News & Events

138 News items and Awards found.



Learn about the MERL Seminar Series.



  •  NEWS    MERL presenting 8 papers at ICASSP 2022
    Date: May 22, 2022 - May 27, 2022
    Where: Singapore
    MERL Contacts: Anoop Cherian; Chiori Hori; Toshiaki Koike-Akino; Jonathan Le Roux; Tim K. Marks; Philip V. Orlik; Kuan-Chuan Peng; Pu (Perry) Wang; Gordon Wichern
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Computer Vision, Signal Processing, Speech & Audio
    Brief
    • MERL researchers are presenting 8 papers at the IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech & Signal Processing (ICASSP), which is being held in Singapore from May 22-27, 2022. A week of virtual presentations also took place earlier this month.

      Topics to be presented include recent advances in speech recognition, audio processing, scene understanding, computational sensing, and classification.

      ICASSP is the flagship conference of the IEEE Signal Processing Society, and the world's largest and most comprehensive technical conference focused on the research advances and latest technological development in signal and information processing. The event attracts more than 2000 participants each year.
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  •  NEWS    MERL Scientists Presenting 5 Papers at IEEE International Conference on Communications (ICC) 2022
    Date: May 16, 2022 - May 20, 2022
    Where: Seoul, Korea
    MERL Contacts: Jianlin Guo; Kyeong Jin (K.J.) Kim; Toshiaki Koike-Akino; Philip V. Orlik; Kieran Parsons; Pu (Perry) Wang; Ye Wang
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Communications, Computational Sensing, Computer Vision, Machine Learning, Signal Processing
    Brief
    • MERL Connectivity & Information Processing Team scientists remotely presented 5 papers at the IEEE International Conference on Communications (ICC) 2022, held in Seoul Korea on May 16-20, 2022. Topics presented include recent advancements in communications technologies, deep learning methods, and quantum machine learning (QML). Presentation videos are also found on our YouTube channel. In addition, K. J. Kim organized "Industrial Private 5G-and-beyond Wireless Networks Workshop" at the conference.

      IEEE ICC is one of two IEEE Communications Society’s flagship conferences (ICC and Globecom). Each year, close to 2,000 attendees from over 70 countries attend IEEE ICC to take advantage of a program which consists of exciting keynote session, robust technical paper sessions, innovative tutorials and workshops, and engaging industry sessions. This 5-day event is known for bringing together audiences from both industry and academia to learn about the latest research and innovations in communications and networking technology, share ideas and best practices, and collaborate on future projects.
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  •  NEWS    Arvind Raghunathan's publication is Featured Article in the current issue of the INFORMS Journal on Computing
    Date: April 1, 2022
    Where: INFORMS Journal on Computing (https://pubsonline.informs.org/journal/ijoc)
    MERL Contact: Arvind Raghunathan
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Optimization
    Brief
    • Arvind Raghunathan co-authored a publication titled "JANOS: An Integrated Predictive and Prescriptive Modeling Framework" which has been chosen as a Featured Article in the current issue of the INFORMS Journal on Computing. The article was co-authored with Prof. David Bergman, a collaborator of MERL and Teng Huang, a former MERL intern, among others.

      The paper describes a new software tool, JANOS, that integrates predictive modeling and discrete optimization to assist decision making. Specifically, the proposed solver takes as input user-specified pretrained predictive models and formulates optimization models directly over those predictive models by embedding them within an optimization model through linear transformations.
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  •  NEWS    Toshiaki Koike-Akino gave an invited lecture to USPTO on advanced photonics
    Date: May 4, 2022
    MERL Contact: Toshiaki Koike-Akino
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Communications, Electronic and Photonic Devices, Machine Learning, Optimization, Signal Processing
    Brief
    • Toshiaki Koike-Akino gave an invited lecture on advanced photonic devices at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Technology Fair on May 4, 2022. Topics of the lecture included the recent progress of applied artificial intelligence (AI) technologies for optical systems, nano-photonic devices, and quantum technology. During the 2-hour interactive online presentation, he lectured to more than 200 patent examiner participants.

      USPTO Tech Fair Organizer mentioned:
      "Thank you very much for representing Advanced Photonic Devices at this year’s Technology Center 2800 Virtual Tech Fair held May 4th, 2022. Tech Fair is an important part of the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Examiner Technical Training Program (PETTP). Having a scientifically well-trained examiner workforce and ensuring the quality, consistency, and reliability of issued patents are top priorities at the USPTO. The PETTP is designed to achieve those priorities by giving examiners direct access to technical experts who are willing to share their knowledge about prior art and industry standards for both emerging and established technologies. Experts like yourself help to maintain our high quality of patent examination by keeping examiners updated on technologies and innovations pertinent to their field of examination.
      We very much appreciate your efforts, time, and contributions."
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  •  NEWS    Devesh Jha delivers invited talk at Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, NYU
    Date: March 1, 2022
    Where: Online/Zoom
    MERL Contact: Devesh K. Jha
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Robotics
    Brief
    • Devesh Jha, a Principal Research Scientist in MERL's Data Analytics group, gave an invited talk at the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, NYU. The title of the talk was "Robotic Manipulation in the Wild: Planning, Learning and Control through Contacts". The talk presented some of the recent work done at MERL for robotic manipulation in unstructured environments in the presence of significant uncertainty.
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  •  NEWS    MERL work on scene-aware interaction featured in IEEE Spectrum
    Date: March 1, 2022
    MERL Contacts: Anoop Cherian; Chiori Hori; Jonathan Le Roux; Tim K. Marks; Alan Sullivan; Anthony Vetro
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Computer Vision, Machine Learning, Speech & Audio
    Brief
    • MERL's research on scene-aware interaction was recently featured in an IEEE Spectrum article. The article, titled "At Last, A Self-Driving Car That Can Explain Itself" and authored by MERL Senior Principal Research Scientist Chiori Hori and MERL Director Anthony Vetro, gives an overview of MERL's efforts towards developing a system that can analyze multimodal sensing information for highly natural and intuitive interaction with humans through context-dependent generation of natural language. The technology recognizes contextual objects and events based on multimodal sensing information, such as images and video captured with cameras, audio information recorded with microphones, and localization information measured with LiDAR.

      Scene-Aware Interaction for car navigation, one target application that the article focuses on, will provide drivers with intuitive route guidance. Scene-Aware Interaction technology is expected to have wide applicability, including human-machine interfaces for in-vehicle infotainment, interaction with service robots in building and factory automation systems, systems that monitor the health and well-being of people, surveillance systems that interpret complex scenes for humans and encourage social distancing, support for touchless operation of equipment in public areas, and much more. MERL's Scene-Aware Interaction Technology had previously been featured in a Mitsubishi Electric Corporation Press Release.

      IEEE Spectrum is the flagship magazine and website of the IEEE, the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and the applied sciences. IEEE Spectrum has a circulation of over 400,000 engineers worldwide, making it one of the leading science and engineering magazines.
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  •  NEWS    Jonathan Le Roux discusses MERL's audio source separation work on popular machine learning podcast
    Date: January 24, 2022
    Where: The TWIML AI Podcast
    MERL Contact: Jonathan Le Roux
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Speech & Audio
    Brief
    • MERL Speech & Audio Senior Team Leader Jonathan Le Roux was featured in an extended interview on the popular TWIML AI Podcast, presenting MERL's work towards solving the "cocktail party problem". Humans have the extraordinary ability to focus on particular sounds of interest within a complex acoustic scene, such as a cocktail party. MERL's Speech & Audio Team has been at the forefront of the field's effort to develop algorithms giving machines similar abilities. Jonathan talked with host Sam Charrington about the group's decade-long journey on this topic, from early pioneering work using deep learning for speech enhancement and speech separation, to recent works on weakly-supervised separation, hierarchical sound separation, as well as the separation of real-world soundtracks into speech, music, and sound effects (aka the "cocktail fork problem").

      The TWIML AI podcast, formerly known as This Week in Machine Learning & AI, was created in 2016 and is followed by more than 10,000 subscribers on Youtube and Twitter. Jonathan's interview marks the 555th episode of the podcast.
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  •  AWARD    MERL Ranked 1st Place in Cross-Subject Transfer Learning Task and 4th Place Overall at the NeurIPS2021 BEETL Competition for EEG Transfer Learning.
    Date: November 11, 2021
    Awarded to: Niklas Smedemark-Margulies, Toshiaki Koike-Akino, Ye Wang, Deniz Erdogmus
    MERL Contacts: Toshiaki Koike-Akino; Ye Wang
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Signal Processing, Human-Computer Interaction
    Brief
    • The MERL Signal Processing group achieved first place in the cross-subject transfer learning task and fourth place overall in the NeurIPS 2021 BEETL AI Challenge for EEG Transfer Learning. The team included Niklas Smedemark-Margulies (intern from Northeastern University), Toshiaki Koike-Akino, Ye Wang, and Prof. Deniz Erdogmus (Northeastern University). The challenge addresses two types of transfer learning tasks for EEG Biosignals: a homogeneous transfer learning task for cross-subject domain adaptation; and a heterogeneous transfer learning task for cross-data domain adaptation. There were 110+ registered teams in this competition, MERL ranked 1st in the homogeneous transfer learning task, 7th place in the heterogeneous transfer learning task, and 4th place for the combined overall score. For the homogeneous transfer learning task, MERL developed a new pre-shot learning framework based on feature disentanglement techniques for robustness against inter-subject variation to enable calibration-free brain-computer interfaces (BCI). MERL is invited to present our pre-shot learning technique at the NeurIPS 2021 workshop.
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  •  NEWS    Ankush Chakrabarty gave an invited talk at CRAN: Centre de Recherche en Automatique de Nancy, France
    Date: October 21, 2021
    Where: Université de Lorraine, France
    MERL Contact: Ankush Chakrabarty
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Control, Machine Learning, Multi-Physical Modeling, Optimization
    Brief
    • Ankush Chakrabarty (RS, Multiphysical Systems Team) gave an invited talk on `Bayesian-Optimized Estimation and Control for Buildings and HVAC' at the Research Center for Automatic Control (CRAN) in the University of Lorraine in France. The talk presented recent MERL research on probabilistic machine learning for set-point optimization and calibration of digital twins for building energy systems.
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  •  AWARD    Daniel Nikovski receives Outstanding Reviewer Award at NeurIPS'21
    Date: October 18, 2021
    Awarded to: Daniel Nikovski
    MERL Contact: Daniel N. Nikovski
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning
    Brief
    • Daniel Nikovski, Group Manager of MERL's Data Analytics group, has received an Outstanding Reviewer Award from the 2021 conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS'21). NeurIPS is the world's premier conference on neural networks and related technologies.
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  •  NEWS    Diego Romeres appointed as Associate Editor at ICRA 2022.
    Date: September 17, 2021 - October 31, 2021
    MERL Contact: Diego Romeres
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Control, Data Analytics, Dynamical Systems, Optimization, Robotics
    Brief
    • Diego Romeres, a Principal Research Scientist in MERL's Data Analytics group, is serving as an Associate Editor (AE) for the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) 2022.
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  •  NEWS    Anoop Cherian gave an invited talk at the Department of Computer Science at the University of Bristol, UK
    Date: September 7, 2021
    MERL Contact: Anoop Cherian
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Computer Vision, Machine Learning
    Brief
    • Anoop Cherian, a Principal Research Scientist in MERL's Computer Vision group, gave an invited virtual talk on "InSeGAN: An Unsupervised Approach to Identical Instance Segmentation" at the Visual Information Laboratory of University of Bristol, UK. The talk described a new approach to segmenting varied appearances of nearly identical 3D objects in depth images. More details of the talk can be found in the following paper https://arxiv.org/abs/2108.13865, which will be presented at the International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV'21).
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  •  NEWS    Anthony Vetro delivers keynote on robotic manipulation at inaugural IEEE Conference on Autonomous Systems
    Date: August 12, 2021
    MERL Contact: Anthony Vetro
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Computer Vision, Control, Dynamical Systems, Machine Learning, Optimization, Robotics
    Brief
    • Anthony Vetro gave a keynote at the inaugural IEEE Conference on Autonomous Systems (ICAS), which was held virtually from August 11-13, 2021. The talk focused on challenges and recent progress in the area of robotic manipulation. The conference is sponsored by IEEE Signal Processing Society (SPS) through the SPS Autonomous Systems Initiative.

      Abstract: Human-level manipulation continues to be beyond the capabilities of today’s robotic systems. Not only do current industrial robots require significant time to program a specific task, but they lack the flexibility to generalize to other tasks and be robust to changes in the environment. While collaborative robots help to reduce programming effort and improve the user interface, they still fall short on generalization and robustness. This talk will highlight recent advances in a number of key areas to improve the manipulation capabilities of autonomous robots, including methods to accurately model the dynamics of the robot and contact forces, sensors and signal processing algorithms to provide improved perception, optimization-based decision-making and control techniques, as well as new methods of interactivity to accelerate and enhance robot learning.
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  •  NEWS    MERL researchers Diego Romeres, Devesh Jha and Siddarth Jain co-organized a workshop on Robotic Manipulation at the RSS 2021 conference
    Date: July 13, 2021
    Where: Robotics: Science and Systems
    MERL Contacts: Siddarth Jain; Devesh K. Jha; Diego Romeres
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Robotics
    Brief
    • MERL researchers Diego Romeres, Devesh Jha, and Siddarth Jain together with research groups at MIT, NVIDIA, NIST, TUM, Google DeepMind, ETH Zurich, Google AI, and UMASS Lowell organized a workshop at the Robotics: Science and Systems 2021 conference. The workshop was on "Advancing Artificial Intelligence and Manipulation for Robotics: Understanding Gaps, Industry and Academic Perspectives, and Community Building". The workshop had a list of excellent speakers both from academia and industry. Recording of the talks and of the panel discussion can be found in the link below.
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  •  NEWS    Arvind Raghunathan joins editorial board of Journal of Optimization Theory and Applications
    Date: June 21, 2021
    MERL Contact: Arvind Raghunathan
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Optimization
    Brief
    • Arvind Raghunathan has accepted an invitation to serve on the editorial board of Journal of Optimization Theory and Applications (JOTA).

      JOTA is devoted to the publication of carefully selected high quality regular papers, invited papers, survey papers, technical notes, book notices, and forums that cover mathematical optimization techniques, computational methodologies of optimization algorithms and their applications to science, engineering, and business. Typical theoretical areas include linear, nonlinear, discrete, stochastic, and dynamic optimization. Among the areas of application covered are mathematical economics, mathematical physics and biology, all areas of engineering, and novel areas, such as artificial intelligence and quantum computing optimization.
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  •  NEWS    Invited talk at University of Leeds
    Date: April 7, 2021
    Where: Online
    MERL Contact: Devesh K. Jha
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Robotics
    Brief
    • Devesh Jha, a Principal Research Scientist in MERL's Data Analytics group, gave an invited talk at the robotics seminar series at the University of Leeds. The talk presented some of the recent work done at MERL in the areas of robotic manipulation and robot learning.
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  •  NEWS    Diego Romeres appointed as an Associate Editor for IROS 2021
    Date: March 14, 2021 - April 20, 2021
    Where: IROS
    MERL Contact: Diego Romeres
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Robotics
    Brief
    • Diego Romeres, a Principal Research Scientist in MERL's Data Analytics group, is serving as an Associate Editor (AE) for the 2021 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2021).
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  •  NEWS    Diego Romeres gave an invited talk at the Autonomy Talks at ETH, Zurich.
    Date: February 15, 2021
    Where: Virtual
    MERL Contact: Diego Romeres
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Robotics
    Brief
    • Diego Romeres, a Principal Research Scientist in MERL's Data Analytics group, gave the invited talk "Reinforcement Learning for Robotics" at the Autonomy Talks organized at ETH, Zurich. In the presentation, some directions to apply Model-based Reinforcement Learning algorithms to real-world applications are presented together with a novel MBRL algorithm called MC-PILCO. The link to the presentation is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYgbgMa4j-s.
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  •  NEWS    Chiori Hori will give keynote on scene understanding via multimodal sensing at AI Electronics Symposium
    Date: February 15, 2021
    Where: The 2nd International Symposium on AI Electronics
    MERL Contact: Chiori Hori
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Computer Vision, Machine Learning, Speech & Audio
    Brief
    • Chiori Hori, a Senior Principal Researcher in MERL's Speech and Audio Team, will be a keynote speaker at the 2nd International Symposium on AI Electronics, alongside Alex Acero, Senior Director of Apple Siri, Roberto Cipolla, Professor of Information Engineering at the University of Cambridge, and Hiroshi Amano, Professor at Nagoya University and winner of the Nobel prize in Physics for his work on blue light-emitting diodes. The symposium, organized by Tohoku University, will be held online on February 15, 2021, 10am-4pm (JST).

      Chiori's talk, titled "Human Perspective Scene Understanding via Multimodal Sensing", will present MERL's work towards the development of scene-aware interaction. One important piece of technology that is still missing for human-machine interaction is natural and context-aware interaction, where machines understand their surrounding scene from the human perspective, and they can share their understanding with humans using natural language. To bridge this communications gap, MERL has been working at the intersection of research fields such as spoken dialog, audio-visual understanding, sensor signal understanding, and robotics technologies in order to build a new AI paradigm, called scene-aware interaction, that enables machines to translate their perception and understanding of a scene and respond to it using natural language to interact more effectively with humans. In this talk, the technologies will be surveyed, and an application for future car navigation will be introduced.
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  •  NEWS    New robotics benchmark system
    Date: November 16, 2020
    MERL Contacts: Devesh K. Jha; Daniel N. Nikovski; Diego Romeres; Alan Sullivan
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Robotics
    Brief
    • MERL researchers, in collaboration with researchers from MELCO and the Department of Brain and Cognitive Science at MIT, have released simulation software Circular Maze Environment (CME). This system could be used as a new benchmark for evaluating different control and robot learning algorithms. The control objective in this system is to tip and the tilt the maze so as to drive one (or multiple) marble(s) to the innermost ring of the circular maze. Although the system is very intuitive for humans to control, it is very challenging for artificial intelligence agents to learn efficiently. It poses several challenges for both model-based as well as model-free methods, due to its non-smooth dynamics, long planning horizon, and non-linear dynamics. The released Python package provides the simulation environment for the circular maze, where movement of multiple marbles could be simulated simultaneously. The package also provides a trajectory optimization algorithm to design a model-based controller in simulation.
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  •  NEWS    Devesh Jha appointed as an Associate Editor for IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters (RA-L).
    Date: October 29, 2020
    MERL Contact: Devesh K. Jha
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Optimization, Robotics
    Brief
    • MERL Researcher Devesh Jha has been appointed to the editorial board of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters (RA-L) as an Associate Editor. IEEE RA-L publishes peer-reviewed articles in the areas of robotics and automation which can also be presented at the annual flagship conferences of RAS like ICRA, IROS and CASE.
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  •  NEWS    Computer vision and robotics researcher Siddarth Jain appointed as an Associate Editor for the IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters (RA-L)
    Date: October 13, 2020
    MERL Contact: Siddarth Jain
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Computer Vision, Machine Learning, Robotics
    Brief
    • Computer vision and robotics researcher, Siddarth Jain, has been appointed to the editorial board of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters (RA-L) as an Associate Editor. Siddarth joined MERL in September 2019 after obtaining his Ph.D. in robotics from Northwestern University, where he developed novel robotics systems to help people with motor-impairments in performing activities of daily living tasks.

      RA-L publishes peer-reviewed articles in areas of robotics and automation. RA-L also provides a unique feature to the authors with the opportunity to publish a paper in a peer-reviewed journal and present the same paper at the annual flagship robotics conferences of IEEE RAS, including ICRA, IROS, and CASE.
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  •  AWARD    Best Poster Award and Best Video Award at the International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference (ISMIR) 2020
    Date: October 15, 2020
    Awarded to: Ethan Manilow, Gordon Wichern, Jonathan Le Roux
    MERL Contacts: Jonathan Le Roux; Gordon Wichern
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Speech & Audio
    Brief
    • Former MERL intern Ethan Manilow and MERL researchers Gordon Wichern and Jonathan Le Roux won Best Poster Award and Best Video Award at the 2020 International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference (ISMIR 2020) for the paper "Hierarchical Musical Source Separation". The conference was held October 11-14 in a virtual format. The Best Poster Awards and Best Video Awards were awarded by popular vote among the conference attendees.

      The paper proposes a new method for isolating individual sounds in an audio mixture that accounts for the hierarchical relationship between sound sources. Many sounds we are interested in analyzing are hierarchical in nature, e.g., during a music performance, a hi-hat note is one of many such hi-hat notes, which is one of several parts of a drumkit, itself one of many instruments in a band, which might be playing in a bar with other sounds occurring. Inspired by this, the paper re-frames the audio source separation problem as hierarchical, combining similar sounds together at certain levels while separating them at other levels, and shows on a musical instrument separation task that a hierarchical approach outperforms non-hierarchical models while also requiring less training data. The paper, poster, and video can be seen on the paper page on the ISMIR website.
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  •  NEWS    Diego Romeres serves on the Programme Committee for the Conference on Innovative Applications of Artificial Intelligence, 2021.
    Date: February 4, 2021
    Where: N/A
    MERL Contact: Diego Romeres
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Machine Learning
    Brief
    • Dr. Diego Romeres, Principal Research Scientist in the Data Analytics group, will serve on the Programme Committee for the Thirty-Third Annual Conference on Innovative Applications of Artificial Intelligence (IAAI), 2021.
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  •  NEWS    Anoop Cherian gave an invited talk at the Multi-modal Video Analysis Workshop, ECCV 2020
    Date: August 23, 2020
    Where: European Conference on Computer Vision (ECCV), online, 2020
    MERL Contact: Anoop Cherian
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Computer Vision, Machine Learning, Speech & Audio
    Brief
    • MERL Principal Research Scientist Anoop Cherian gave an invited talk titled "Sound2Sight: Audio-Conditioned Visual Imagination" at the Multi-modal Video Analysis workshop held in conjunction with the European Conference on Computer Vision (ECCV), 2020. The talk was based on a recent ECCV paper that describes a new multimodal reasoning task called Sound2Sight and a generative adversarial machine learning algorithm for producing plausible video sequences conditioned on sound and visual context.
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