Making sense of meaning – new computational perspectives

Monday, April 14, 2008 - 4:13pm

Hari Sundaram
DATE: MONDAY, April 21, 2008
TIME: 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.
PLACE: Computer Science Conference Room, Harold Frank Hall Rm. 1132

The problem of the “semantic gap,” – how to resolve sensory data to meaning, is a familiar and significant challenge within the media computing and AI communities. Today, a majority of the work in resolving the semantic gap lies in the learning paradigm, where our knowledge of the domain is encoded in terms of identification of effective features and appropriate learning algorithms. This talk will offer two long term research orientations to address the semantic gap that complement the learning paradigm.

The first orientation lies in integrating multimedia as part of the physical world. The important consequence of this idea is that we move away from offline analysis of media, to understanding the user behavior within a real-time, mediated, feedback control loop. I shall present our work in stroke rehabilitation as a specific example of this class of research. The goal of this research is to enable stroke patients to perform simple functional tasks (“reach and grasp a cup”) that they find extremely challenging. The second orientation is recognizing that meaning is an emergent, evolving artifact of collaborative human activity. In this idea, identification of human networks that produce meaning is a critical first step. I will present community discovery in large scale blog networks as a concrete example of this research.

Both long term research frameworks provide us with a fresh set of computational problems that are synergistic with the learning paradigm. I shall briefly present other examples – optimal resource constrained, real-time decision making, information flow in online networks, and collaborative annotation in data sparse media collections.

Hari Sundaram is currently an assistant professor of media arts and computing, with the Arts Media and Engineering program, and Computer Science at Arizona State University. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of Electrical Engineering at Columbia University in 2002. He received his MS degree in Electrical Engineering from SUNY Stony Brook 1995 and a B.Tech in Electrical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi in 1993. He is an active participant in the Multimedia community — he is an associate editor for ACM Transactions on Multimedia Computing, Communications and Applications (TOMCCAP), as well as the IEEE Signal Processing magazine. He has co-organized workshops at acm multimedia on experiential telepresence (ETP 2003, ETP 2004), archival of personal experiences (CARPE 2004, CARPE 2005) and a conference of image and video retrieval (CIVR 2006).
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