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Inaugural Lecture

More Than a Thousand Words

Prof. Stefan Rueger
This event took place on 4th June 2008 at 4:00pm (15:00 GMT)
Berrill Lecture Theatre, The Open University, Walton Hall Campus, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
This lecture will examine the challenges and opportunities of Multimedia Information Retrieval and corresponding search engine applications.

Computer technology has changed our access to information tremendously:
We used to search authors or titles (which we had to know) in library cards in order to locate relevant books; now we can issue keyword searches within the full text of whole book repositories to identify the authors, titles and locations of relevant books. What about the corresponding challenge of finding multimedia by fragments, examples and excerpts?
Rather than asking for a music piece by artist and title, can we hum its tune to find it? Can doctors submit scans of a patient to identify medically similar images of diagnosed cases in a database? Can your mobile phone take a picture of a statue and tell you about its artist and significance via a service that it sends this picture to?

Some of the challenges of these questions are given by the semantic gap between what computers can index and high-level human concepts; related to this is an inherent technological limitation of automated annotation of images from pixels alone. Other challenges are given by polysemy, ie, the many meanings and interpretations that are inherent in visual material and the corresponding wide range of a user's information need. Stefan will argue that these challenges can be tackled by automated processing and machine learning and by utilising the skills of the user, for example through browsing or through a process that is called relevance feedback, thus putting the user at centre stage. Other automated processing methods that discover and disambiguate locations in wikipedia (an online, linked, multilingual and open content encyclopedia) will be shown to give surprising insights into the human nature of its view of the world.

The webcast was open to 200 users

Click below to play the event (58 minutes)

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