COVID-19 and Signal Processing

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COVID-19 and Signal Processing

Ervin Sejdic

The global COVID 19 pandemic has changed everything. Universities, research institutes, companies and other organizations will be operating differently from now, that is, their business models will change drastically. Even when everything goes back to normal, the “new normal” will not resemble our “old normal.” Therefore, we can expect that the IEEE Signal Processing Society will operate under different conditions as well.

Annual meetings/conferences will be different from now. Most likely many of these in-person meetings will move to some type of online meetings, or at least, to a hybrid model, i.e., partly in-person, partly online. While many people are skeptical about online meetings, I strongly believe that this is our chance to expand our impact and to reach a wider audience. ICASSP, as our flagship annual meeting, would attract 3000-4000 people at best. Many interesting talks would only attract a handful of attendees as we all are trying to network, run between different talks and/or list through the list of interesting papers that are published. With online meetings, most of these talks will be pre-recorded and available for viewing at your own pace, and it is expected that high-quality talks will attract many more attendees (viewers) than what we usually expect. Hence, it is up to us to deliver great presentations that capture everyone’s attention.

I would also urge us all to think how our publications can be more relevant. Let us not forget that most of us are signal processing engineers, and we should strive to resolve relevant real-life problems. While our journals should have a healthy dose of theoretical works, we should not be forgetting that some of the greatest achievements of signal processing algorithms are through various applications. In other words, translational signal processing research should be more emphasized. I strongly believe that our journals should adopt new editorial policies emphasizing translational aspects. A quick search of our IEEE Xplore database revealed no publications in our signal processing journals dealing with COVID-19 or coronavirus. This is problematic, as I am sure that many signal processing researchers are dealing with the current pandemic, but their publications are not finding a home in our journals. It should not be like that!

Lastly, I would like to invite members of our community to send me ideas how signal processing can be used in the fight against COVID-19, and I will gladly disseminate them via the eNewsletter. Furthermore, if there are any success stories, please share them with me, and I will share them as well. Stay safe and healthy!

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