ICSI Launches Two New Groups for Audio/Multimedia and Research Initiatives in Computer Science

Audio and Multimedia Director Gerald Friedland
Gerald Friedland
Research Initiatives Director Scott Shenker
Scott Shenker

February 14, 2013

ICSI, a leading center for research in computer science affiliated with UC Berkeley, today announced that it is launching two research groups, one for audio and multimedia and one for research initiatives. The Audio and Multimedia Research Group is led by Dr. Gerald Friedland, while the Research Initiatives Group is led by Professor Scott Shenker, also ICSI’s chief scientist.

The Audio and Multimedia Group will develop computational algorithms, systems, and methods to analyze and catalogue content such as news videos and social network posts. Evolved from the Speech Group, the Audio and Multimedia Group puts a special focus on audio analysis. Audio content is frequently complementary to visual content, as in videos, but has received less attention from the multimedia research community. Other work includes related questions in crowdsourcing and the privacy implications of multimedia retrieval, such as “cybercasing,” or using geo-tagged information available online to mount real-world attacks.

The Research Initiatives Group will expand ICSI's traditional research agenda and serve as an incubator for new areas of discovery. This includes areas that don't fall into traditional computer science research categories and provides opportunities for cutting edge and experimental work. Some of the current projects like research on brain networks, computational biology, and DNA analysis have multiple applications to the analysis and prediction of several disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and traumatic brain injuries. Other questions include the privacy concerns related to advanced genetic sequencing.

“I look forward to expanding ICSI’s research on multimedia problems,” Friedland said. “We have a great team that is eager and able to tackle the massive scientific challenges arising from the unlimited amount of consumer-produced media content.”

“I am excited about this opportunity to nurture a set of new research initiatives at ICSI that could have widespread application in the real world,” Shenker said.

“ICSI has been at the forefront of research in multimedia analysis and retrieval for years, with Gerald leading the charge. This is an exciting new area with enormous implications for industry and academia,” said Roberto Pieraccini, ICSI’s CEO. “It is also important that we continue pushing the envelope in computer science research by investing in new and promising research areas, and Scott is the ideal candidate to take on the task of expanding ICSI's horizons.”