contributions in principled integration of multimodal data which is indispensable in multimedia search. The publications related to the thesis clearly demonstrate the major impact of this work in many research disciplines including multimedia, web, and information retrieval. The fact that parts of the proposed techniques have been and are being transferred to the commercial search service Bing further attest to the practical contributions of this thesis. Overall, the committee recognizes the significant impact and contributions presented in the thesis to the multimedia community.

Bio of Awardee

Dr. Ting Yao is an associate researcher in the Multimedia Search and Mining group at Microsoft Research, Beijing, China. His research interests are in multimedia search and computing. He completed a Ph.D. in Computer Science at City University of Hong Kong in 2014. He received the B.Sc. degree in theoretical and applied mechanics (2004), B.Eng. double degree in electronic information engineering (2004), and M.Eng. degree in signal and information processing (2008) all from the University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China. The system designed by him achieved the second place in the THUMOS action recognition challenge at CVPR 2015. He was also the principal designer of the image retrieval systems that achieved the third and fifth performance in the MSR-Bing image retrieval challenge at ACM MM 2014 and 2013, respectively. He received the Best Paper Award of ACM ICIMCS (2013).

Honorable Mention

britta-meixnerThe award committee is pleased to present the Honorable Mention to Dr. Britta Meixner for the thesis entitled: “Annotated Interactive Non-linear Video – Software Suite, Download and Cache Management.”

The thesis presents a fully functional software suite for authoring non-linear interactive videos with downloading and cache management mechanisms for effective video playback. The committee is significantly impressed by the thorough study presented in the thesis with extensive analysis of the properties of the software suite. The implementation which has been made available as open source software along with the thesis undoubtedly has very high potential impact to the multimedia community.

Bio of Awardee

Dr. Britta Meixner received her Master’s degree (German Diplom) in Computer Science from the University of Passau, Germany, in 2008. Furthermore, she received the First State Examination for Lectureship at Secondary Schools for the subjects Computer Science and Mathematics from the Bavarian State Ministry for Education and Culture in 2008. She received her Ph.D. degree from the University of Passau, Germany, in 2014. The title of her thesis is “Annotated Interactive Non-linear Video – Software Suite, Download and Cache Management.” She is currently a postdoctoral research fellow with the University of Passau, Germany, and will be a postdoctoral research fellow at FXPAL, Palo Alto, CA, USA, starting October 2015. Her research interest is mainly in hypermedia. She is an award winner of the 2015 Award “Women + Media Technology,” granted by Germany’s public broadcasters ARD and ZDF (ARD/ZDF Förderpreis “Frauen + Medientechnologie” 2015). She was a Reviewer for Springer Multimedia Tools and Applications (MTAP) Journal, an Organizer of the “International Workshop on Interactive Content Consumption (WSICC)” at ACM TVX in 2014 and 2015, and Associate Chair at ACM TVX2015.

Announcement of ACM SIGMM Rising Star Award 2015

yu-gang-jiangACM Special Interest Group on Multimedia (SIGMM) is pleased to present this year’s Rising Star Award in multimedia computing, communications and applications to Dr. Yu-Gang Jiang. The ACM SIGMM Rising Star Award recognizes a young researcher who has made outstanding research contributions to the field of multimedia computing, communication and applications during the early part of his or her career. Dr. Yu-Gang Jiang has made fundamental contributions in the area of video analysis and retrieval, especially with innovative approaches to large-scale video concept detection. He has been an active leader in exploring the bag-of-visual-words (BoW) representation for concept detection, providing influential insights on the critical representation design. He proposed the important idea of “soft-weighting” in his CIVR 2007paper, which significantly advanced the performance of visual concept detection. Dr. Jiang has proposed several important techniques for video and image search. In 2009, he proposed a novel domain adaptive concept selection method for concept-based video search. His method selects the most relevant concepts for a given query considering not only the semantic concept-to-query relatedness but also the data distribution in the target domain. Recently he proposed a method that generates query-adaptive hash codes for improved visual search, with which a finer-grained ranking of search results can be achieved compared to the traditional hashing based methods. His most recent work is in the emerging field of video content recognition by deep learning, where he proposed a comprehensive deep learning framework to model static, short-term motion and long-term temporal information in videos. Very promising results were obtained on the widely used UCF101 dataset. As a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University and later as a faculty member at Fudan University, Dr. Jiang has devoted significant efforts to video event recognition, a problem that is receiving increasing attention in the multimedia community. His extensive contributions in this area include not only innovative algorithm design, but also large benchmark construction, system development, and survey tutorials. He devised a comprehensive system in 2010 using multimodal features, contextual concepts and temporal clues, which won the multimedia event detection (MED) task in NIST TRECVID 2010. He constructed the Columbia Consumer Video (CCV) benchmark in 2011, which has been widely used. Recently, he continues to lead major efforts in creating and sharing large-scale video datasets in critical areas (including 200+ event categories and 100,000 partially copy videos) as community resources. The high impact of his works is reflected by the high number of citations of his work. His recent paper on video search result organization received the Best Poster Paper Award at ACMMM 2014. His shared benchmark datasets and source codes have been used worldwide. In addition, he has made extensive contributions to the professional communities by serving as conference program chairs, invited speakers, and tutorial experts. In summary, Dr. Yu-Gang Jiang receives the 2015 ACM SIGMM Rising Star Award for his significant contributions in the areas of video content recognition and search.

ACM SIGMM Award for Outstanding Technical Contributions to Multimedia Computing, Communications and Applications

tatsengchuaThe 2015 winner of the prestigious ACM Special Interest Group on Multimedia (SIGMM) award for Outstanding Technical Contributions to Multimedia Computing, Communications and Applications is Prof. Dr. Tat-Seng Chua. The award is given in recognition of his pioneering contributions to multimedia, text and social media processing. Tat-Seng Chua is a leading researcher in multimedia, text and social media analysis and retrieval. He is one of the few researchers who has made substantial contributions in the fields of multimedia, information retrieval and social media. Dr. Chua’s contributions in multimedia dates back to the early 1990s, where he was among the first to work on image retrieval with relevance feedback (1991), video retrieval and sequencing by exploring metadata and cinematic rules (1995), and fine grained image retrieval at segment level (1995). These works helped shape the development of the field for many years. Given the limitation of visual content analysis, his research advocates the integration of text, metadata and visual contents coupled with domain knowledge for large-scale media analysis. He developed a multi-source, multi-modal and multi-resolution framework together with the involvement of human in the loop for such analysis and retrieval tasks. This has helped his group not only publish papers in top conferences and journals, but also achieve top positions in large-scale video evaluations when his group participated in TRECVID in 2000-2006, VideOlympics in 2007-09, as well as winning the highly competitive Star (Multimedia) Challenge in 2008. Leveraging the experience, he developed a large-scale multi-label image test set named NUS-WIDE, which has been widely used with over 600 citations. He recently started a company named ViSenze Pte Ltd ( to commercialize his research in mobile visual fashion search. In his more recent research work in multimedia question-answering (MMQA), he developed a joint text-visual model to exploit correlation between text queries, text-based answers, and visual concepts in images and videos to return both relevant text and video answers. The early work was carried out in the domain of news video (2003), which has motivated several follow-on works in image QA. His recent works tackled the more complicated “how-to” type QA in product domains (2010-13). His recent works (2013-14) exploited SemanticNet to perform attribute-based image retrieval and use of various types of domain knowledge. His current work aims to build a live, continuous-learning system to support the dynamic annotation and retrieval of images and micro videos in social media streams. In information retrieval and social media research, Dr. Chua focused on the key problems of organizing large-scale unstructured text contents to support question-answering (QA). His works point towards the use of linguistics and domain knowledge for effective large-scale information analysis, organization and retrieval. Given his strong interest in both multimedia and text processing, it is natural for him to venture into social media research that involves the analysis of text, multimedia, and social network contents. His group developed a live social observatory system to carry out research in building descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analytics of multiple live social media streams. The system has been well recognized by peers. His recent work on “multi-screen social TV” won the 2015 Best IEEEE Multimedia Best paper Award. Dr. Chua has been involved in most key conferences in these areas by serving as general chair, technical program chair, or invited keynote speaker as well as by leading innovative research and winning many best paper or best student paper awards in recent years. He is the Steering Committee Chair of two international multimedia conference series: ACM ICMR (International Conference on Multimedia Retrieval) and MMM (MultiMedia Modeling). In summary, he is an extraordinarily accomplished and outstanding researcher in multimedia, text and social media processing, truly exemplifying the characteristics of the ACM SIGMM Award for Outstanding Technical Contributions.