SIGMM FY'04 Annual Report

July 2003 - June 2004
Submitted by: Lawrence A Rowe (Acting SIGMM Chair)
for Ramesh Jain, SIGMM Chair

SIG Multimedia was a conference-only SIG, so activities focus on the annual conference.

Conference/Workshop Program Highlights

ACM Multimedia 2003 (MM03) was held in Berkeley California from November 2-8, 2003. The General Co-Chairs were Prof.s Lawrence A. Rowe (U.C. Berkeley) and Harrick Vin (U. of Texas at Austin). Total participation in all conference related events was 310 with 255 attending the main technical program. Net income was $24.8K, which was distributed to the supporting SIGs according to their participation:

SIGCOMM (10%) $2.5K
SIGGRAPH (15%) $3.7K
SIGMM (75%) $18.6K

Technical program attendance was slightly higher than estimated, which was 250. 
The conference included five half-day and three full-day tutorial sessions, two and one-half days of regular conference sessions, two demonstration sessions (27 demos), one poster session (39 posters), a video program (6 videos), four workshops, and a doctoral dissertation program (6 dissertation proposal presentations). The regular conference was composed of thirteen refereed paper sessions (43 papers), and two keynote addresses. The keynote presentations were:

"Building 'Bows for Violinists': Designing Real Digital Tools for Working Artists" 
Dr. Michael B. Johnson (Pixar Animation Studios)

"Inventing New Media: What we can learn from new media art and media history"
Prof. Lev Manovich (U.C. San Diego)

The conference program committee was divided into three subcommittees. This year the subcommittee chairs were: 1) Prof. Thomas Plagemann (U. of Oslo) who oversaw the applications subcommittee, 2) Prof. Prashant Shenoy (U. of Massachusetts, Amherst) who oversaw the systems subcommittee, and 3) Dr. John R. Smith (IBM T.J. Watson Research Center) who oversaw the media and content subcommittee. The accept ratio was 16.2% overall (43 accepted from 265 submissions which is a 16.2% acceptance ratio). The number of submissions was comparable to past years.

We included the presentation at the conference as well as a technical paper evaluation in the Best Student Paper competition. Three nominees for best paper were selected. Each student gave his or her presentation during a special highlighted session of the conference. An awards committee made up of senior researchers in the field met afterwards to select the winner. The winning entry was:

"Proscenium: A Framework for Spatio-Temporal Video Editing"
Student: Eric P. Bennett (University of North Carolina)
Faculty Advisor: Prof. Leonard McMillan (University of North Carolina)
Honorable mentions were given to the other two competitors:

"Real-time Compression for Dynamic 3D Environments"
Student: Sang-Uok Kum (U. of North Carolina)
Faculty Advisors: Profs. Ketan Mayer-Patel and Henry Fuchs (U. of North Carolina)

"Confidence-based Dynamic Ensemble for Image Annotation and Semantic Discovery"
Student: Beitao Li (UC Santa Barbara)
Faculty Advisor: Prof. Edward Chang (UC Santa Barbara)

As in previous years, feedback was extremely positive for the student awards program.

This year IBM contributed travel funds that were awarded to each of the student competition participants.

Four workshops were organized to coincide with the conference. Total attendance at the workshops was 154 participants. These workshops and the attendance were:

"Workshop on Mediated Experiential Systems" 
Organizers: Prof. Hari Sundaram (Arizona State U.)
Dr. Gopal Pingali (IBM T.J. Watson Research Center)
Dr. Frank Nack (CWI)
Attendees: 34

"Workshop on Multimedia Information Retrieval"
Organizers: Prof. Nicu Sebe (U. of Amsterdam)
Prof. Michael S. Lew (Leiden Inst. of Advanced Comp. Sci.)
Prof. Chabanne Djeraba (U. of Sciences & Technologies Lille)
Attendees: 49

"Workshop on Video Surveillance"
Organizers: Prof. Edward Y. Chang (U.C. Santa Barbara)
Prof. Yuan-Fang Wang (U.C. Santa Barbara)
Attendees: 37

"Workshop on Biometrics Methods and Applications"
Organizers: Prof. George Bebis (U. of Nevada, Reno)
Prof. Nikolaos Bourbakis (Wright State U.)
Attendees: 34

For the fourth year we held a doctorial symposium at which students working on their dissertation gave a presentation to members of the research community. Prof. Brian Bailey (U. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) organized the program this year. Six students presented their research. As in past years, both attendees and presenters were extremely positive about this program.

SIGMM also recognizes the significant contributions by others to the program, specifically, Prof. Ketan Mayer-Patel (U. of North Carolina) and Dr. Savitha Srinivasan (IBM Almaden Research Center) who organized the tutorial program, Dr. Lynn Wilcox (FX PAL) who organized the video program, Prof. Forouzan Golshani (Arizona State U.) who organized the workshops, Dr. Gopal Pinagli (IBM T.J. Watson Research Center) who organized the posters program, and Dr. Michelle X. Zhou (IBM T.J. Watson Research Center) and Prof. Vera Hermine Goebel (U. of Oslo) who organized the student support program. Dr. Milton Chen (Stanford U.), and Jennifer Dawson and Kathy Reyes (U.C. Berkeley) provided exceptional help with local arrangements, and Mr. Michael Vernick (Avaya) handled publicity. Finally, Prof. Susanne Boll (U. of Oldenberg) handled publications including the preparation of the workshop proceedings which will be added to the ACM Digital Library.

Feedback about the conference was generally positive with no special concerns for future conferences. The entire organizing committee is to be commended.

Planning for ACM Multimedia 2004 is nearing completion. The conference will be held in New York City October 10-15, 2004. The General Co-chairs are Prof. Henning Schulzrinne (Columbia U.) and Dr. Nevenka Dimitrova (Philips Research).

Planning for future ACM Multimedia conferences is also in progress. The General Co-chair for MM05 is Prof. Tat-seng Chua (U. of Singapore). The conference will be held in Singapore sometime in October or November 2005. Current plans are to hold MM06 in North America and MM07 in Europe.

Co-Sponsorships and In-Cooperations

During the past year we have co-sponsored three conferences:

  1. SPIE/IS&T Multimedia Computing and Networking (Jan/Feb 2004)

  2. NetGames 2003: Second Workshop on Network and System Support for Games (May 2003)

  3. NOSSDAV 2004: 14th International Workshop on Network and Operating Systems 
    Support for Digital Audio and Video (June 2004)

SIGMM was financially responsible for NOSSDAV and provided in-cooperation support for the other conferences. Multimedia continues to be a popular topic. The ACM Multimedia Conference continues to be viewed as high quality and popular with the research community.

SIGMM Leadership

SIGMM was started as a conference-only SIG with a Steering Committee. Financial support was provided by SIGGRAPH and SIGCOMM, amongst other SIG's. Over the past several years, SIGMM has matured into a group that supports itself. We now are financially responsible for 85% of the costs of our activities, and our plan is to accept 100% responsibility in 2005. This past year SIGCOMM agreed to forgo their 10% financial responsibility for the conference and discussions are on going with SIGGRAPH to reduce their financial responsibility. SIGMM will continue to offer our conferences and workshops in cooperation with other SIG's and professional societies.

The Steering Committee began with representatives of the research community and members from the SIGs that co-sponsored SIGMM. We have replaced that group with an Executive Committee composed of members of the research community. Prof. Ramesh Jain (Georgia Tech) took on the SIGMM chair position in July 2003. The members of the

Executive Committee for 2003-2004 were:

Nicolas Georganas (U of Ottawa)
Ramesh Jain (GaTech), Chair
Joseph Konstan (U of Minnesota)
Klara Nahrstedt (U of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)
Lawrence Rowe (UC Berkeley), Past Chair
Ralf Steinmetz (Darmstadt)
Hongjang Zhang (Microsoft Research, China)

This committee is consulted for any major issues relating to the operation of SIGMM. Early in 2004 Prof. Jain had to step down as chair to undergo a serious operation. The past chair, Prof. Lawrence Rowe, agreed to temporarily be the Acting SIGMM Chair for Prof. Jain until he can return in July 2004.

Key Issues for the SIGMM Community

The ACM Multimedia Special Interest Group was created ten years ago. Since that time, researchers have solved a number of important problems related to media processing, multimedia databases, and distributed multimedia applications. A strategic retreat was organized as part of MM03 to assess the current state of multimedia research and suggest directions for future research. The people invited to the retreat were nominated by anyone in the research community and selected by votes of the Executive Committee. A report was produced that presents the research recommendations developed during the retreat, which is available at the following URL

The major observation is that research in the past decade has significantly advanced hardware and software support for distributed multimedia applications and that future research should focus on identifying and delivering applications that impact users in the real-world. The retreat suggested the community focus on solving three grand challenges:

1) make authoring complex multimedia titles as easy as using a word processor or drawing program,

2) make interactions with remote people and environments nearly the same as interactions with local people and environments, and

3) make capturing, storing, finding, and using digital media an everyday occurrence in our computing environment.

The focus of multimedia researchers should be on applications that incorporate correlated media, fuse data from different sources, and use context to improve application performance.

The second day of the retreat addressed issues related to the organization and operation of SIGMM. The major conclusion was the need to create an ACM multimedia journal, which is discussed below. Other issues were discussed including the need for curriculum recommendations, improved recognition of applications research and software publication, and development of new workshops and conferences. MM04 will have an Open Source Software Competition to encourage production and recognition of Open Source Software developed by researchers in the community. Another important discussion recommended that future ACM Multimedia Program Committees emphasize publications that involve more than one media.

All retreat attendees were extremely pleased with the meeting, both in terms of the topics being discussed and the need to hold such meetings to assess the field. A report about the retreat was given during the SIGMM Business Meeting held at MM03. A lively discussion ensued. In the end, most discussions supported the recommendations. Several organizations and publications have publicized the retreat and the research recommendations. Hopefully, the report itself will be published in some journal or magazine with wider visibility so that other researchers and members of the ACM community will be informed about the activities in the SIGMM research community. Holding this retreat was extremely valuable. The community commended Profs. Rowe and Jain for organizing it and writing the research report.

After trying for many years to solve problems with the ACM/Springer Multimedia Systems Journal (MMSJ), the community decided at the SIGMM Retreat to prepare and submit a proposal for a new ACM sponsored multimedia journal. Prof. Nicolas Georganas (U. of Ottawa), who graciously agreed to be the founding Editor in Chief, prepared the proposal that was submitted in to the ACM Publications Board in November 2003. The Board unanimously approved the proposal to establish the ACM Transactions on Multimedia Computing, Communications, and Applications (TOMCAPP), which will commence publication in January 2005. TOMCAPP will be a quarterly journal initially.

The founding editorial board includes:

Prof. Gregor V. Bochmann (U. of Ottawa)
Prof. Dick Bulterman (CWI, Netherlands)
Prof. Shih-Fu Chang (Columbia U.)
Prof. Marc Davis (U.C. Berkeley)
Prof. Ramesh Jain (Georgia Tech.)
Prof. Thomas Plagemann (U. of Oslo)
Prof. (Emeritus) Lawrence A. Rowe (U.C. Berkeley)
Prof. Ralf Steinmetz (Darmstadt T. U.)
Prof. Hari Sundaram (Arizona State U.)
Dr. Lynn Wilcox (FX Palo Alto Laboratory)

The first issue will include papers from the first ACM Multimedia Conference in 1993 selected by the editorial board as being the papers with the most impact published in the conference. The papers will include new material added by the authors to reflect their experience since the conference.

Lastly, we did a major renovation of the SIGMM website ( that included the appointment of area editors to solicit and edit material on the website. The changes have improved both the "look and feel" and the quality of the content. We are working on launching a very effective and exciting website for multimedia community by our annual conference in October.

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