Report from CBMI 2023

The 20th International Conference on Content-based Multimedia Indexing (CBMI) was held exclusively as an in-person event in Orleans, France, on September 20-22, 2023. The conference was organized by the University of Orleans and received support from SIGMM. This edition marked a significant milestone as it was the first fully physical conference following the pandemic, providing a welcome opportunity for face-to-face interactions. The event drew a diverse and international audience, with participation from between 70 and 80 attendees representing 18 countries (12 Europeans, 4 Asians, 1 American and 1 African). Additionally, the conference included a European meeting (CHIST-ERA XAIface project) associated with the main event, which brought together approximately 15 individuals. Furthermore, several engineering students from the University of Orleans were invited to participate, allowing them to gain insights into cutting-edge multimedia research and exchange knowledge and ideas.

Program highlights

The conference was structured around two keynote presentations. The first keynote was presented by Prof. Alberto del Bimbo from the University of Florence, who spoke on the topic of “AI-Powered Personal Fashion Advising.” During his talk, Prof. Delbimbo discussed the key tasks and challenges related to using artificial intelligence in the fashion advisory field.

The closing keynote was delivered by Prof. Nicolas Hervé from the Institut National de l’Audiovisuel (French National Audiovisual Archive). Prof. Hervé highlighted the research activities conducted at Ina and how they could be integrated into information systems and enhance the value of their collections. His presentation provided insights into the practical applications of their work.

Presentation of our keynote speakers.

In conjunction with the presentation of 18 papers across four regular paper sessions, the 2023 conference adhered to the established tradition of previous editions by incorporating special sessions. These special sessions were designed to delve into the practical applications of multimedia indexing within specific domains or distinctive settings. This approach allowed for a more focused and in-depth exploration of several topics, offering valuable insights and discussions beyond the regular paper sessions.

In the ongoing year, we received a substantial volume of submissions, culminating in the approval of six special sessions. These special sessions have collectively embraced a total of 25 accepted papers.

  • Cultural Heritage and Multimedia Content
  • Interactive Video Retrieval for Beginners (IVR4B)
  • Physical Models and AI in Image and in Multi-modality 
  • Computational Memorability of Imagery
  • Cross-modal multimedia analysis and retrieval for well-being insights
  • Explainability in Multimedia Analysis (ExMA)

The coordination of these special sessions involved the collaborative efforts of multiple countries, including France, Austria, Ireland, Iceland, the UK, Romania, Japan, Norway, and Vietnam.

The special sessions encompassed a diverse range of multimedia topics, spanning from applications such as cultural heritage preservation and retrieval to machine learning, with a particular focus on facets like explainability and the utilization of physical models.

The conference program was complemented by a poster session composed of fourteen posters. The latter was followed by a demo session which comprised IVR4B video retrieval competition. 

Participants at the poster session.
Participants at the demo session.

The best paper of the conference was awarded EUR 500, generously sponsored by ACM SIGMM. The selection committee quickly found consensus to award the best paper award to Romain XU-DARME, Jenny Benois-Pineau, Romain Giot, Georges Quénot, Zakaria Chihani, Marie-Christine Rousset and Alexey Zhukov for their paper “On the stability, correctness, and plausibility of visual explanation methods based on feature importance”.

Social events

In addition to the two conference dinners organized by the conference committee, the participants had the opportunity to enjoy a guided tour through Orleans on their way to the first restaurant.

Participants enjoyed the first dinner after the guided tour

Among the social events organized during CBMI 2023, was the Music meets Science concert with the support of ACM SIGMM. After a series of scientific presentations, participants were able to appreciate the works of Beethoven, Murphy and Lizee. We thank ACM SIGMM for their support which made this cultural event possible.

The Odyssée Quartet composed of François Pineau-Benois (violinist),  Raphael Moraly (cellist), Olivier Marin (violist) and Audrey Sproule (violinist).


The next edition of CBMI will be organized in Iceland. After several hybrid editions, we moved back on site towards the pre-pandemic level. 

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at ACM MMSys 2023

The 14th ACM Multimedia Systems Conference (MMSys 2023) took place from June 7-10, 2023 in Vancouver, Canada. To continue the significant efforts from the last years,  and building on the strong commitment of the MMSys community to create a diverse, inclusive and accessible forum to discuss advancements in the area of multimedia systems and the technology experiences they enable, several EDI measures were adopted.  The main goals were to (1) raise awareness around the importance of diversity and inclusion for both the MMSys community and the research fields represented at MMSys and (2) to enable diverse participation and inclusion of underrepresented groups. In this column, we provide a brief overview of the main EDI activities and a number of key numbers, as well as short testimonials from two participants.  

Support and activities

Associate Professor Yvette Wohn giving her EDI keynote on “Moderating the Metaverse”

Supported by the ACM Special Interest Group on Multimedia (SIGMM) and ACM through founding for special initiatives, the provided support at MMSys 2023 included the following:

1. EDI Keynote Speech
We invited Dr. Yvette Wohn for a keynote speech on Moderating the Metaverse. Dr. Wohn (she/her) is an associate professor of Informatics at New Jersey Institute of Technology and director of the Social Interaction Lab . Her research is in the area of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) where she studies the characteristics and consequences of social interactions in online environments such as virtual worlds and social media. Yvette’s keynote speech was very well received and ignited conversations during the conference.
Abstract of the talk: Online harassment is a problem that we still have been unable to solve in the social media age of Web 2.0. As we move deeper into Web 3.0, which includes 3D virtual worlds, moderation moves beyond content to include behavioral components such as embodied interactions. How do we design these systems to be creative and generative while maintaining safety and equity? This talk will discuss the challenges and opportunities, both social and technical, in creating the next wave of networked multimedia systems.

2. EDI Luncheon & Challenge
Our goal for the luncheon and challenge was picking a topic to spark conversations during lunch that is engaging enough for all audience, is something that everyone can have some opinion on (and those opinions can be challenged during conversations), and the answers can provide us some insight about our audience and their take on EDIJ issues.
The questions were: 

  • What is the biggest diversity issue that you think can affect YOU in the metaverse?
  • What is the simplest, yet most practical solution you can think for this problem?

After the initial announcement and presentation, example scenarios and conversation icebreakers were printed and placed on the Break and Lunch tables and conversations were encouraged by volunteers, so that attendees would discuss over lunch, and submit their solution. The Rubric used for selecting the winner of this challenge was:

  • Problem (15 pts): Explorative Value, Importance, Scale of effect
  • Solution Quality (15 pts): Feasibility, Simplicity, Effectiveness
  • Each item was rated on the scale of 0-5: not meeting requirements: 0, minimal: 1, acceptable: 2, good: 3, very good: 4, excellent: 5.

We received 14 entries by the given deadline, and from two entries with 28 points, Dr. Sylvie Dijkstra-Soudrissanane was selected as the winner of the EDI Challenge for discussing the inaccurate representation of dark skin tones due to the inherent design of 3D capture devices such as LIDARs in her response. Sylvie’s wrote a short testimonial (see below).

3. Additional EDI Activities
EDI Considerations in Conference Name Tags
Preferred pronouns were used to foster a healthier and more inclusive space, safe and respectful for all attendees. In addition, the following was explicitly mentioned on the name tags:

  1. Diversity Advocate: To show we are proud of diversity and inclusion efforts, and we acknowledge and foster the enthusiasm for this important work.
  2. First-Timer: To easily find people who might not be familiar with the community to provide them further help and support, if needed.

Childcare Support
Due to financial uncertainty, we were not able to announce availability of childcare support funds before the conference which could help better planning for people with children and ensuring that we support all people with such need equally. However, we were nevertheless able to support a presenter who had planned childcare during the conference. Towards next year’s edition of MMSys, we strongly encourage that dedicated funds are made available well ahead of the conference, so that equal opportunities to attend can be offered to caregivers.

EDI volunteer support 
While most of our student volunteers were Vancouver-based and were supported with a free registration to the conference, one additional student volunteers who travelled to Vancouver and would otherwise not have been able to attend, was supported by the EDI chairs. His testimonial can be read below. 

Key numbers

  • Two out of Four Keynote Speakers for MMSys 2023 were Women (50%)
  • One out of Three Technical Program Chairs were Women (33%)
  • Nine out of 25 organizing committee members were Women (36%)
  • Four out of Fourteen (seventeen including parallel sessions) sessions of the main conference were chaired by Women (24%), and three out of four Workshop chairs were Women (75%).
Jinwei Zhao’s badge, illustrating several measures to make attendees feel welcome and included (e.g., showing self-selected preferred pronouns, diversity advocate, first time at MMSys indication, such that other attendees can make sure that new people to the conference are warmly welcomed and included).


Testimonial by Jinwei Zhao, Student Volunteer supported by the MMSys 2023 EDI  

“I was honored to be able to attend ACM MMSys 2023 in Vancouver as a student volunteer, an experience that afforded me a breadth of professional engagements. My responsibilities as a student volunteer encompassed assisting with the registration process and the assistance of technical sessions and workshops, thereby ensuring a seamless execution of the conference. It also gave me the invaluable opportunity to engage with distinguished researchers and talented PhD students in the multimedia community, facilitating a rich exchange of brilliant and novel ideas. The keynotes and technical sessions at the conference shed light on cutting-edge developments and emerging trends in the field of multimedia systems. These included advanced adaptive video bitrate algorithms, the integration of multimedia systems with next-generation networks like Starlink, the development of new protocols such as multipath QUIC and Media-Over-QUIC, and the future of immersive technologies in AR, VR, and XR domains. Additionally, I was deeply appreciative of receiving the ACM SIGMM MMSys Volunteer Honorarium after the conference. Although I did not have the occasion to present my research at MMSys 2023, the passion and dedication of my peers served as a catalyst for my further contributions to the field. This engagement was evidently fruitful and advantageous, as it led to the acceptance of my paper for presentation at MMSys 2024 next year. This experience also encouraged me to make further contributions more actively to the multimedia community, aligning with my decision to embark on a PhD program starting in 2024.»

Testimontial by Sylvie Dijkstra-Soudarissanane, MMSys 2023 attendee and winner of the MMSys 2023 EDI Challenge.

EDI Co-chair Dr. Dr Ouldooz Baghban Karimi hands over the EDI Challenge Award to the EDI Challenge winner Sylvie Dijkstra-Soudarissanane.

«I had the privilege of attending the ACM Multimedia Systems Conference (MMSys) in June 2023, an experience that left an incredible mark on my perspective as a scientist in the field of Social XR. The conference, held in the city of Vancouver, Canada, provided a unique platform for professionals from diverse backgrounds to converge and share cutting-edge insights in multimedia systems research and development. 
The MMSys conference proved to be an invaluable forum for hosting discussions on the latest advancements in multimedia technology. Keynotes and regular sessions covered a myriad of topics, ranging from advanced videos with 3D point clouds rendering, to multi-modal experiences and open software. This year, the rich program also included technical demo sessions, allowing participants to witness real-time systems in action, presented by leaders from organizations such as Xiaomi, Fraunhofer FOKUS, and my company TNO. Beyond the academic world, the conference facilitated networking and social interactions, providing a platform to connect with like-minded researchers. Engaging in discussions about user-interactive VR experiences, real-time holographic representations, and mobile-based deep learning video codecs … all happening in a breathtaking skyride above the Grouse Mountain added an extra layer of depth to the overall experience.
One of the highlights of my participation was the opportunity to pitch my idea on building socially responsible systems that prioritize inclusivity. The focus of my proposal revolved around designing systems that are inherently inclusive, considering factors such as skin tones, hair types, and ethnicities. The aim was to bridge the accessibility gap and ensure that these systems reach and cater to minority populations. It is a very personal endeavor, as a person of color. To my delight, this endeavor earned me recognition with a prestigious award in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. I am immensely proud to have received the DEI award offered by Dr Ouldooz Baghban Karimi for my commitment to inclusive research and innovation. This recognition reinforces the importance of pushing boundaries in technology to create solutions that resonate with diverse communities. The conference not only expanded my knowledge but also allowed me to forge meaningful connections with fellow researchers who share a passion for advancing the frontiers of multimedia systems.”

Video Interviews at ACM Multimedia 2022

This column showcases a series of video interviews shooted at ACM Multimedia 2022.
Social media editors in chief (i.e., Silvia Rossi and Conor Keighrey) of the records interviewed the authors behind some of the most intriguing and compelling demos and artistic interactive artworks. Silvia and Conor have started this initiative and will continue, when possible, at conferences supported by SIGMM.

ACM Multimedia is the premier international conference in the area of multimedia within the field of computer science.
As in every edition of ACM MM, the conference once again played host to riveting demonstrations and interactive showcases of the latest research concepts. These sessions serve a dual purpose: they stand as a testament to the presenters’ invaluable scientific and engineering contributions while also providing a unique opportunity for multimedia researchers and practitioners to delve into real-world applications, prototypes, and proofs-of-concept.

This dynamic setting is where conference attendees come face-to-face with groundbreaking multimedia systems. It’s a chance for them to gain insights into the innovative solutions and ideas that are actively shaping the future of this ever-evolving field. From visionary demonstrations of emerging technologies to interactive showcases that push the boundaries of creativity, these sessions are at the heart of what makes ACM MM a unique event in the world of multimedia.

Below is the list of video interviews with references to the corresponding authors and papers.

  • Varvara Guljajeva and Mar Canet Sola. 2022. Dream Painter: An Interactive Art Installation Bridging Audience Interaction, Robotics, and Creative AI. In Proceedings of the 30th ACM International Conference on Multimedia (MM ’22). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 7235–7236.
  • Jorge Forero, Gilberto Bernardes, and Mónica Mendes. 2022. Emotional Machines: Toward Affective Virtual Environments. In Proceedings of the 30th ACM International Conference on Multimedia (MM ’22). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 7237–7238.
  • Ignacio Reimat, Yanni Mei, Evangelos Alexiou, Jack Jansen, Jie Li, Shishir Subramanyam, Irene Viola, Johan Oomen, and Pablo Cesar. 2022. Mediascape XR: A Cultural Heritage Experience in Social VR. In Proceedings of the 30th ACM International Conference on Multimedia (MM ’22). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 6955–6957.
  • Manuel Silva, Luana Santos, Luís Teixeira, and José Vasco Carvalho. 2022. All is Noise: In Search of Enlightenment, a VR Experience. In Proceedings of the 30th ACM International Conference on Multimedia (MM ’22). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 7223–7224.
  • Pin-Xuan Liu, Tse-Yu Pan, Hsin-Shih Lin, Hung-Kuo Chu, and Min-Chun Hu. 2022. BetterSight: Immersive Vision Training for Basketball Players. In Proceedings of the 30th ACM International Conference on Multimedia (MM ’22). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 6979–6981.
  • Tiago Fornelos, Pedro Valente, Rafael Ferreira, Diogo Tavares, Diogo Silva, David Semedo, Joao Magalhaes, and Nuno Correia. 2022. A Conversational Shopping Assistant for Online Virtual Stores. In Proceedings of the 30th ACM International Conference on Multimedia (MM ’22). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 6994–6996.
  • Ting-Yang Kao, Tse-Yu Pan, Chen-Ni Chen, Tsung-Hsun Tsai, Hung-Kuo Chu, and Min-Chun Hu. 2022. ScoreActuary: Hoop-Centric Trajectory-Aware Network for Fine-Grained Basketball Shot Analysis. In Proceedings of the 30th ACM International Conference on Multimedia (MM ’22). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 6991–6993.
  • Maria Giovanna Donadio, Filippo Principi, Andrea Ferracani, Marco Bertini, and Alberto Del Bimbo. 2022. Engaging Museum Visitors with Gamification of Body and Facial Expressions. In Proceedings of the 30th ACM International Conference on Multimedia (MM ’22). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 7000–7002.

Students Report from ACM MMsys 2023

The 14th ACM Multimedia Systems Conference (with the associated workshops: NOSSDAV 2023, MMVE 2023, and the first edition of GMSys 2023) took place from 7th – 10th June 2023 in Vancouver, Canada.  The MMSys conference brings together researchers in multimedia systems to showcase and exchange their cutting-edge research findings. Once again, there were technical talks spanning various multimedia domains and inspiring keynote presentations. Participants had also the opportunity to further interact with colleagues while enjoying the sunset with a 360° view of Vancouver on the Lookout tower or during a dinner in the core of the rainforest. Additionally, this year’s event included a special session dedicated to the memory of Dr. Kuan-Ta Chen, to honor his invaluable contributions to the multimedia community and to inspire the future generation of researches.

To encourage junior researchers to participate on-site, SIGMM has sponsored a group of students with Student Travel Grant Awards. For many of them, this was their first time presenting at an international conference, and it was a wonderful experience. In this article, the recipients of the travel grants share their experiences at MMSys 2023.

Mike Vandersanden, PhD student from Hasselt University, Belgium

As a new PhD student starting my professional academic career less than a year before MMSys ’23, I focused on finding my place in the academic community. My advisor and colleagues encouraged me to achieve two goals: get feedback on my research and build a network. I submitted my first paper and it got accepted for the Doctoral Symposium at the conference, which was a great opportunity to work towards achieving my goals. Presenting my paper allowed me to receive helpful feedback, have interesting discussions, and gain new perspectives. It was motivating to see people interested in my work. During the rest of the conference, I connected with many attendees from different parts of the world. The social events were a great way to meet others, and we also had enjoyable evenings downtown. Upon returning home, I was happy to report to my advisor that I accomplished all my goals for the first year. I am grateful for receiving a student travel grant, as it made it easier to travel to another continent. It also gave me the freedom to manage my budget and increases my chances of attending the conference again next year.

May Lim, PhD student from National University of Singapore, Singapore

I was both excited and nervous for MMSys 2023 as it was not only my first in-person conference but also in a country I had never visited before. The conference turned out to be one of the most unforgettable and pleasant experience I ever had. It was well-organized with very insightful presentations, many opportunities to interact and exchange contacts with fellow researchers, and not forgetting the organizers’ thoughtful efforts to ensure the great comfort and welfare of the participants. Vancouver’s weather and people were very kind as well.

I am thankful for the travel grant and the support from ACM SIGMM was truly heartening. I hope to continue to be part of this community and pay it forward in other ways.

Tiago Soares da Costa, PhD student from FEUP, Portugal

MMSys 2023 marked my return to in-person conferences and was one of the most well organized conferences I had the pleasure to participate in. After several virtual conferences, being able to actively meet and discuss interesting topics related to multimedia with fellow researchers was a breath of fresh air. The keynote presentation from Klara Nahrstedt was one of my highlights from MMSys 2023, due to its extensive focus on multi-view streaming, one of the main topics from my PhD research. Ihab Amer was another welcome surprise, presenting us with the current trends in AI encoding from one of the leading tech enterprises, AMD. Regarding paper presentations, I have to highlight the following works: 1) “The AD△ER Framework: Tools for Event Video Representations“, for providing us with a new approach to frameless videos; 2) “Remote Expert Assistance System for Mixed-HMD Clients over 5G Infrastructure” for delivering an impressive tech demonstration; 3) “FleXR: A System Enabling Flexibly Distributed Extended Reality“, for presenting us with a distributed stream processing solution which can be effectively applied to XR-based environments. As for the social events from MMSys 2023, the sights and sounds from Grouse Mountain and the impressive view from the Vancouver Lookout Tower were among some of my favourite moments in Vancouver, that I will forever cherish. Overall, MMSys 2023 was an amazing conference and I’m particularly grateful to the SIGMM committee for providing me with the travel grant.

Yu-Szu Wei from National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan

It is a great honor for me to receive the student travel grant and I appreciate it so much. ACM MMsys 2023 is my first in-person experience attending an international conference, it certainly is a fantastic experience for me. I met lots of astonishing researchers and volunteers who solve problems with different, creative, and novel approaches. I exchanged my ideas with them and learned a lot from them. The keynote sessions also gave me brand-new mindsets, finding out that there are lots of issues for us to investigate and deal with. The most impressive thing for me is to stand on the stage and present my work to those experts. I’m so proud of myself for delivering my research ideas in front of the public and gaining abundant feedback from the audience.

Thanks to the committee that organized this awesome event, and provided me the travel grant to attend the conference. I’m looking forward to attending ACM MMSys again in the future. 

Students Report from ACM Multimedia 2022

ACM Multimedia 2022 was held in a hybrid format in Lisbon, Portugal from October 10-14, 2022.

This was the first local participation in three years for many participants, as the strict travel restrictions associated with Covid-19 in 2020 and 2021 made it difficult to participate locally by travelling out of the host and neighbouring countries.

In Portugal, the Covid-19 restrictions were almost lifted, and the city was bustling with tourists. Participants were careful to avoid infectious diseases and enjoyed Lisbon’s local wine “Vinho Verde” and cod dishes with their colleagues and engaged in lively discussions about multimedia research.

For many students, this was their first time presenting at an international conference, and it was a wonderful experience.

To encourage student authors to participate on-site, SIGMM has sponsored a group of students with Student Travel Grant Awards. Students who wanted to apply for this travel grant needed to submit an online form before the submission deadline. The selected students received either 1,000 or 2,000 USD to cover their airline tickets as well as accommodation costs for this event. Of the recipients, 25 were able to attend the conference. We asked them to share their unique experience attending ACM Multimedia 2022. In this article, we share their reports of the event.

Xiangming Gu, PhD student, National University of Singapore, Singapore

It is a great honour to receive a SIGMM Student Grant. ACM Multimedia 2022 is my first time attending an academic conference physically. During the conference, I presented my oral paper “MM-ALT: Multimodal Automatic Lyric Transcription”, which was also selected as “Top Rated Papers”. Besides the presentation, I also met a lot of people who shared similar research interests. It was very inspiring to learn from others’ papers and discuss them with the authors directly. Moreover, I was also a volunteer for ACM Multimedia 2022 and attended the session of the 5th International ACM Workshop on Multimedia Content Analysis in Sports. During the session, I learnt how to organize a workshop, which was a great exercise for me. Now, after I come back to Singapore, I still miss the conference. I wish I can get my paper accepted next year and attend the conference again.

Avinash Madasu, Computer Science Master’s student at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, USA.

It is my absolute honour to receive the student travel grant for attending the ACM Multimedia 2022 conference. This is the first time I have attended a top AI conference in-person. I enjoyed it a lot during the conference and I was sad that the conference ended quickly. Within the conference days, I was able to attend a lot of oral sessions, keynote talks and poster sessions. I was able to interact with fellow researchers from both academia and industry. I learnt a lot about exciting research going on in my area of interest as well as other areas. It provided a new refreshing experience and I hope to bring this to my research. I presented a poster and felt happy when fellow researchers appreciated my work. Apart from technical details, I was able to forge a lot of new friendships which I truly cherish for my whole life.

Moreno La Quatra, PhD student, Politecnico di Torino

The ACM Multimedia 2022 conference was an amazing experience. After a few years of remote conferences, it was a pleasure to be able to attend the conference in person. I got the opportunity to meet many researchers of different seniorities and backgrounds, and I learned a lot from them. The poster sessions were one of the highlights of the conference. They were a very valuable opportunity to present interesting ideas and explore the details of other researchers’ work. I found the keynotes, presentations, and workshops to be very inspiring and engaging as well. Throughout them, I learned about specific topics and interacted with friendly, passionate researchers from around the world. I would like to thank the ACM Multimedia 2022 organization for the opportunity to attend the conference in Lisbon, all the other volunteers for their friendly and helpful attitude, and the SIGMM Student Travel Grant committee for the financial support.

Sheng-Ming Tang, Master student, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu, Taiwan

My name is Sheng-Ming Tang from National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu, Taiwan. It is a great honour for me to receive the student travel grant. First, I want to thank the committee for organizing this fantastic event. As ACM MM 2022 is my first in-person experience presenting at a conference, I felt a little bit nervous in the first place. However, I started to get comfortable in the conference through the interaction of those astonishing researchers and the volunteers. It was great to not only present in front of the public but also participate in the events. I met a lot of people who solved problems with different and creative approaches, learned brand-new mindsets from the keynote sessions, and gained abundant feedback from the audience, which would boost my research. Thank the committee again for giving me this greatest opportunity to present and share my work in person. I enjoyed a lot during the event.

Tai-Chen Tsai, Graduate student, National Tsing Hua University Taiwan

First, I would like to thank ACM for providing a student travel grant that allowed me to attend the conference. This is my first time presenting my work at a conference. The conference I attended was the interactive art session. I was worried that the setup would be complicated abroad. However, as soon as I arrived at the site, volunteers assisted me with the installation. The conference provided complete hardware resources, allowing me to have a smooth and excellent exhibition experience. Also, I took the opportunity to see many interesting researchers from different countries. The work “Emotional Machines” in the interactive art exhibition surprised me. His system collects and combines what participants are saying and their current emotions. The data is transformed into 360-degree image content in the VR environment through the model so that everyone’s information forms a small universe in the VR environment. The idea is creative.
Additionally, I can chat and discuss projects with published researchers while volunteering at workshops. They shared their lifestyle and work experiences as researchers in European countries, and we discussed what interesting study is and what is not. This is the best reward for me.

Bhalaji Nagarajan, PhD Student, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain

ACM-Multimedia was the first big conference I was able to participate in person after two years of complete virtual participation. I presented my work both as oral and poster presentations at the Workshop on Multimedia-Assisted Dietary Management (MADiMa). It gave me an excellent opportunity to present my work and to get valuable input from reputed pioneers regarding the future scope. It gave me a new dimension and helped in expanding my technical skill set. This was also my first volunteering experience on such a massive scale. It gave me a great learning experience to see and learn how to manage conferences of such a large scale.
I am very happy that I attended the conference in person. I was able to meet new people, and reputed pioneers in the field, learn new things and of course, made some new friends. A big thank you for the SIGMM Travel Grant that allowed me to attend the conference in-person in Lisbon.

Kiruthika Kannan, MS by Research, International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad, India. 

My paper on “DrawMon: A Distributed System for Detection of Atypical Sketch Content in Concurrent Pictionary Games” was accepted at the 30th ACM International Conference on Multimedia. It was my first international conference, and I felt honoured to be able to present my research in front of experienced researchers. The conference also exhibited diverse research projects addressing fascinating scientific and technological problems. The poster sessions and talks at the conference improved my knowledge of the research trends in multimedia. In addition to this, I was able to interact with fellow researchers from diverse cultures. It was interesting to hear about their experiences and learn about their work at their institution. As a volunteer at the conference, I witnessed the hard work of the behind the scene organizers and volunteering team to smoothly run the events. I am grateful to the SIGMM Student Travel Grant for supporting my attendance at the ACMMM 22 conference.

Garima Sharma, PhD Student, Department of Human-Centred Computing, Monash University

It was a pleasure to receive a SIGMM travel grant and to attend the ACM Multimedia 2022 conference in person. ACM Multimedia is one of the top conferences in my research area and it was my first in-person conference during my PhD. I had a great experience interacting with numerous researchers and fellow PhD students. Along with all the interesting keynotes, I attended as many oral sessions as possible. Some of these sessions were aligned with my research work and some were outside of my work. This gave me a new research perspective at different levels. Also, working with organisers in a few sessions gave me a whole new experience in managing these events. Overall, I got many insightful comments, suggestions and feedback which motivated me with some interesting directions in my research work. I would like to thank the organisers for making this year’s ACM Multimedia a wonderful experience for every attendee.

Alon Harell, PhD student at the Multimedia Lab at Simon Fraser University

I had the pleasure to receive the SIGMM Student Travel Grant and to attend and volunteer at ACM Multimedia 22 in Lisbon, Portugal. The work I submitted to the conference was done outside of my regular PhD research, and thus without this grant, I would have not been able to participate. The workshop at which I presented, ACM MM Sport 22, was incredibly eye-opening with many fantastic papers, great presentations, and above all great people with which I was able to exchange ideas, form bonds, and perhaps even create future collaborations. The main conference, which coincides more closely with my main research on image and video coding for machines, was just as good. With fascinating talks, some in person, and some virtual, I was exposed to many new ideas (or perhaps just new to me) and learned a great deal. I was also able to benefit from the generosity and experience of Prof.  Chong Wah Ngo from Singapore Management University, during my PhD. Mentor lunch, who shared with me his thoughts on pursuing a career in academia. Overall, ACM Multimedia 22 was an especially unique experience because it was the first in-person conference I was able to attend since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and being back face-to-face with fellow researchers was a great pleasure.

Lorenzo Vaiani, Ph.D. student (1st year), Politecnico di Torino, Italy

ACM MM 2022 was my first in-person conference. Being able to present my works and discuss them with other participants in person was an incredible experience. I enjoyed every activity, from presentations and posters to workshops and demos. I received excellent feedback and new inspiration to continue my research. The best part was definitely strengthening the bonds with friends I already knew and making more with the amazing people I met there. I learned a lot from all of them. Volunteer activities helped a lot in making these kinds of connections. Thanks to the organizers for this fantastic opportunity and the SIGMM Student Travel Grant committee for the financial support. This edition of ACM MM was just the first for me, but I hope for many more in the future.

Xiaoyu Lin, third-year PhD student at Inria Grenoble, France

It is a great honour to attend ACM MM 2022 in Lisbon. It was a great experience. I have met lots of nice professors and researchers. Discussing with them gave me lots of inspiration on both research directions and career development. I presented my work during the doctoral symposium. I’ve got plenty of useful feedback which can help me to improve our work. During the “Ask Me Anything” lunch, I have the chance to discuss with several senior researchers. They provide me with some kind and very useful advice on how to do research. Besides, I have also served as a volunteer for a workshop. It also helped me to meet other volunteers and made some new friends. Thanks to all the chairs and organizers who have worked hard to make ACM MM 2022 such a wonderful conference.  It’s really an impressive experience!

Zhixin Ma, PhD student, Singapore Management University, Singapore

I would like to thank the ACM Multimedia Committee provided me with the student travel grant so that I can attend the conference in person. ACM Multimedia is the worldwide top conference in the Multimedia field. It provides me with an opportunity to present my work and communicate with the researchers working on this topic of multimedia search.
Besides, the excellent keynotes and passionate panel talk also picture a good vision of future research in the multimedia field. Overall, I must express that ACM MM22 is amazing and well-organized. I again appreciate the ACM MM committee for the student travel grant, which made my attendance possible.

Report from ACM Multimedia 2022 by Nitish Nagesh

Nitish Nagesh (@nitish_nagesh) is a Ph.D. student in the Computer Science department, the University of California, Irvine, USA. He has been awarded as Best Social Media Reporter of ACM Multimedia 2022 conference. To celebrate this award, Nitish Nagesh reported on his wonderful experience at ACM Multimedia 2022 as follows.

I was excited when our paper “World Food Atlas for Food Navigation” was accepted to the Multimedia Assisted Dietary Management Workshop (MADiMA). Being held in conjunction with ACM Multimedia 2022, the premier multimedia conference was the icing on the cake. It being in Lisbon, Portugal was the cherry on top of the cake. It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. It is fitting to describe a multimedia conference experience report through pictures.

Prof. Ramesh Jain organized an informal meetup at the Choupana Caffe based on the advice of Joao Magalhaes, general chair of ACMMM 2022. It was great to meet researchers working on food computing including Prof. Yoko Yamakata, Prof. Agnieszka, Maija Kale. It was great to also have the company of students and professors from Singapore Management University including Prof. Chong Wah along with Prof. Phoebe Chen. Since this was the first in-person conference for many folks, we had great conversations over waffles, pear salad and watermelon mint juice!

The MADiMA workshop and the Cooking and Eating Activities (CEA) workshop had stellar keynote speakers and presentations about topics ranging from adherence to a mediterranean diet to mental health estimation through food images. 

The workshop was at the Lisbon Congress Center. It was a treat to watch the sun shine brightly on the congress center in the morning and the mellow sunset only a few minutes away near the Tagus Estuary rendering an orangish hue to the red bridge overlooking the train tracks below.

After a great set of presentations, the MADIMA and CEA workshop was drawn to a close with a group picture, of one large family of people who love food and want to help people enjoy food while maintaining their health goals. A huge shout out to the workshop chairs Prof. Stavroula Mougiakakou, Prof. Keiji Yanai, Prof. Dario Allegra and Prof. Yoko Yamakata. (I tried my best to include a photo where everyone looks good!)

All work and no play makes us dull people! And all research with no food makes us hungry people! We had a post-workshop dinner at an authentic Portuguese restaurant. The food was great and it was a delightful evening because of the surprise treat from the professors! 

Prof. Jain’s Ph.D. talk was inspiring as he shared his personal journey that led him to focus on healthcare. He urged students in the multimedia community to pursue multimodal healthcare research as he shared his insights on building a personal health navigator.

I had signed up to be a mentee for the Ph.D. school Ask Me Anything (AMA) session. We asked Prof. Ming Dong questions about his time at graduate school, balancing teaching and research responsibilities, tips on maximizing research output and strategies to cope with rejections. He was candid in his responses and emphasized the need to focus on incremental progress while striving to do impactful research. I must thank Prof. Wei Tsang and other organizers for their leadership in organizing a first-of-its-kind session.

In between running around oral sessions, poster presentations, keynote talks, networking, grabbing lunch, and enjoying Portuguese Tart, we managed to have fun while volunteering. Huge credit to the students and staff (the Rafael’s, the Diogo’s, the David’s, the Gustavo’s, the Pedro’s) from Nova university for doing the heavy lifting to ensure a smooth online, hybrid and in-person experience!

It was a pleasure to watch Prof. Alan Smeaton deliver an inspiring speech about the journey of information retrieval and multimedia. The community congratulates you once again on the Technical Achievement Award – more power to you, Alan!

The highlight of the conference was the grand banquet at Centro Cultural de Belém. There could not have been a better climax to the gala event than the Fado music. One aspect of Fado music symbolizes longing where the spouse sings a melancholy when her partner sets sail on long voyages. It is accompanied by the unique 12 string guitar and is sung very close to the audience to heighten the intimacy. I could fully relate to the artists’ melody and rhythms since I had been longing to see my family and friends back home, whom I have not visited for the past three years due to the pandemic. Another tune described the beauty of Lisbon in superlatives including the sun shining the brightest compared to any other part of the world. There was a happy ending to the tune when the artists recreated the moment of joy after the war was over and everyone was merry again. It reinvigorated a fresh hope and breathed a new lease of life into our cluttered worlds. For once, I was truly present in the moment!

Reports from ACM Multimedia System 2021


The 12th ACM Multimedia Systems Conference (MMSys’21) happened from September 28th through October 1st, 2021.  The  MMSys conference is an important forum for researchers in multimedia systems. But, due to the ongoing pandemic, the event was held in a hybrid mode – onsite in Istanbul, Turkey, and online. Organizers and chairs (Özgü Alay, Cheng-Hsin Hsu, and  Ali C. Begen) worked very hard to make sure the conference was successful, both for the on-site participants (around 50) and the online participants (with a peak of 330 concurrent viewers).  For a small description of the event, take a look at the text written by Ali Begen, one of the general chairs.
To encourage student authors to participate on-site, SIGMM has sponsored a group of students with Student Travel Grant Awards. Students who wanted to apply for this travel grant needed to submit an online form before the submission deadline. Then, the selection committee chose 7 travel grant winners. The selected students received either 1,000 or 2,000 USD to cover their airline tickets as well accommodation costs for this event. We asked the travel grant winners to share their unique experiences attending MMSys’21. The following are their comments.

Minh Nguyen

It is my honour to receive the SIGMM Student travel award that gives me a golden opportunity to attend the MMSys’2021 conference on-site. This conference is the first one I have attended during the Covid pandemic. I attended the whole conference, and I really appreciate the organizing committee who tried their best to organize this conference in a hybrid mode. It was a very interesting and well-organized conference where many innovative papers were introduced. The venue of the conference is a great place with professional staff and comfortable accommodation and meeting rooms. The local Turkish food attracted me. They were delicious. At this conference, I was happy to meet, connect, and discuss with experts working in multimedia systems, which is close to my PhD thesis. I was interested in informative and passionate keynotes about cutting-edge technologies and their open discussion. Especially, many novel papers motivated me and gave me some ideas for my future work in my PhD thesis. Also, their enjoyable social events brought me a chance to visit Istanbul and experience new things. I look forward to attending future editions of the conference.

Lucas Torrealba A.

I found the conference very interesting. It was my first experience of an in-person conference and it was amazing. The research articles presented seem very relevant to me and the organization did a wonderful job as well. In addition, it seems to be quite a good idea for the future to always leave hybrid ways to participate in the conferences.

Paniz Parastar

The MMsys2021 was my first in-person conference, and since it was highly organized, it raised my expectation of future conferences. Overall, many interesting topics were covered, and I only mentioned a couple of instances here. 
AI/ML are the hot topics as of today. I believe it’s enjoyable to see them applied in the various aspects of multimedia streaming and other areas as well as in computer vision. Notably, I liked the papers in NOSSDAV sessions on the last day of the conference adapting learning methods to improve the QoE of users. Since I’m working on distinguishing IoT devices and their traffics on the network these days, video clustering papers and mainly the paper that classifies the 360 videos from regular ones based on the traffic features (.i.e., flow and packet level features) were educational to me. Also, comparing subjective and objective quality assessment metrics alongside the various network conditions as they do in the paper may not be a new topic, but it is always interesting to explore. 
Plus, one of the most exciting talks for me was ‘Games as a Game Changer’, which was part of the Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Workshop. It changed my perception of games as an entertaining tool that also can help us better understand situations that don’t usually happen in our daily lives.

Ekrem Cetinkaya

MMSys’21 was my first in-person conference experience, and I can gladly say that it was above my expectations. We were welcomed by a fantastic organization, given how difficult the situation was. Everything went so smoothly, from the keynotes to paper presentations to demo sessions, and of course, social events.
Personally, two things were the most impressive for me. First, the keynote by Caitlin Kalinowski (Facebook) was given in person, and she had to fly from the U.S. to Istanbul just for this keynote. Second, the hybrid organization was thought through. There was a team of five whose duty was to make sure the conference was insightful for those who could not make it to Istanbul as well.
Moreover, the social events and the venues were really lovely. I learned that the MMSys community has a long history, and you could feel that, especially in those social events where it was an amicable environment, meaning that it was also easy for me to do some networking. Overall, I can say the MMSys conference was amazing in all aspects without any doubt. I want to thank the SIGMM committee once again for their travel grant, which made this experience possible.

Ivan Bartolec

The ACM MMSys’21 conference held in Istanbul, Turkey, was an excellent opportunity to meet, interact, and discuss ideas with researchers who are working to develop new and engaging multimedia experiences. This was my first MMSys conference, and it was an excellent environment for both learning and networking, with a thoughtfully selected collection of presentations, engaging keynotes (especially the one from a representative of Facebook), and fun social events. I found the sessions based on video or video streaming to be the most interesting and informative for my field of study. The demo sessions concept was also pretty unique, and by being on-site and seeing the demos and asking questions, I learnt a few things about practical implementations that I find incredibly useful. I’m very thankful for the opportunity to present my PhD research as part of the Doctoral symposium and to receive feedback from conference attendees as well as offline comments and ideas via email, which I gladly responded to. It was an absolute pleasure to attend MMSys’21 on-site, courtesy of the Student Travel Grant, and I look forward to visiting future editions of the conference and continuing to interact with the MMSys community.

Jesus Aguilar Armijo

It has been a pleasure to attend MMSys’2021 in person. This would not have been possible without the SIGMM Student travel award.
At the conference, I had the opportunity to attend four keynotes, where I would like to highlight the keynote from Caitlin Kalinowski (Facebook). She presented in person and showed the Virtual Reality devices of her company and future projects with emerging technologies.
I found truly engaging the different sessions of MMSys as they were related to my work in network-assisted video streaming. For example, the NOSSDAV session named “Session #1: Yet Another Streaming Session” contained the paper “Common Media Client Data (CMCD): Initial Findings” which I found especially interesting as I use some features of this standard in my work. Moreover, the paper entitled: “Beyond throughput, the next generation: a 5G dataset with channel and context metrics” (from MMSys’20 but presented in MMSys’21) in the open dataset session was particularly interesting for me as I use their previous dataset with 4G as a radio traces for my last paper.
During the conference, I had the opportunity to discuss and exchange ideas with different researchers, which I found valuable and insightful. I would also like to highlight the good organization of the conference and the social events.
Finally, I presented my work in the Doctoral Symposium session, and I received some interesting questions from the audience. It was a great opportunity, and I am grateful to SIGMM, which allowed me to participate in this extraordinary experience.

Report from ACM Multimedia Systems 2021 by Neha Sharma

Neha Sharma (@NehaSharma) is a PhD student working with Dr Mohamed Hefeeda in Network and Multimedia Systems Lab at Simon Fraser University. Her research interests are in computer vision and machine learning with a focus on next-generation multimedia systems and applications. Her current work focuses on designing an inexpensive hyperspectral camera using a hybrid approach by leveraging both hardware and software solutions. She has been awarded as Best Social Media Reporter of the conference to promote the sharing among researchers on social networks. To celebrate this award, here is a more complete report on the conference.

Being a junior researcher in multimedia systems, I must say I feel proud to be part of this amazing community. I became part of ACM Multimedia Systems Conference (MMSys) last year in 2020, where I published my first research work. I was excited to attend MMSys ’20 in Istanbul, which unfortunately shifted online due to COVID-19. I presented my first work online and got to learn about other researchers in the community. This year I was able to publish another work with my team and got selected to present my ideas and research plans in Doctoral Symposium (thanks to reviewers). MMSys’21 gave me hope to have a full conference experience, as we all were hoping to start our lives back to normal. But, as the conference date was approaching, things were still not clear and travel restrictions were still in place. But on the good note, MMSys ’21 became hybrid to provide an opportunity to the people who can travel. It was at the very end I decided to travel and attend MMSys’21 in person. And I am glad I made that decision. My experience was overwhelmingly rich in terms of learning interesting research findings and making inspiring connections in the community. As the recipient of the “Best Social Media Reporter” award, enjoy the highlights of MMSys’ 21 through my lens. 

In the light of the ongoing global pandemic, ACM MMSys ’21 was held in hybrid mode – onsite in Istanbul, Turkey and online jointly on September 28 – October 1, 2021. Ali C. Begen (Ozyegin University and Networked Media, Turkey) opened the conference onsite with a warm welcome. MMSys’21 became the first-ever hybrid conference where participants presented onsite as well as remotely in real-time. There were participants joining from 38 different countries. The organizing team did an amazing job in pulling off this complex event. This year the research track implemented a two-round submission system, and accepted papers included public reviews in the proceedings. This, however, was not the only first, MMSys ’21 had its first Doctoral Symposium targeting the PhD students and aiming to find their mentors. In addition, there were postponed celebrations for the 30th anniversary of NOSSDAV and the 25th anniversary of Packet Video.

The conference program was very well scheduled. Each day of the conference started with a keynote. There were four insightful and inspiring keynotes from researchers working in cutting edge multimedia technologies. The first day started with a talk titled “AI-Driven Solutions throughout Games’ Lifecycles Leveraging Big Data” by Qiaolin Chen from Tencent IEG Global. Chen discussed how AI and big data are evolving the gaming industry, from intelligent market decisions to data-driven game development. On the second day, Caitlin Kalinowski presented an interesting keynote “Making Impossible Products: How to Get 0-to-1 Products Right”. Caitlin heads the VR Hardware team at Facebook Reality Labs. She shared insights about Oculus and zero-to-one products. The next day, Chris Bregler (Google) talked about “Synthetic Media: New Opportunities and New Challenges”. He discussed recent trends in generative media creation techniques that have opened new possibilities for societally beneficial uses but have also raised concerns about misuse. Last day, Sriram Sethuraman and Deepthi Nandakumar (Amazon) provided insights about “Role of ML in the Prediction of Perceptual Video Quality”. Keynotes are available on youtube to watch on-demand.

This year the conference attracted paper submissions from a range of multimedia topics including immersive media, live video, content preparation, cloud-based and mobile media processing and computer vision systems. Apart from the main research track, MMSys ’21 hosted three workshops:

  • NOSSDAV – Network and Operating System Support for Digital Audio and Video
  • MMVE – Immersive Mixed and Virtual Environment Systems
  • GameSys – Game Systems

These workshops provided an opportunity to meet those who are working in focused areas of multimedia research. This year MMSys conducted the inaugural ACM workshop on Game Systems (GameSys ’21). This workshop attracted research on all aspects of computer/digital games, emphasizing networks, systems, interaction, and applications. Highlights include the work presented by Mark Claypool et. Al (Worcester Polytechnic Institute) which conducts a user study measuring attribute scaling for cloud-based games. 

In addition to area focussed workshops, MMSys’21 also conducted two grand challenges:

Another main highlight of the conference is the EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) workshop. The workshop was tailored towards PhD students, assistant professors and starting researchers in various research organizations. The event openly discussed core topics about parenthood, work-family policies, career paths and EDI aspects at large. Laura Toni, Mea Wang and Ozgu Alay opened the workshop on the third day of the conference. Miriam Redi shared goals to achieve an equitable and inclusive multimedia community. Susanne Boll talked about the target strategy “25 in 25” to increase the participation of women in SIGMM to at least 25% by 2025. Other guest speakers also highlighted some strategies to achieve target diversity and inclusion in MMSys.

Last but not the least, amazing social events. Each day of the conference ended with a well-planned social event providing a great opportunity to the in-person attendees to meet, discuss, and develop professional and social links throughout the community in a more relaxed setting. We had visited some historical venues like Galata Tower and Adile Sultan Palace and enjoyed a Bosphorus boat tour with a live music band. This year MMSys planned the first inter-continental socials. We travelled from the European side to the Asian side of Istanbul (by bus and by boat). As a token of appreciation, in-person participants received Turkish delights and coffee, a set of traditional towels (peştemal), Istanbul-themed puzzles and a hand-made Kütahya Porcelain vase/coffee set as souvenirs. For me, the best part was sitting together and dining with peers, discussing prospects of your own research or multimedia systems research, in general.

Closing the conference, Ali C. Begen opened with the announcement of the awards. The Best Paper Award was presented to Xiao Zhu et. Al for the paper “Livelyzer: Analyzing the First-Mile Ingest Performance of Live Video Streaming”. See the full list of awards here. The conference closed with the announcement of ACM Multimedia Systems 2022, which will be happening in Athlone, Ireland. Looking forward to seeing everyone again next year.

Reports from ACM Multimedia 2021


Due to the COVID-19, the annual ACM Multimedia Conference ( was held in a hybrid mode – onsite in Chengdu, China, and online jointly this year. The organizers have made meticulous preparations for this conference and totally more than 1000 researchers from all over the world participated. 

Besides, there are also AI companies, e.g., Huawei and ByteDance on site trying to attract researchers. It is worth mentioning that in order to prevent the COVID-19, staff and volunteers make a lot of efforts, such as testing the body temperature and providing free masks for attendees.

To encourage student authors to fully engage with the event, SIGMM has sponsored 39 students with Student Travel Grant Awards this year. Students who wanted to apply for this travel grant needed to submit an online form ( before the submission deadline and then the selection committee has chosen the travel grant winners according to selection criteria. The selected students received up to 1000 USD to cover their airline tickets as well accommodation costs for this event. We interviewed some travel grant winners to share their wonderful experience of attending the conference. The following are comments from them.

Students interviewed at ACM Multimedia 2021

Shaoxiang Chen (Fudan University)

It was such a great pleasure to receive the student travel grant and attend the ACM MM 2021 conference in Chengdu. The organizers have devoted a significant amount of effort to ensure the attendees have a nice experience, and in fact, we did. The prepared check-in gifts including masks, an umbrella, and small notebooks were considerate. The onsite covid-19 test was convenient for us to travel back. The keynote talks were closely related to the popular topics in the multimedia community, and I have learned a lot about deep learning and multimodal pre-training. As for the doctoral symposium, I have met excellent PhD students from all over the world and received helpful suggestions from the mentors during my own presentation. Finally, the wonderful performances at the dinner banquet made the entire conference experience even more perfect.

Yuqian Fu (Fudan University)

It is the second time that I attend ACM Multimedia onsite. The first time was in Nice, France in October 2019. That is also a very nice trip. Another thing that I want to share is that I have one long paper accepted by ACM Multimedia in 2020. The conference was supposed to be held in Seattle, USA. However, due to the COVID-19, we had to attend the conference online, which is a big pity. Therefore, it is really a happy thing to participate in this year’s conference in Chengdu. During the conference, I have the opportunity to talk with other researchers face-to-face, and I also presented my work actively to them. I learned a lot in the past few days and had a good experience. Finally, I would like to thank SIGMM for the travel grant, thank the organizers for all the efforts they made to ensure the progress of the conference, and the volunteers for their kind help.

Zheng Wang (Fudan University)

It has been a wonderful experience for me at the ACM Multimedia 2021 in Chengdu this October. Owing to the COVID-19 outbreaks in the past two years, we were so lucky to be together again. Many thanks to the local organizers for their tremendous efforts to hold the conference onsite. At the poster sessions, I was able to present my paper for video moment retrieval to attendances and discuss my idea with them. I could also stop by others’ work, and understanding their work gives me a direct observation about what is going on in the multimedia community. I enjoy the poster session since it helped me know the research trades better. One issue is that the hall for the poster session is relatively crowded, and some walls have two posters arranged one above the other, making the communication a bit inconvenient. In the keynote sessions, I was able to see diverse research areas gathered under the same topic, which let me see a problem from different aspects. As I am in my last PhD year, I could talk with several researchers from university institutions and companies, and I got valuable advice on what should I get prepared for pursuing a career in research or business. Thanks to the local organizers for arranging trips to see cute pandas, which makes visiting Chengdu a delight and unforgettable memory.

Yang Jiao (Fudan University)

It was a great honour to attend the ACM Multimedia in Chengdu this year. This year’s ACM Multimedia is a special conference, for it is the first top conference held onsite since COVID-19. It was the first time that I attended this conference and I enjoyed the academic atmosphere there. I have met a lot of friends with similar research interests as well as famous teachers to share research experiences. What excites me most is the best paper session, where a great number of outstanding works investigate interesting frontier tasks in multimedia society, such as generating music according to visual motion, estimating postures based on one’s speech tune, etc. Moreover, the dinner banquet surprises me a lot. Besides the regular host introduction and dining time, organizers also elaborately prepare wonderful shows as well as a lucky draw. I, fortunately, won the third prize. In summary, thanks for all the efforts of the organizers and excellent talks given by outstanding researchers in this year’s Multimedia. It was a really impressive experience for me!

Yechao Zhang (Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) )

It was such an honour for me to receive the student travel grant. Frankly, I am merely a grad student in my second year in HUST, and it was the first time for me to attend any academic conference ever. The acceptance from ACM Multimedia 2021 is a major inspiration for me, which had inspired me to apply for a PhD program just so I could keep contributing to the academic research in the area of Multimedia in the future. During the conference, I had very much enjoyed my time visiting Chengdu. Apart from the amazing food adventure, I had the most beneficial conversations with researchers from all over the world. All these wonderful experiences would not be possible if there wasn’t for the travel grant from SIGMM. Many thanks for the recognition and support from SIGMM. I sincerely hope ACM Multimedia will gain more international influence.

Jingru Gan (University of Chinese Academy of Sciences)

The ACM Multimedia held this year is an extraordinary conference in terms of the organization and attending experience. I am most impressed by the refined arrangement of hybrid oral sessions which accommodates onsite and online presenters from everywhere on earth. The great importance of this meeting is that it intensifies the bond of researchers from pages of papers to face-to-face meetings. To get a chance of knowing how others go through months of trial and error before achieving a satisfactory result is inspiring, which encourages me to completely dedicate myself to my future work.

Yanqiao Zhu (University of Chinese Academy of Sciences)

Although this was not my first time attending international conferences, my experience at ACM Multimedia 2021 was still very exciting and unforgettable, especially after a long-time travel block due to COVID-19. This year, the diverse program not only makes me feel more connected with the multimedia research community but really broadens my vision. During the conference, I presented my paper on multimedia recommendation, met with many prestigious scholars from both academia and industry, and exchanged many interesting ideas. I believe most of the discussions will spur sparks for future research directions. I also participated in social networking programs, during which I made a lot of friends in related research areas. Overall, it was a great honour for me to receive the SIGMM travel grant that supports me attending ACM Multimedia 2021 physically. I would like to sincerely thank all organizers for their effort in making this year’s ACM Multimedia a great success.

Yudong Wang (University of Electronic Science and Technology of China)

As an undergraduate who received the student travel grant, this is my first time attending an international conference. According to the 2019-nCoV, the attendees onsite are almost Chinese and the room for the poster is a little crowded, but fortunately, people are orderly. At the conference, I stand on my poster and share my work with some researchers in the same field. Apart from that, I talk with some people who work on recommendation algorithms. They help me get to know the other AI application and brand new methods to realize intelligence. I listen to some oral work from a different area of the world and learned a lot about the other field of multimedia. The most impressive thing is the banquet. Although from different schools, the atmosphere among strangers on the table is harmonious. We talk about our daily life in our school and enjoy the performances on the stage. By the way, the gifts prepared for the attendees are surprises. If there are any regrets, it must be that I was not a volunteer to help others and failed to draw a lottery. In summary, thanks to the committee, I had a great experience on ACM Multimedia 2021.

Peidong Liu (Tsinghua University)

I am pleased to attend ACM MM 2021 conference onsite in Chengdu, China. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the conference adopts a hybrid form, i.e. both onsite and online, to make most of the people participating in the academic exchange. It is noted that this is my first time to attend the onsite international conference in the last few years and I find it more convenient to exchange ideas onsite than online. There are several points worth talking about. First off, this conference utilizes an app called Whova in the procedure of the conference and we can complete personal research interests and affiliated institutions to communicate more conveniently with other researchers. Besides that, volunteers are patient to help us with the check-in process and give us a nice experience at the conference. Finally, thanks to the support from the conference community, I gain the opportunity to communicate with the researchers onsite all around the globe.

Haoyu Zhang (Shandong University)

This was my first time attending an international conference, and I was very happy to participate offline in Chengdu, Sichuan, China. The feeling of participating in the offline conference was something that cannot be experienced online. The volunteers at the conference were very enthusiastic and answered some questions about attending the conference for me. The ACM Multimedia was very caring, prepared many exquisite gifts for each participant, and provided dinner with very local characteristics. The delicious food made me linger. In the daily meeting, I watched and browsed the reports and posters that I was interested in, and had detailed exchanges with the authors, which not only broadened my horizons but also inspired my thinking. In short, I was very honoured to be able to attend this ACM Multimedia conference, and it was a very impressive experience. Finally, I wish the ACM Multimedia better and better.


Overall, almost everyone has a high evaluation of the experience of participating in this conference. Besides, we can tell that the travel grant does help a lot to the students. To summarize, this conference was held successfully and left a very good impression on the participants.

Encouraging more Diverse Scientific Collaborations with the ConfFlow application


ConfFlow is an application to encourage people with similar or complementary research interests to find each other at conferences. How scientific collaborations are initiated, how people meet and how an intention is developed to work together is an open question. The aim of this follow-up initiative to ConfLab: Meet the Chairs! held at ACM MM 2019 ( is to help people in the multimedia community to connect with potential collaborators.

As a community, Multimedia is so diverse that it is easy for community members to miss out on very useful expertise and potentially fruitful collaborations. There is a lot of latent knowledge and potential synergies that could exist if we were to offer conference attendees an alternative perspective on their similarities to other attendees. As researchers, we typically find connections through talking to people at the conference either through scientific presentations, personal introductions, or by chance.

The aim of ConfFlow is to allow attendees to browse their similarity to other attendees by harvesting publicly available information about them related to their research interests. Depending on the richness of experience that users are looking for, ConfFlow aims to offer an alternative way for researchers to make new research connections with a similar space. At the basic level, we define the similarity of attendees with an approach similar to paper-reviewer assignment tools, such as the Toronto Paper Matching System (TPMS). Usually, TPMS is used to match reviewers to papers. In an analogous way, ConfFlow creates a visualised similarity space using the publications of the conference attendees. This will allow attendees to interactively explore and find new connections with researchers with complementary research interests (or similar ones).  More details about ConfFlow can be found in the associated demo paper [1]. An example snapshot of the application is shown in Figure 1 below.

ConfFlow was funded by the SIGMM special initiatives fund which supports initiatives related to boosting excellence and strength of SIGMM, addressing opportunities for growth in the community and SIGMM related activities, as well as nurturing new talent. The aim of ConfFlow is to target building on excellence, strengths, and community. 

Figure 1: Visualisation of ConfFlow

This report records our experience and practical issues related to running ConfFlow at ACM Multimedia last year.


Privacy and Ethical Practices

The aim of ConfFlow was to adhere to the highest levels of ethical practice. One of the debates online relates to what is considered private data. One could consider that deriving novel information from publicly available data can still be considered an invasion of privacy [2]. So ConfFlow was proposed and designed to be opt-in only. This means that unlike the visualisation seen in Figure 1, all the identities for anyone visiting the ConfFlow application appeared as just an icon unless the person had activated their account and gave permission for others to see it. While this might seem quite strict, there can be unforeseen privacy related questions when social information is extracted from publicly available information as those who do not choose to opt-in can still become exposed. 

Due to this opt-in strict procedure, we needed to find an active way to engage conference attendees by advertising the application through the conference and also getting access to the conference attendee list so we could target and encourage those people to activate their accounts. This required close coordination with the General Chairs of ACM Multimedia 2020.

Application Realization

ConfFlow was rolled out at ACM Multimedia 2020 for conference attendees. Shortly after the building of this application was approved, the Corona Virus pandemic hit and ACM Multimedia became a virtual conference. Since the embedding space of ConfFlow needs to be built apriori, we needed to have access to the conference attendee list. The workload for the conference organisers increased significantly as a result of the pandemic so we did not manage to get the logistical support to optimise the impact of the application. Since we could not get this, we defaulted to visualising the much larger accepted author list. Each identity in ConfFlow needs to be manually verified which also takes considerable effort.

However, there remained the issue that the application was opt-in. For those who tested the application, they were disappointed because many people were not visible. Many of the authors in any case did not attend the conference, which exacerbated the sparsity issue. Advertising ConfFlow and encouraging participants to activate their account was extremely hard due to the virtual format of the conference and because it was hard to reach the actual conference attendees. 

The demo paper for the application was presented at ACM Multimedia 2020 and received positively.

Discussion and Recommendations

The instantiation of the app was well-received by community members and the SIGMM board. There were some teething problems that we aim to resolve in a follow up to the 2021 edition where we will revise the opt-in policy to something that can allow for a better user experience whilst being careful with individual privacy. We also want to make the possibility for users to connect with people they see in the embedding space directly in the app so that the use of ConfFlow as a social connector tool becomes more explicit. We also plan to focus on different ways to advertise and communicate the application for a wider userbase. Finally, due to the considerable effort required to verify the identities of all individuals in the visualisations, we would like to build a more efficient procedure to make visualisations in future years less manually intensive. To this end, the SIGMM board has funded a second edition of ConfFlow in order for these improvements to be made so we can realise the full potential of the idea while also minimising too much additional logistical support from conference general chairs. We look forward to seeing its impact on future research collaborations.


ConfFlow was supported in part by the SIGMM New Initiatives Fund and the Dutch NWO funded MINGLE project number 639.022.606. We thank users who gave feedback on the application during prototyping and implementation and the General Chairs of ACM Multimedia 2020 for their support.


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