May 30, 2008

Conferences (Concern Fees?) - About hammers and nails

There is some concern about scientific conferences in general, and signal/image/video conferences in particular, as money making machines (hence the fees' concern anagram). Not only places where people meet, share, even copy or steal ideas... Remember the standard quote, attributed to Wilson Mizner (1876-1933):
Copy from one, it's plagiarism; copy from two, it's research
or maybe this quote has also been unfaithfully copied, since it often appear as
If you steal from one author, it’s plagiarism; if you steal from many, it’s research
Steal or copy, two or many. Blame the the cut, correct and paste. Since Mizner's most famous plays is entitled The Deep Purple, shouldn't this sentence be refined along the lines of another solid rock band, Megadeth (Captive honour, from Countdown to extinction):
And when you kill a man, you're a murderer (plagiarist)
Kill many, and you're a conqueror (researcher, then)
Kill them all... Ooh... Oh you're a god!
What would be the research equivalent of "god"? Contributions welcome. Anyway, let us mention a few interesting conferences in signal or image processing. The upcoming EUSIPCO 2008, in Lausanne, Switzerland, along with the satellite international workshop LNLA 2008, dealing with "Local and Non-Local Approximation in Image Processing". Still waiting for the program and its novelties from the sparse or compressive sensing world.

And now for something completely different. About 10 years ago, the department head of an engineering school asked me whether people in the industry did use wavelets? My reply was: "do you teach wavelets to future engineers?" The answer was no. Anyway, there exists a conference dealing with wavelet applications in the industry, organized by Fred Truchetet and Olivier Laligant: SPIE Wavelet Applications in Industrial Processing VI (WAIP 2009), along with SPIE Electronic Imaging in San Jose, California, USA, 16-18/01/2009. Deadline for a short abstract: 16/06/2008.

My concern above was not about wavelets or anything else. But industrial business is often time consuming, cost bounded, and people tend to reuse known tools a lot. Even for weakly related problems. The quote here is the nail/hammer famous line. Though once again, several (digital) versions co-exist; one attributed to Abraham Maslow (1908-1970), founder of humanistic psychology:
If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail
or this one, copied from his book "Psychology of Science":
I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail
Apparently, this idea is good enough to have been used by several persons. Maslow's is said to originate from his mentor Michael Polanyi (1891-1976), while Bernard Baruch (1870-1965) is credited with
If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail
The only one i have been aware of before the world wide web was (in French)
Quand on n'a qu'un marteau dans sa boîte à outils, tous les problèmes ont la forme d'un clou
from a guy simply known as Juran. Which could be translated as:
When you only have a hammer in your toolbox, all your problems are nail-shaped
It might be Joseph M. Juran (1904-2008, he just died on February 28th), management consultant, quality guru. All these folks overlap (in time) and exhibit some redundancy (in some orthogonal direction), which are my two main signal processing concerns. Anyway my reply was about teaching concepts that could help future engineers seize new ideas when needed, to avoid pure repetition.

Another conference is GRESTI 2009 Symposium on Signal and Image Processing, to be held in Dijon, France, from 8 to 11 September 2009. Deadline 15 Feb. 2009. The last announcement for today is tentative, the Mathematical Methods for Natural Images and Textures Processing, organized by G. Peyré, J.F. Aujol and J. Fadili, at IHP, Paris, France, to be help in June 2009.

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