SCM's doctoral student wins first prize in regional paper contest

Louis Won

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Mr Zeng Jia, a doctoral student at City University of Hong Kong's School of Creative Media (SCM), has won first prize in the Postgraduate Section of the IEEE Region 10 Student Paper Contest 2005 with his research on active media system (AMS).


IEEE is the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Region 10, which is sometimes referred to as the Asia Pacific Region, is one of the largest regions worldwide of the professional body. It covers a geographical area stretching from South Korea and Japan in the northeast to New Zealand in the south, and Pakistan in the west.


Mr Zeng won this regional honour after getting second prize in the Postgraduate Section of a paper contest organized by the IEEE Hong Kong Section earlier this year.


These awards once again demonstrate that CityU excels in professional education and applied research, and the University's achievements are recognized both inside and outside Hong Kong.


Mr Zeng said he had not expected to win the top prize in the regional contest.


"It's a competition of the whole Asia Pacific region with a lot of contestants competing. The research papers cover a lot of different areas and it was very difficult to tell who would win," he said. "I'm very happy because this prize shows that my work and contribution to applied research have won some recognition."


AMS is a research project led by Mr Zeng's supervisor Professor Liu Zhi-qiang at SCM. The system can detect the presence of, and initiate interaction with, a user. The device then activates an application-programming interface for specific signal modality, such as face image and speech signal, to analyze and interpret the interests of the user, and then change the media content accordingly.


"AMS will fundamentally change the way the media information is presented," Professor Liu said. "It will actively engage the viewer with its media contents and be globally networked."


AMS is readily applicable to such areas as active advertisements, television programmes, education and learning.


Mr Zeng stressed that AMS was different from speech control devices.


"Speech control is a passive system because the user still has to give out orders. AMS, however, is an active system. There's no need to give out orders. Instead, the system will actively and subtly observe the user's gestures, the sounds the user utters, where on the screen the viewer looks at and so on, and will then change the media content," he said.


AMS is a very complicated piece of technology, and under the supervision of Professor Liu, Mr Zeng's award-winning paper focuses on improving the speech recognition aspect of the system. Based on the conventional speech recognition model called “Hidden Markov”, he proposed a new counterpart using “type-2 fuzzy techniques” to account for uncertainties in speech signals in real-time speech recognition systems.


Professor Liu said he was very happy that Mr Zeng had won this regional honour, praising him as a very dedicated student with excellent ability for carrying out outstanding research.


Mr Zeng was an engineering major at the Wuhan University of Technology, and he started his graduate studies in SCM in September 2003. He is expected to graduate with a PhD next year.


He said as a student in SCM he could now apply his engineering knowledge to the development of media technology. He added that coming to study at CityU had broadened his horizons because he could meet a lot of friends with different backgrounds.


"Apart from the engineering way, there are actually many other ways of solving problems," he said.




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