Signals and Signal Processing: The Invisibles and the Everlastings

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Signals and Signal Processing: The Invisibles and the Everlastings

By: 
Min Wu

When you receive this issue of IEEE Signal Processing Magazine, a symposium, “The Future of Signal Processing,” was just held at the Massachu- setts Institute of Technology (MIT). The symposium honored the career of Prof. Alan Oppenheim as one of the pioneers in signal processing research and education. Attendees from various organizations around the world discussed and shared insights of the profound roles that signal processing have played and envisioned the future trends of signal processing.

I delivered a talk with the same title as this editorial at the MIT symposium. The term invisibles has a dual meaning to me. A central theme of my research has been dealing with “micro signals” that are small in strength or scale by at least an order of magnitude and are nearly invisible, yet developing the the- ory and techniques to extract and utilize these invisible micro signals opens up new opportunities in a broad range of applications from security and forensics to data analytics to entertainment. One class of micro signals provides telltale traces of evidence in determining the origin and integrity of images, which is an active research area investigated by the Information Forensics and Security Technical Committee (IFS TC) of the IEEE Signal Processing Society (SPS) and the subject of the ongoing SP Cup 2018 competition (see page 175) and the latest outreach video “Multimedia Forensics,” available online at the SPS Resource Center; please visit http:// rc.signalprocessingsociety.org/sps/ product/conference-videos-and-slides/ SPSVID00194. Meanwhile, the pro- found role and contributions of signal processing are often invisible to the pub- lic, leading to the notion of “Signal Pro- cessing Inside.” In this issue, the second edition of the new “Community Voices” column presents the thoughts on such a topic by our magazine readers who are at various career stages and come from different regions and backgrounds.

Several other formal and informal gath- erings have been held this year, celebrating the careers of signal processing pioneers and significant contributors: among them are Prof. Sanjit Mitra, who had a broad range of research interests over the years and nurtured signal processing activities in a number of underrepresented countries and regions; Prof. Mos Kaveh, who played a key role in developing statistical signal processing and served as the IEEE SPS president in 2010–2011; and Dr. John Cozzens, who led the signal process- ing program at the U.S. National Science Foundation for many years, just to name a few. Thanks to the persistent contribu- tions of them and many others over the past decades, the field of signal processing has grown and our community has expanded both technically and geographically.

It has been a year and half since we launched the redesign of the print ver- sion of the magazine. I hope you enjoy the modern look and enhanced graphics of the magazine and its corresponding electronic version. The second part of the redesign effort is for the online presence of our magazine. Although the timetable of the magazine’s web design was deferred to give priority to the major redesign of the SPS’s website, I am happy to report that the matching design for our magazine’s website is well underway. The first phase has been completed and launched this summer for the monthly “Inside Signal Processing eNewslet- ter” that complements the print version of the magazine. If you haven’t already, please check it out at http://signalprocess ingsociety.org/newsletter/. My sincere thanks to Christian Debes, the area edi- tor for eNewsletter, and Ervin Sejdic, who succeeded Christian in June 2017, and SPS Web Administrator Rupal Bhatt for their dedicated efforts.

The second phase of the website re- design is currently being implemented with the goal of creating a modern land- ing page that can host timely updates based on the magazine’s bimonthly con- tent and well-organized resources for prospective authors.

This is the magazine’s final issue of 2017 and the last issue for which I serve as editor-in-chief. Looking back, this three-year journey has been a huge undertaking, and it could not have been possible without the hard work and sup- port of many colleagues. A number of unsung heroes, whom ordinary read- ers may not have seen or known, con- tributed to the success of our magazine. Managing Editor Jessica Welsh and the IEEE Magazines Department production team are a driving force in interacting with authors and creating a professional look and feel for the articles. In addi- tion, Senior Art Director Janet Dudar and Associate Art Director Gail Schnitzer help bring eye-catching artistic elements to each issue of the magazine.

I have also had the privilege to work very closely with a team of area editors who play a key role in the magazine op- erations: Shuguang Robert Cui screens dozens of feature article proposals each year and tirelessly coordinates the pro- posal reviews; Kenneth Lam leads a team of dedicated column associate editors to enrich the magazine content to serve our broad readership; Douglas O’Shaughnessy coordinates the special issue efforts, a signature tradition of the magazine; An- dres Kwasinski, Erwin Sejdic, Christian Debes, and the associate editors on their teams who contributed to the electronic efforts that complement the print version of the magazine.

Our senior Editorial Board mem- bers bring a diverse set of expertise and perspectives and provide candid feed- back and guidance; special thanks to 13 members who are completing their three-year services: Mounir Ghogho, Lina Karam, Sven Loncˇaric ́, Brian Lovell, Stephen McLaughlin, Yi Ma, Henrique (Rico) Malvar, Athina Petro- pulu, Peter Ramadge, Shigeki Sagaya- ma, Erchin Serpedin, Shihab Shamma, Gregory Wornell, and Dapeng Wu. In addition, special issue and cluster orga- nizers work intensively to bring timely content to our readers, and each special issue, cluster, or series is a major under- taking by itself. My sincere thanks to all authors for contributing to the magazine, especially for the time and hard work it takes to make content accessible, and to the many reviewers who provided timely assessments and constructive comments to ensure the high technical and presenta- tion quality of the articles. You can find an annual index of authors and articles associated with each year-end issue of the magazine in IEEE Xplore. The collec- tive effort by authors, reviewers, and edi- tors helped our magazine reach an all-time high in impact factor (9.65) and article influ- ence score (4.02) in the most recent Jour- nal Citation Report. Last but not the least, I thank SPS staff members Rebecca Woll- man, Richard Baseil, Theresa Argiropoulos, Jessica Perry, and Deborah Blazek for their assistance, and I appreciate the thoughtful feedback and support from our readers.

The SPS Executive Committee has appointed Prof. Robert Heath as the next editor-in-chief of the magazine, effective January 2018. Robert is a world-renowned expert and proliferate researcher on signal processing for com- munications. Please join me in welcom- ing him. As I pass the baton, I take this opportunity to thank all supporters of the magazine in the past and appreciate the continued support in the years to come. Together, we can continue to build this pre- mier publication with a strong technical impact as well as indispensable benefits to our members and readers.

To quote Prof. Oppenheim: “There will always be signals, they will always need processing, and there will always be new applications, new mathematics, and new implementation technologies.” Let IEEE Signal Processing Magazine be your helpful companion in this ever- lasting journey of signal processing!

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