2013 Chapter of the Year Awardee: SPS Italy Chapter

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2013 Chapter of the Year Awardee: SPS Italy Chapter

The IEEE Signal Processing Society (SPS) Italy Chapter started as a joint Chapter between the IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems and Signal Processing Italy Chapters at the end of 2011. Professor Gaspare Galati successfully chaired, and still chairs, the IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Chapter in Italy. As a very active volunteer member of SPS, Professor Galati fully understood, since the beginning, that the idea of giving more visibility to SPS was perfectly in line with principles of a volunteer society such as IEEE, for which new initiatives have to be encouraged if the community recognizes a value to them. I started with this note this article, surely to thank and appreciate Gaspare, but also because this is just an example of a possible key for the success of a Chapter.

In a volunteer job of people in love with a scientific discipline (strange people we can be, I have to admit, but we do one of the most interesting jobs in the world…), certainly negative emotions of different types, like jealousy or envy, can emerge in a competitive field. But, as in humans’ games, the important part of the story comes when positive personal emotions and feelings – like pleasure to cooperate with interesting people to form a community, self-enrichment for learning new things, and a sense of pride for a community to be recognized for its achievements – can represent a powerful feedback to continue activities in a better way. However, it can pose a risk of feeling satisfied and not continuing to work to improve the community. I am not saying we do this just for fun, and that professional and economic aspects coming out from knowledge are not a motor, but human aspects in a Chapter are an important part of the story.

We, members of the IEEE SPS Italy Chapter, as part of the larger SPS community, have tried to make good use of all the above aspects to different extent.

In 2012, a team of us started planning new Chapter activities with the idea that initiatives should first look at younger people, to provide to them enthusiasm, and, at the same time, provide them more opportunities to aggregate and to meet more experienced (we could say “differently young”) members – not only in the cyber world, but also in places to discuss signal processing in different ways. IEEE SPS has a powerful brand in our discipline, being the most important, high-quality association in the field and we should use it to attract young future researchers while also acting as a resource for them. At the same time, we should start to improve the sense of identity of the community at the national level: Italy SPS people have a long history, but the signal processing name suffers sometimes a visibility problem, indicating a transversal discipline. It can be difficult for young people to understand the core of the discipline, and how much relevant impact knowledge in signal processing can have on other disciplines and professional domains. The prestigious flag of SPS can work as a consolidated attractor at a first level, while offering, immediately after joining, opportunities to go at deeper levels. Thanks to our unique, high-level, quality content resources, and networking capabilities, we can motivate the decision of younger people to continue their track in this field and improve and enlarge our community.

The officers of the Chapter were nominated in late 2011: Vice-Chairman Stefano Tubaro (Politecnico di Milano), Treasurer Igor Bisio (University of Genova), and Secretary Lucio Marcenaro (University of Genova). A new election will take place in mid-2014.

Below is a timeline of the activities carried out during the first two years of the Chapter, 2012 having been an essential starting one:

  • IEEE SPS Italy Chapter Opening Day on 19 March 2012 in Courmayeur (AO), Italy: The IEEE SPS Italy Chapter opening day was organized by the University of Genova on 19 March 2012 at Hotel Pavillon in Courmayeur (AO) within the three-day GTTI MMSP annual meeting (19-21 March 2012, Courmayeur – AO, Italy). During the IEEE SPS Italy Chapter opening day, John Apostolopoulos, Distinguished Lecturer (DL) from Hewlett-Packard, gave a talk on "Multimedia Cloud Computing."
  • Prospective research in Cognitive and Secure Signal Processing on 26 June 2012 in Villasimius (CA), Italy: The National Telecommunications and Information Theory Group (GTTI) and the IEEE SPS Italy Chapter agreed to organize a joint event as a special scientific session within the 2012 yearly GTTI meeting in Villasimius, Cagliari on the afternoon of 26 June 2012.
  • Seasonal School on "Signal Processing for Interactive and Cognitive Environments" (SP-ICE): SPS Italy Chapter Day on 3 September 2012 in Loano (SV), Italy. On 3 September 2012, a special IEEE SPS Italy Chapter Day is organized within the annual Summer School of the Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate on Interactive and Cognitive Environments (1-7 September 2012, Loano – SV, Italy). Mauro Barni (DL, University of Siena) gave an invited talk called "Computing with Private Data: When Cryptography Meets Signal Processing." The participation to this IEEE SPS Italy Chapter Day was free of charge.
  • In 2013, the seasonal winter SPS annual event started in Courmayeur and was held in Vezza d’Oglio and organized by the University of Brescia and Politecnico di Milano. In 2014, the event has been organized by the University of Udine. The event is in conjunction with the annual GTTI (Gruppo Nazionale Telecomunicazioni e Teoria dell’Informazione) Thematic Meeting on Multimedia Signal Processing and a speaker from IEEE SPS DL program is invited.
  • First IEEE SPS Italy Chapter Summer School on Signal Processing - Riotorto (LI) - Italy – 1-6 September 2013: The summer school is organized on a yearly basis trying to attract more and more students by offering outstanding lecture programs and activities. An agreement is active with the IEEE Italy Section to manage directly permanent events. The material from the summer school is available through SigView, the IEEE SPS online portal of tutorials. The DLs at the first IEEE SPS Italy Chapter Summer School on Signal Processing were:
    • Sergio Barbarossa (IEEE DL ‘13-‘14, Sapienza University of Rome) "Bio-inspired Signal Processing"
    • Mauro Barni (IEEE DL ‘13-‘14, University of Siena) "Information Theory and Statistics: Applications to Adversarial Signal Processing"
    • Abdelhak Zoubir (IEEE DL ‘10-‘11, Technische Universität Darmstadt) "Robust Statistics for Signal Processing"
  • DL was invited to the Eighth International Symposium on Image and Signal Processing and Analysis (ISPA 2013) 4-6 September 2013, Trieste, Italy: V. John Mathews "Neural Signal Processing." The DL is co-sponsored by Italy, Spain, and UK IEEE SPS Chapters

We are now proud to receive the SPS Chapter of the Year Award for 2013 and, at the same time, we are trying to figure out how to maintain and improve Chapter activities. Thanks to my delay in writing this report, I can briefly say that in the first months of 2014, we have hosted Mari Ostendorf as DL in Forni di Sopra annual SPS meeting in February and I have recently learned that the new IEEE SPS Summer School to be held in Frascati in July has received approval for technical co-sponsorship from SPS Seasonal Schools program.

The risk of being satisfied by this important COYA recognition provided by IEEE SPS community has not to be underestimated. One of the first steps is to follow IEEE suggestions and to renew Chapter governance in due time: let us first start election procedures to elect a new Chapter Chair in June!

In the meantime, thank you and congratulations to all IEEE SPS Italy Chapter members for this result and to the IEEE Signal Processing Society for hosting us and for sharing many adventures with us.

Carlo Regazzoni (University of Genova),
Chairman of the IEEE SPS Chapter

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