May 2022

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2022

Volume 39 | Issue 3

While I am writing this column, the Russia–Ukraine war is raging. As bombings, destruction, and human suffering flood the daily news, I deeply feel the pain of our Ukrainian colleagues, those who have friends and family in the affected areas, those who had to put their studies and careers on hold to fight for their survival. I also acknowledge the agony of those around the world who are watching the developments in horror, trying to comprehend why such insanity was necessary.
Self-supervised representation learning (SSRL) methods aim to provide powerful, deep feature learning without the requirement of large annotated data sets, thus alleviating the annotation bottleneck-one of the main barriers to the practical deployment of deep learning today. These techniques have advanced rapidly in recent years, with their efficacy approaching and sometimes surpassing fully supervised pretraining alternatives across a variety of data modalities, including image, video, sound, text, and graphs.
The dramatic success of deep learning is largely due to the availability of data. Data samples are often acquired on edge devices, such as smartphones, vehicles, and sensors, and in some cases cannot be shared due to privacy considerations. Federated learning is an emerging machine learning paradigm for training models across multiple edge devices holding local data sets, without explicitly exchanging the data. Learning in a federated manner differs from conventional centralized machine learning and poses several core unique challenges and requirements, which are closely related to classical problems studied in the areas of signal processing and communications.
Fire and water, two of nature’s basic forces, are each capable of sustaining or destroying life and property. Research projects in California and Hawaii are, respectively, helping displaced families cope with devasting wildfires, and investigating a way to increase water supply availability on isolated islands. Both projects are relying on signal processing to help them meet their goals.
“Science without conscience is only ruin of the soul” said François Rabelais. This centuries-old quote still resonates, today maybe louder than ever. I began to write this editorial at the end of February when Russian tanks and soldiers invaded Ukraine and waves of bombers began dropping their bombs on Ukrainian cities, targeting civilian buildings, hospitals, and schools. This dramatic event was a shock to Europeans, since most of them have lived in relative peace for more than 70 years.

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