European Signal Processing Conference, September 4 - 8 2006, Florence, Italy






General Chairman’s Address: “Life without Signal Processing”

On behalf of the Organizing Committee, it is my pleasure and honor to welcome you to the 14th Edition of the European Signal Processing Conference EUSIPCO 2006. Let me say that this year edition appears particularly exciting: we have high-quality contributions and a large number of participants, but more about this will be shown to you in a minute by the Technical Program Chairmen Fulvio Gini and Ercan Kuruoglu.

At times, during an informal conversation, for instance at a party, we are asked by a relative, by a friend, or just by a casual acquaintance what we deal with in our professional activity. Signal Processing, of course. “Signal what?” he or she replies. And so we start explaining that we actually deal with the different techniques that are implemented in hardware and software to perform diverse functions such as detection, classification, automatic feature extraction… “Aaah,” he/she utters, and the conversation at the party goes further on its usual way without our friend having actually dispelled the fog in her mind about what we really do in our offices and labs. The issue is of course more fundamental, and has to do with the weight and relevance of signal processing in everyday life, and the way we can evaluate and perceive  it. So close your eyes for a moment and imagine that an Angel sent by Frank Capra teletransports yourselves into a parallel Planet Earth where all digital signal processing has never been born.

Early in the morning, the unfortunate citizen of this digital-signal-processing-free world would arrive into her office, she would connect to a server to browse through her mail messages, but unfortunately, her telephone-line modem would be limited to a mere 1200 baud, and the simple text document attached to one of her messages would take an hour to download. Going out for a meeting, she might want to call a customer from her cellular phone but, unfortunately, she could not carry her 1-kg phone in her pocket. When she would arrive at her destination, she would like to record the whole 4-hour meeting on a single cassette of a pocket video camera. Unfortunately, her analog equipment is not so easy to transport, and does not allow more than 90-minute recording. “What a slow and difficult business day it would be...”

The value of signal processing is here, is in the large black hole it would leave in the everyday life of all of us, poor cyber-citizens of the third millennium, were it not here to help. And this black hole would get bigger and bigger as the Information Society develops further. Cars and transportation in general (think of GPS receivers and driving-assistance devices), entertainment, biology, biorobotics, in addition to the traditional fields of communications and vision, all these fields are getting “full” of signal processing, and cannot simply help without it. This consideration gives more significance and awareness to the EUSIPCO this year I’m honored to chair.

Whit such picture in mind, I was twice as happy when our proposal to organize this conference in Florence was accepted by the Advisory Committee of EURASIP, the European Association for Signal and Image Processing. You may know that EURASIP was founded in 1978 to “improve communication between groups and individuals that work within the multidisciplinary, fast growing field of Signal Processing in Europe and elsewhere, and to exchange and disseminate information in the field all over the world.” The main aim of the association is facilitating the efforts of researchers by providing a learned and professional platform for dissemination and discussion of all aspects of signal processing. This materializes into the organization of large and small conferences and workshops, the promotion of special-issue-books on hot topics in signal processing, the association to a number of leading-edge international journals by different Editors, the provision of annual awards for papers, individuals, and research groups, and so forth. EUSIPCO is the largest and one of the main activities by EURASIP. Once biannual, this conference has recently turned into an yearly event. We come after last year edition in Antalya, Turkey, organized by Prof. Bulent Sankur, and we will hand over to next year edition in Poznan, Poland, with the organization of Prof. Marek Domanski, whom we wish a great success !

This 14th EUSIPCO was organized by a bunch of people from the University of Pisa, plus the contribution of a number of organizers from all over the world. I wish to acknowledge the help of them all, and I apologize for not having the time of citing all their names. Perhaps Fulvio and Ercan will do this in a few moments. The conference has also benefited from the financial support of a number of sponsors which I also gratefully acknowledge here, and by the general organization of INCOR-DGMP under the coordination of Mrs. Graciela Stiavetti that put up with all of our requests. Thanks Graciela ! A warm final thanks goes of course to our authors who has enthusiastically responded to the call, as well as to the components of the Technical Program Committee who helped us establishing the program.

Could we live a life without signal processing ? I don’t think so. Could we live a life without study and research? I don’t’ think so, either. Please enjoy with me my favorite citation by the XVII-century Danish-born anatomist Nicolas Steno (the discoverer of the Steno’s duct) who lived in Tuscany for a long time, that explains how researchers and scientists feel and think:

Pulchra Sunt Quae Videmus
Scimus Pulchriora
Longe Pulcherrima Quae

Beautiful is what we see
More beautiful is what we
Most beautiful by far is what we still

Welcome again in Florence, I hope you'll enjoy attending EUSIPCO 2006 as much as we enjoyed organizing it.

Marco Luise, University of Pisa

General Chairman, EUSIPCO 2006






























































































































































































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