Reflecting Back on 2019

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Reflecting Back on 2019

Ervin Sejdic

Well, we're at the end of 2019. Most likely, this was like any other year for most of us. We had some successes and some failures, but overall, it's not a bad year. We're all getting ready for holidays, with our goals for 2020 slowly brewing in the back of our minds. Therefore, I would like to rise some points that we should think about during our downtime, if such a period exists. In no particular order, here they are:

  1. In the era of artificial intelligence and machine learning, what is the role of signal processing? Are we still relevant? Are we still “just a signal processing group”? Or we’re metamorphing into a data science group? This is not just a question for the Signal Processing Society as a society, but also for all of us, as signal processing engineers and researchers. It will affect how we seek future jobs, and/or train future engineers and scientists.
  2. Should we market more extensively the application of signal processing in real-life problems? Signal processing has a profound impact on many aspects of our daily lives. Advances in speech processing or image processing have enabled many of modern gadgets, but if you ask a random person on the street what signal processing engineers do, most people wouldn’t know it even though they use some of these services on a daily basis.
  3. What is the right time to introduce a signal processing engineering degree? Most of us have undergraduate degrees in electrical/computer engineering and/or telecommunications. Reflecting back on my undergraduate electrical and computer engineering degree, I strongly feel that electrical and computer engineering has become a very wide field comprising of several major areas: signals and systems, devices and electronics, power engineering, and computer engineering. After many years, I feel most comfortable with signals and systems aspects of electrical engineering, and I would not really dare to claim any expertise in other areas of my undergraduate degree. Many of us feel the same way. Therefore, we need to start thinking about a signal processing engineering degree, and what would such a degree encompass.

I will leave you with these three thoughts/questions, and I sincerely hope that you will have a wonderful holiday season! My best wishes to you and your families, and I can’t wait to see the growth of our field and our society in 2020!

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