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ADSC experiences growth, accomplishments during 2013

02/21/2014

According to the Washington Post, only about 50 percent of new businesses are still open after four years and during 2013, ADSC proved that it deserves to be in that top group after four years of remarkable growth and significant accomplishments.

ADSC began in 2009 with a vision of bringing Illinois innovation to Singapore and has now grown to a world-class research lab with over 50 full-time researchers, 14 active Illinois faculty and over 100 published papers. With research in the fields of interactive digital media and the smart grid, ADSC is having an impact in areas such as computer vision, video tracking, image processing and analysis, as well as smart grid security and monitoring.

ADSC Research Scientist Jiangbo Lu demonstrates ADSC's tele-immersive meeting technology, which helped lead to the development of the PatchMatch Filter.
ADSC Research Scientist Jiangbo Lu demonstrates ADSC's tele-immersive meeting technology, which helped lead to the development of the PatchMatch Filter.
Over the past year, Professor Minh Do’s team of researchers at ADSC have developed a new visual PatchMatch Filter, which is an advance in computer vision, with many future applications for fast correspondence field estimation. The idea is to match up the same regions or `patches' in multiple images, for example, stereo views to find the distance of objects as humans do with two eyes or to track the motion of objects through multiple video frames. The technique is based on a computational framework that integrates the randomized search and propagation with efficient edge-aware image filtering, running much faster than other competing methods and achieving state-of-the-art correspondence accuracy.

“What's special about ADSC's patch-match filter technology is that it combines randomized search to find the best match very efficiently, while simultaneously finding and preserving the edges or motion discontinuities between the object and the background,” said Doug Jones, who became ADSC director in July. “This new technology will have many uses, from practical `green screening' without the green background for home movie-making or video-conferencing, to vision-based collision-avoidance or self-driving automobiles."

Additionally, Professor Narendra Ahuja's video analytics research team has made several key advances over the past year in tracking many moving and interacting objects in a complex video scene (such as all of the players on a football field), and making sense of this complex data. For example, they are applying research to sports video analysis to automatically recover information like what type of football play occurred, which players were involved and statistics on the performance of individual players.

Automated video analysis will save thousands of hours of tedious work for coaches who now have to do this manually, or for forensics investigators who currently have to watch hundreds of hours of security videos to identify criminals, such as the Boston Marathon bombers.

ADSC Research Scientist Gang Wang demonstrates the pill identification technology that was developed at ADSC and licensed to Singapore spinoff I3 Precision.
ADSC Research Scientist Gang Wang demonstrates the pill identification technology that was developed at ADSC and licensed to Singapore spinoff I3 Precision.

“The research has spawned a great deal of interest from coaches of professional and college football teams, including the University of Illinois, and they soon plan to spin off a start-up company to commercialize the technology,” Jones said.

Researchers at ADSC have also been continuously adding to the number of copyrights on their work, including adding ones for automated jersey number detection and recognition, entity search, energy analysis system, automated assistant for physical therapy and real-time elastic streaming analytics.

Furthermore, one of ADSC’s goals is to contribute to the forward-thinking research climate in Singapore by working with industry partners to further develop ADSC’s research. During the past year, ADSC’s pill identification research, led by researcher Gang Wang, was licensed by I3 Precision, a spinoff company from ADSC and KooPrime. I3Precision obtained a $250,000 Proof-of-Concept commercialization grant from Spring Singapore to develop the technology. Similarly, ADSC researchers are working with companies to further develop the people and restaurant entity searches developed by Professor Kevin Chang’s ARISE group.

Looking forward, Jones anticipates more accomplishments and further collaborations with Singapore partners, as well as continuing to strategically invest in research areas that will benefit Singapore and the University of Illinois.

"In the past year or so, ADSC researchers have received five best paper awards or nominations for top research, and have been winners or finalists in at least seven competitions to apply research results to real-world problems,” Jones said. “I'm very pleased that many ADSC researchers are being recognized as among the best in the world and also that our research is showing the potential to have real-world impact in many application areas.”