Prof. Youfu Li

Department of Mechanical Engineering,

City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Speech title: Visual sensing and tracking for robotic applications

Abstract: Visual sensing and tracking are needed in many engineering applications including robotics. In this talk, I will present our research in visual sensing for automated 3D sensing in general and for motion tracking for robotics in particular. Different approaches in our investigation in 3D vision will be reported. These include an active vision approach to 3D visual sensing. For robotic applications, visual sensing in 3D is often needed, but the calibration remains tedious and inflexible with traditional approach. To this end, we have investigated the relevant issues for different visual sensing systems. A flexible calibration method desires the vision system parameters to be recalibrated automatically or with less operator interference whenever the configuration of the system is changed, but practically this is often hard to achieve. Various attempts were made in our previous works to enhance the flexibility in the visual sensing calibration. I will present some them including the work on omni-directional visual sensing and tracking. Another case to present is that of gaze tracking where the issues in the modeling and calibration are addressed with our new calibration method developed.  

Bio: You-Fu Li received the PhD degree in robotics from the Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford in 1993. From 1993 to 1995 he was a research staff in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, UK. He joined City University of Hong Kong in 1995 and is currently professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. His research interests include robot sensing, robot vision, and visual tracking. In these areas, he has published over 400 papers including over 180 SCI listed journal papers. Dr Li has received many awards in robot sensing and vision including IEEE Sensors Journal Best Paper Award by IEEE Sensors Council, Second Prize of Natural Science Research Award by the Ministry of Education, 1st Prize of Natural Science Research Award of Hubei Province, 1st Prize of Natural Science Research Award of Zhejiang Province, China.  He was on Top 2% of the world’s most highly cited scientists by Stanford University, 2020 and Career Long. He has served as an Associate Editor for IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering (T-ASE), Associate Editor and Guest Editor for IEEE  Robotics and Automation Magazine (RAM).

Prof. Borko Furht

Florida Atlantic University

Speech Title: Next Generation of Video Coding Technology: Standards, Patent war, Politics, and Financial Battle

Abstract: This keynote talk is about next generation of video coding standards including Versatile Video Coding (VVC) and Video Coding for Machines (VCM). The presenter’s team has been working on these two standards and produced more than 60 patents in the field, which were assigned to the Boston’s company OP Solutions. The talk will include technical innovations, which make, for example, the VVC standard about 50% more efficient in terms of compression ratio than the present HEVC standard for the same quality of video. There are a range of evolutionary technologies in VVC, including intra prediction, inter prediction, transformation, in loop filtering, palette coding, block partitioning, affine motion, and decoder side search, which will be presented in the talk. Besides technical innovations, we will also talk about the process of VVC and VCM standard development, and technical and political war besides the scene. Video coding standards and related patents provide a great generator of revenue. Only Netflix pays about $400 million royalty for using video coding standard for distributing its movies. In order to avoid paying such royalties Google developed VP9 open royalty-free video coding system mainly used on Google’s video platform YuTube. Several powerful companies, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Cisco, and Netflix have developed open-source video compression technology AV1, which competes with VVC standard. In this talk we will discuss technical and political issues, video coding standards vs open systems.

We will also present the new video coding standard in making, Video Coding for Machines. VCM attempts to bridge the gap between feature coding for machine vision and video coding for human vision. In the talk we will discuss the basic VCM encoder and decoder architecture, and our patent applications how to implement VCM and apply in many applications such as surveillance and transportation systems.

In the last part of the talk, we will discuss how the blockchain technology can be applied in video streaming. There is a trend that blockchain technology will change entertainment and streaming industry and will soon completely overthrow the current video streaming. The blockchain technology will allow that the video is decentralized among many nodes, so it can be watched everywhere. We will describe how the decentralized video streaming works and the benefits of the decentralized video streaming.

Bio: Borko Furht is a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in Boca Raton, Florida. He is also Director of the NSF-sponsored Industry/University Cooperative Research Center on Advanced Knowledge Enablement at FAU. Before joining FAU, he was a vice president of research and a senior director of development at Modcomp (Ft. Lauderdale), a computer company of Daimler Benz, Germany, a professor at University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, and a senior researcher in the Institute Boris Kidric-Vinca, Yugoslavia. Professor Furht received Ph.D. degree in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Belgrade. His current research is in multimedia systems, video coding and compression, 3D video and image systems, wireless multimedia, medical applications, and cloud computing. He is presently Principal Investigator and Co-PI of several multiyear, multimillion dollar projects. He is the author of numerous books and articles in the areas of multimedia, computer architecture, real-time computing, and operating systems. He is a founder and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Multimedia Tools and Applications (Springer) and he recently co-founded Journal of Big Data (Springer). He has received several technical and publishing awards, and has consulted for many high-tech companies including IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Xerox, General Electric, JPL, NASA, Honeywell, and RCA. He has more than 60 patents and patent applications in the area of video coding. He has given many invited talks, keynote lectures, seminars, and tutorials. He served as Chairman and Director on the Board of Directors of several high-tech companies and as an expert witness for Cisco, Qualcomm, Adobe, and Bell Canada.