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It is our great pleasure to introduce the first part of this special issue to you! The IEEE Signal Processing Society (SPS) has completed 75 years of remarkable service to the signal processing community. When the Society was founded in 1948, we couldn’t imagine, for instance, how wireless networks of smartphones would be able to connect us easily at all times, or that an image processing algorithm would be able to detect cancer in a few seconds.

Thanks to the tremendous interest from the research community, the focus of the March issue of the IEEE Signal Processing Magazine is on the second volume of the special issue on physics-driven machine learning for computational imaging, which brings together nine articles of the 19 accepted papers from the original 47 submissions.

Recent years have witnessed a rapidly growing interest in next-generation imaging systems and their combination with machine learning. While model-based imaging schemes that incorporate physics-based forward models, noise models, and image priors laid the foundation in the emerging field of computational sensing and imaging, recent advances in machine learning, from large-scale optimization to building deep neural networks, are increasingly being applied in modern computational imaging.

Most of the work we do in signal processing these days is data driven. The shift from the more traditional and model-driven approaches to those that are data driven has also underlined the importance of explainability of our solutions. Because most traditional signal processing approaches start with a number of modeling assumptions, they are comprehensible by the very nature of their construction.
Affective computing is computing that relates to, arises from, or deliberately influences emotion or other affective phenomena. Human emotion and affect in general are fundamental to human experience, influencing cognition, perception, and everyday tasks such as learning and communication, but are also fundamental to human health and well-being. 
During the last few decades, the number of seniors over the age of 60 has increased significantly. A recent study from the United Nations has shown that the number of people aged 65 years or over will increase from 727 million in 2020 to 1.5 billion by 2050. Consequently, the proportion of the global population aged 65 years or over will increase from 9.3% in 2020 to 16% in 2050. 
Signal processing (SP) is at the very heart of our digital lives, owing to its role as the pivotal enabling technology for advancement across multiple disciplines. Its prominence in modern data science has created a necessity to supply industry, government labs, and academia with graduates who possess relevant SP expertise and are well equipped to deal with the manifold challenges in current and future applications.
The articles in this special section focus on graph signal processing. Generically, the networks that sustain our societies can be understood as complex systems formed by multiple nodes, where global network behavior arises from local interactions between connected nodes. More succinctly, a network or a graph can be defined as a structure that encodes relationships between pairs of elements of a set. The simplicity of this definition drives the application of graphs and networks to a wide variety of disciplines, such as biology, medicine, psychology, sociology, economics, engineering, computer science, and so on.

The articles in this special section focus on nonconvex optimization for signal processing and machine learning. Optimization is now widely recognized as an indispensable tool in signal processing (SP) and machine learning (ML). Indeed, many of the advances in these fields rely crucially on the formulation of suitable optimization models and deployment of efficient numerical optimization algorithms. In the early 2000s, there was a heavy focus on the use of convex optimization techniques to tackle SP and ML applications.

The articles in this special section were focused on the current state of the art as well as emerging trends in the design, development, and deployment of sensing and perception technologies for autonomous and automated driving. Such technologies include camera, ultrasound, Global Navigation Satellite System-, lidar-, and radar-based platforms integrat ing signa l processing components to process the acquired data and extract information to be used for recognition, navigation, and situational awareness.


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