Series to Highlight Young Professionals in Signal Processing: Dr. Maryam Azimi

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10 years of news and resources for members of the IEEE Signal Processing Society

Series to Highlight Young Professionals in Signal Processing: Dr. Maryam Azimi

Maryam Azimi

This issue brings to you our interview with Dr. Maryam Azimi, an active IEEE Signal Processing Society (SPS) Young Professional. 
We approached Dr. Azimi with a few questions.
Q. Please provide a brief background about yourself.
After finishing my BASc in Computer Engineering in Iran, I moved to Vancouver in 2011 to do my MASc in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Digital Media Lab (DML) at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Upon graduating, I worked at Interdigital Inc. in San Diego, California as an intern. In my internship, I learned a lot about the video coding standardization process leading to a patent and a contribution to HEVC standard. My passion for research took me back to UBC to do a Ph.D. in video processing. During my Ph.D., I was also a consultant with Telus, a communication company in Canada. Currently, I am a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Cambridge, UK. 
Q. How does your work affect society?
My work is focused on perceptual video coding: Only information visible to our eyes is maintained during transmission while the rest is discarded. Moreover, visual information that we, as humans are more sensitive to, are treated with more care while more compression can be applied to the information that we are not very sensitive to. This leads to an efficiently compressed signal, perceptually. Without observers noticing even the smallest drop in the quality of the images or videos they are viewing, we reduce the required bandwidth to transmit that image or video by 1-2 orders of magnitude. Perceptual video coding is essential in applications such as telemedicine, tele-education, teleconferencing, and entertainment. Simply, if you use a display (this can be your laptop, TV, or your cell phone), you are benefiting from what I am working on.
Q. How your work is related to signal processing?
My work is directly related to signal processing as we deal with images and videos. In essence, in perceptual video coding, we decrease the peak signal to noise ratio in a perceptual manner, such that the perceived quality of the compressed signal is identical to that of the original signal. 
Q. How has your involvement with the IEEE SPS helped you in building your career?
IEEE has had a significant part in my career path. I first joined IEEE as a student member. Publishing my research with IEEE over the years has helped my research and papers to reach a large and targeted audience. IEEE has also helped me to build strong connections with other professional individuals in my field through attending conferences leading to collaborations with other universities and companies around the globe. The discussions I have had in the conferences with colleagues in the same field has been always inspiring to me and have occasionally led to new directions in my research. I also found my current post-doctoral position at one of these conferences which eventually led to me moving to the UK! Overall, IEEE is my professional community and I try to contribute and give back to it by volunteering wherever I can. I am currently involved with IEEE WIE (Women in Engineering) and IEEE SPS YP (Signal Processing Society Young Professionals) committees. 
Q. Anything else that you would like to add? 
I would like to thank all volunteers at IEEE for working so passionately and tirelessly for the advancement of technology to benefit humanity!


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