Second ICE Summer School on Signal Processing for Interactive and Cognitive Environments

The Summer School on Signal Processing for Interactive and Cognitive Environments (SP-ICE) is the second edition of the Summer Schools series related with the Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate on Interactive and Cognitive Environments (EMJD-ICE and can be considered as an ideal prosecution of the first edition that was organized by the Alpen-Adria Universität in Klagenfurt (AT) and technically co-sponsored by IEEE via the Seasonal Schools in Signal Processing (S3P) initiative.

The EMJD ICE project has been approved and funded by the Education, Audiovisual & Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) under the coordination of the University of Genova: this project started in 2010 offering more than 40 PhD scholarships in five years. One of the key aspects of the funded PhD research is represented by signal processing for Interactive Cognitive Environments. The EMJD ICE consortium is composed by 5 different European Universities that signed a specific consortium agreement for recognizing joint or double PhD degrees for students enrolled in the program.

This proposed Summer School SP-ICE is focused on providing an updated state of the art over most advanced signal processing theories and techniques that are relevant for developing interactive and cognitive environments. Lectures will be focused on novel signal processing algorithms and technologies for ICE but also on in-depth reviewing of state-of-the-art ICE related systems and short hands-on tutorial guiding students through the process of building real ICE applications from scratch. Summer school attendants will have the opportunity to learn and study innovative algorithms and systems for artificial interaction and cognition, to apply these concepts for building real working ICE components and to cooperate with other students for designing ICE related modules.

The IEEE SPS Italy Chapter is also supporting in view of evaluating the setup of an annual Summer School event to be offered in appropriate Italian locations.

The main goal of the ICE related research is to study and develop innovative concepts, algorithms, services to enable multi-user interactions in multi-sensor physical environments for improving quality of life, supporting human everyday tasks and fulfilling urgent society needs. The focus on a multiple users perspective can be achieved through 1) user centered interaction design 2) cognition, emotion, behavior understanding 3) context awareness.

In the last decade, the increasing role of ICT tools in the modern society has led to research challenges towards the study and development of innovative applications aiming at improving quality of life, supporting human everyday tasks and fulfilling urgent society needs. However, often the main focus of such applications has been the analysis on the interaction between a single user and a service/system/technology and/or an environment/device. The next step beyond the current state of the art is represented by the study and implementation of new design methods, technologies and metrics to fully cover the different facets of multiple users-centered services and solutions, including complex real-time interaction capabilities, ergonomics, behavioral aspects and cognition. Such a research on multiple users’ interactions in heterogeneous context is actually more and more crucial for the next generation systems and applications since the transformation of our society is continuously pushing technologies to become more and more pervasive and ubiquitous. However several open issues and challenges are far from solved or overcome, such as service quality, computational costs, scalability from single user to multiple users tools, synchronization, capability of discriminating among several users, the provision of personalized profiled services, heterogeneous sensor networks data fusion management, physical and virtual presence of the users, interweaving of the internet of things and the social media, learning of complex and multiple interaction patterns among different entities (e.g. a group of people in public environments, an elderly person with wearable sensors for health monitoring, users and networked devices in a smart home), and so on.

The capability of evaluating and understanding pervasive and interactive technologies compliant with multiple-users-centric perspective as well as a deep expertise in the design of smart cognitive environments where such users are usually involved in everyday tasks is becoming a relevant skill which must be taken into account in the training of next generation researchers and professionals.

Each year a different focus is given to the school that reflects either methodological or application aspects related to the ICE domain. This year the methodological focus will be on Signal Processing theories and techniques with their applications to domains

Main topics of the Summer School activities are machine learning, cryptography, video-processing including tracking and detection, ambient assisted living, facial biometrics, emotion recognition, serious gaming, distributed consensus, bio-inspired systems, human interactions recognition.

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