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Information Forensics and Security Technical Committee

ICASSP 2015 IFS-TC Meeting Minutes

Friday April 24, 2015, 13:00-14:30 (GMT+10)
At ICASSP’15, Brisbane, Australia
Minutes prepared by Gwenaël Doërr and Wade Trappe

Participants
IFS-TC voting members (3): Gwenaël Doërr, Hitoshi Kiya, Wade Trappe
Guests & TC Alumni (4): Mauro Barni, Jiwu Huang, K. J. Ray Liu, Min Wu

1. G. Doërr called for the meeting at 13:00 (GMT+10)

2. Roundtable for introductions

G. Doërr indicates that most IFS TC members decided not to attend ICASSP this year due to the distant geographical location of the conference.

3. Society News

G. Doërr reports on various initiatives launched at the Society level based on email communications and information gathered during various administrative meetings this week.

SPS is getting increasingly worried about the decreasing participation of non-research members, which cast some doubts about the long-term sustainability of the Society. There is also an increasing feeling of identity loss. To reinforce its visibility, SPS launched a Society-wide initiative to highlight the pervasive use of signal processing techniques in today technologies. The first notable deliverable is an educational video that explains signal processing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EErkgr1MWw0. SPS members are encouraged to circulate and showcase it. In the next few months, similar videos will be produced that are more geared towards individual Technical Committees. Min Wu will supervise the production of the video for the IFS TC. Moreover, Nasir Memon has been appointed as the IFS representative to work with the contracted PR firm in charge of developing the SPS Visibility Initiative. In this role, he will (i) share individual stories with communications agency for potential use in campaign, (ii) be available for interviews, (iii) write articles and contribute to digital content upon request (e.g., website articles, video, slideshows), and (iv) share campaign materials/content with own networks (universities, corporations, social networks, etc).

To better reach out to SPS non-research community, the Signal Processing Magazine (SPM) will soon set in place new editorial guidelines for accessibility. They reinforce the tutorial writing style of the magazine. In particular, they recommend to minimize the use of complicated equations and technical jargons, and instead use appropriate layman's terms, more pictorial means, and illustrative examples. SPM is indeed a de facto benefits for all members of the Society and it is of vital importance that SPM articles are understandable by a non-expert across different fields in signal and information processing, including but not limited to students, industrial practitioners, educators, and researchers. The editorial team of the magazine will also explore how to leverage on popular social platforms to collect feedback from the community. G. Doërr reminds that SPM enjoys a very favorable impact factor and encourage IFS members to consider this publication for tutorial and overview manuscripts. On another front, SPS statistics clearly indicate that most SPS members do not attend SPS conferences. It is thus critical to energize local chapter activity to provide value to these members. To support such networking activities, SPS has created dedicated funding opportunities, especially for events engaging industry members and students.

To embrace emerging topics, SPS has recently new journal publications: IEEE Transactions on Big Data (http://www.computer.org/portal/web/tbd), IEEE Internet of Things Journal (http://iot.ieee.org/journal), IEEE Transactions on Signal and Information Processing over Networks ( http://www.signalprocessingsociety.org/publications/periodicals/tsipn/), and IEEE Transactions on Computational Imaging (http://www.signalprocessingsociety.org/publications/periodicals/tci/). SPS Technical Directions Board (TDB) is also considering the creation of a Special Interest Group on Computational Photography. SPS recently established links with the newly established IEEE Society on Social Implications in Technology (SSIT http://ieeessit.org/). Alessandro Piva, an alumni of the IFS TC, has been appointed as the SPS Liaison. G. Doërr suggests to IFS members to have a look at these newly created SIGs to identify whether or not there could be opportunities for collaborations for the TC.

Based on a suggestion of the TDB, SPS Conference Board (CB) agreed to establish an ad-hoc committee to discuss the relationship between GlobalSIP and SPS Technical Committees. The objective is to establish some ground rules to streamline the participation of TC events. Vicky Zhao, one of the co-organizers of WIFS’14 @ GlobalSIP in Atlanta, will participate to the committee to provide feedback on the unique experience of our TC last year. Richard Baseil also give a technical presentation during both TDB and CB meetings to explain how the SPS Conference 20% surplus was actually used and what it would mean to remove it e.g. in an attempt to reduce registration fees. Forecast indicates that reducing conference registration fees (while keeping expenses constant) would mechanically induce lower benefits for SPS members e.g. volunteer travel subsidies e.g. for Distinguished Lecturers, membership subsidies, etc.

4. IFS TC Review

G. Doërr reports that the review of the Technical Committee took place on Monday, April 20 this week. Helen Meng and Rabab Ward were representing the TC Review Committee; M. Wu, W. Trappe, and G. Doërr were representing the IFS TC. The review has been the opportunity to refresh the IFS Policies and Procedures to be aligned with our current practices. H. Meng and R. Ward praised the IFS TC for the quality of its report and most of the time has been dedicated to (i) a discussion about our experience with GlobalSIP in 2014 and (ii) a discussion about our vision of the future of the TC.

Regarding the first point, the Review Committee commended our effort to organize our legacy workshop as part of GlobalSIP and was eager to collect feedback about our experience. We indicated that it has been a mixed experience with a few hurdles along the road and that the expected benefits (lower logistics, walk-in attendance, increased visibility, etc) from the co-hosting was lower than anticipated. Although WIFS’14 has been eventually successful with a lot of good will from both WIFS and GlobalSIP organizers, it seems that the Society needs to establish some ground rules to facilitate such initiatives in the future. In particular, for the organizers, it is critical to recommend good practices on how to manage finances (how to fund TC social events necessary for community building) and publicity (the lack of communication on the conference website infuriated several authors). For attendees, we also recommended to take greater care to avoid overlapping with similar topics in different workshop and to stagger the different keynotes to create a conference path for attendees who are less research oriented. The TC Review Committee indicated the creation of an ad-hoc committee and we mentioned that one of our members will participate to it.

During the last part of the review, we contemplated several strategies to further consolidate the IFS community. One aspect consisted of embracing (emerging) security-related communities to sustain the growth of the TC. Along this line, we will explore how to establish links with research communities working on physical layer security, Internet of Things Security, privacy-preserving signal processing, signal processing for printed document security signal processing for art authentication, signal processing for crime scene analysis, etc. Another comment was to further reach out to non-research members of the community to naturally nurture the activities of the TC with well-educated students and relevant perspectives about the real-world challenges of the industry. While the IFS TC has a good history of industrial support, it is important to work on widening our footprint beyond our regular watermarking supporters. The TC also indicated that we will place a bid for the SP Cup 2015 and that we will engage in the SPS Visibility Initiative.

The final feedback from the TC Review Committee will be returned to the TC within a few months.

5. Conference Activities

G. Doërr reports that WIFS’14 books are nearly close. The organizers recently realized that a small glitch occurred when importing the proceedings in IEEExplore with respect to the conference details and will work with the support team to fix this as soon as possible. The organization of WIFS’15 in Rome, Italy is on track. The organizers received four proposals for tutorials and two proposals for special sessions. The regular paper submission is currently on-going and there will be an opportunity to submit demos, on-going work, SPL-TIFS presentations at a later stage. Regarding SPL/TIFS presentations, the organizers will liaise with the Editor in Chief of the two publication in order to directly notify past authors of this opportunity. An Italian team is currently working on shaping up a nice half-day thematic forum on multimedia forensics to complement the regular program. The objective is to involve forensics practitioners (judges, police officers, journalists, etc) to have fruitful exchanges. The IFS TC is also actively working on renewing the Technical Co-sponsorship with the IEEE Biometrics Council (http://ieee-biometrics.org/) in liaison with SPS CB for improved visibility in this research community. All IFS members are invited to provide to Patrizio Campisi the contact details of relevant individuals who may be willing to financially support the workshop. Pedro Comesaña-Alfaro will circulate a call for proposal to organize WIFS’16 over the Summer.

Following up this report, the individuals attending the meeting had a discussion about the sustainability and the future of WIFS. K. J. Ray Liu challenged the practice of the TC to have lower acceptance rate. It was originally an attempt to capture submissions from the Computer Science community which has different practices. However, in view of the flattish growth of WIFs over the last 5 years, it is questionable whether this strategy paid off. On the other hand, such low acceptance rate may deter some signal processing research teams to submit manuscripts. M. Wu and W. Trappe argued that the PC Chair of WIFS have never been in a position to reject manuscript solely based on acceptance rate criterions and that WIFS is in good health compared to other SPS TC workshops. M. Barni mentioned that WIFS is still relatively young and fragile and that the TC should be particularly careful when selecting locations. The edition in Rome this year is expected to be particularly attractive and participation numbers will serve as a strong indicator of the health of the workshop. WIFS may also benefit from other related workshops/conferences that seem to lose momentum (SPIE EI, ACM IHMMSec). This being said, the TC should take steps to promote some emerging topics e.g. by featuring some special sessions and advertising leading keynote speakers well in advance.

G. Doërr then provides a few statistics on the SPS conference featuring an IFS track whose review process is managed by members of the TC. ICASSP’15 attracted only 54 submissions, in stark decline compared to previous edition. This is mostly due to the location of the conference in Australia that turned off many research teams due to travel budget constraints. After the review process, 26 articles have been accepted for publications i.e. about 48% acceptance rate. ICIP’15 attracted 244 submissions nearly evenly distributed between biometrics EDICS and other IFS EDICS, similarly to previous editions. After the review process, 93 manuscripts have been accepted for publication i.e. about 38% acceptance rate. Finally, G. Doërr indicates that the submission deadline for ICASSP’16 in Shanghai, China is sooner than usual and that TC members should take that change into account in their schedule, knowing that they are expected to attend the TC meeting that will be hold there.

6. Awards Activities

Two awards were given to IFS researchers during ICASSP Awards Ceremony this year:

  • Society Award: K. J. Ray Liu for “Influential technical contributions and profound leadership impact”.
  • Young Author Best Paper Award: Tomáš Filler, Jan Judas and Jessica Fridrich for the paper titled, “Minimizing Additive Distortion in Steganography Using Syndrome-Trellis Codes,” published in the IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security, Volume 6, Number 3, September 2011

G. Doërr that the IFS TC has been relatively less successful with awards nominations compared to past years and that it is important to put forward strong cases to compete with other TCs. SPS has recently a new uniform award procedure. It is already in line with our current practices described in our updated Procedures and there is therefore no impact for the IFS TC. The call for nominations for 2015 Distinguished Lecturers is currently on-going and the one for SPS Major Awards will follow soon afterwards.

7. Appointments

G. Doërr informs the TC that several individuals have been appointed as Associate Members to comply with our Policies and to promote emerging IFS areas: Mauro Barni (TIFS EiC), Patrizio Campisi (WIFS’15), David Doermann (DARPA IFS program), Nasir Memon (visibility initiative), Shantanu Rane (WIFS’14), Raphael Schaefer (physical layer security), Steven Simske (printed material security), Yan Sun (WIFS’14), Slava Voloshynovskiy (WIFS’15), Min Wu (SPM EiC), Vicky Zhao (WIFS’14). TC members are invited to contact the Chair should they have other names to suggest as Associate Members.

8. Education Activities

M. Wu indicates that she is currently working on a proposal for the SP Cup 2015 on ENF Forensics. She is currently liaising with several research teams worldwide both to lower the organization burden of such a challenge and to increase the geographical footprint of the organizers. The call for proposals is anticipated to be circulated during the Summer.

G. Doërr reminds that there is still little IFS visibility in SigView (http://sigview.org/). Distinguished Lecturer and WIFS keynote speakers should in particular consider this publication platform to provide greater visibility to their talks.

9. Website Activities

G. Doërr is pleading TC members to provide inputs to the Website Subcommittee to populate the IFS Message Board. A large majority of the messages posted there originates from the TC Chair. The platform will simply die if it is not regularly fueled with content. For the record, Matthias Kirchner indicated that he would investigate the feasibility and cost of having an IFS mailing list. He is expected to report on this during the new TC meeting in Rome, Italy.

10. Publications Activities

M. Barni, Editor in Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security, indicates that the “Reject and Resubmit” (RR) option has been abandoned by SPS Publications Board to avoid confusion in the review process. He also mentions that SPS introduced a new “Accept with Mandatory Minor Revisions Including English Usage” (AQE) decision. In that case, authors will have to provide evidence of English editing e.g. receipt from an editing service or letter from a colleague who has assisted with editing. The objective is to maintain the editorial quality of SPS publications without raising the entry barrier for non-native English speakers. Finally, M. Barni reports on the statistics of published manuscripts in TIFS per EDICS: biometrics (54), network security (22), physical-layer security (15), forensic analysis (13), watermarking (11), anonymization (9), large networks (8), information theory (7), content hash (7), steganography (7), surveillance (6), hardware (4), human factors (1).

M. Wu, Editor in Chief of the IEEE Signal Processing Magazine, encourages IFS members to submit manuscripts. She reminds that several options are available: special issue proposals for a series of articles, feature articles, columns and forum for shorter contributions. She also indicates that SPM will soon launch a community outreach on popular social networks and invite all IFS members to contribute.

G. Doërr reminds that the new SPS archiving service SigPort (http://sigport.org/) is now up and running thanks to the efforts of Yan sun, one of our IFS alumni. There are currently coupon code being circulated to deposit documents free of charges and it is a good opportunity to publicize your research paper presentations or posters.

11. Miscellaneous and Open Discussions

G. Doërr announces that he will work on consolidating IFS EDICS for ICASSP and ICIP, as well as SPL.

G. Doërr advises IFS TC members to be ready for upcoming TC activities, including: SP Cup proposal review and ballot, reviews for WIFS’15, SPS Major Awards nominations and ballot, WIFS’16 proposals review and ballot, IFS TC new members elections.

12. Next meeting

The next TC meeting will be held in Rome, Italy during WIFS 2015 (November 16-19, 2015). In view of the few members attending ICASSP this year, G. Doërr reminds everybody to take steps to attend WIFS. The meeting was adjourned at 14:30 (GMT+10) without objection.