Fusion Confusion in Massachusetts

Today QxLab’s Dr Abubakr Siddig presented collaborative work on immersive multimedia. As part of the ACM MMSys conference in University of Massachusetts Amherst Campus, the International Workshop on IMmersive Mixed and Virtual Environment Systems, MMVE 2019 is celebrating its 11th edition.

The paper, Fusion Confusion: Exploring Ambisonic Spatial Localisation for Audio-Visual Immersion Using the McGurk Effect, looked at the relationship between visual cues and spatial localisation for speech sounds.

AbuBakr rehearsing his presentation at the QxLab group meeting

The paper found that the McGurk Effect, where visual cues for sounds override what you hear, occurs for spatial audio but is not sensitive to whether the speech sound is aligned in space with the lips of the speaker.

The research, carried out by QxLab’s UCD based researchers and funded by two SFI centre’s CONNECT and INSIGHT.

Well done to AbuBakr, the presentation and demo were well received by the workshop attendees.

Demo of the fusion confusion at MMVE.

QxLab at ISSC 2019

QxLab has two papers at the Irish Signals and Systems Conference in Maynooth University today.  MSc student, Tong Mo presented work of speech Quality of Experience. Her research investigated how computer models for speech quality prediction in systems such as Skype or Google Hangouts. She developed an algorithm to minimise errors in the presence of jitter buffers.







A second paper was presented by PhD candidate Hamed Jahromi entitled, “Establishing Waiting Time Thresholds in Interactive Web Mapping Applications for Network QoE Management.” Hamed’s work looked at the perception of time in web applications. Is an additional delay of half a second noticeable if you have already waited 5 seconds for a Google Map page to load? Time is not absolute and Hamed wants to understand the impact of delays on web applications in order to optimise network resources for interactive applications other than speech and video streaming. This work was co-authored with Delcan T. Delaney from UCD Engineering and Brendan Rooney from UCD Psychology.

This research was sponsored by UCD School of Computer Science and the SFI CONNECT Centre for Future Networks.










It was a lot of Hot Air compared to Quantum Computers

I was back at the RDS in Dublin visiting the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition. Beginning in 1963, the exhibition concept was created by to UCD academics from the School of Physics. Fast forward to 30 years ago and I participated for the first of two visits. Arriving in again to visit thirty years later, I was struck by the  professional finish of posters. So much has improved, but I still love the hand made stands and eye catching props to lure you into a project. As you can see from the newspaper clipping, our project may have involved a lot of hot air but I recall there was some scientific rigour to our methodology!

I met 2019 winner of the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition, Adam Kelly, while judging the national finals of SciFest 2018  where he also won first prize. As a judge I was struck by his demonstration of all the attributes of a quality scientist: imagination, methodology and a great ability to communicate the work. He knew what he had done and was able to explain what he had not done, and why. Adam’s project for SciFest was entitled ‘An Open Source Solution to Simulating Quantum Computers Using Hardware Acceleration’ and was the overall winner out of more than 10,000 students competed in the regional heats to progress to the national SciFest 2018 final.

Adam Kelly (Photo: Irish Times)

The event is an inspiring way to start the year: seeing the curiosity and scientific rigour on display by second level students who are motivated not by the prizes but by the desire to explore interesting questions.

Abbey Road Hackathon

QxLab’s Alessandro Ragano was in London’s Abbey Road Studio with his team ‘the Tailors’. The ‘Tailors’ helped find a way to provide an artificial companion for singers and songwriters. Taking lyrics and sentiment using Microsoft’s Cognitive APIs.

The 24 hour challenge, aimed to reinvent music innovation and production in collaboration with Microsoft to transform the way we create and experience music. Top industry mentors will assist participants as they work together to create solutions and explore questions.

Video credit: @abbeyroadred

Dr AbuBakr Siddig joins QxLab

The SFI CONNECT research centre for future networks project has funded  the recruitment of a new postdoctoral research fellow at QxLab. Dr AbuBakr Siddig completed a PhD at University College Dublin and an MSc in Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden. He brings experience in digital signal processing and 802.11 wireless networking to the group. Welcome AbuBakr!

Andrew is now a Senior Member of the IEEE

In recognition of his contributions to the profession, Andrew has been elevated to Senior Member status in the IEEE. And he even got a nice wooden plaque to prove it!

The IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) is a professional association with over 430,000 members worldwide and is active in related industry standards, conferences, and publications.

New Project: QoE for Digital Audio Archive Restoration

As part of the SFI 2018 PhD Recruitment Programme, Dr Andrew Hines, who joined Insight@UCD as a funded investigator during the summer, has recruited Alessandro Ragano as a PhD student. After completing his MSc at Politecnico di Milano, Alessandro spent time as a research assistant at Fraunhofer IIS. He will be co-supervised by Dr Emmanouil Benetos of the Alan Turing Institute and Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). As part of his PhD programme Alessandro will be spending one year in London at the ATI headquarters next door to the British Library. His research will investigate using data-driven quality prediction models for digitally restored audio archives. Welcome to QxLab and Insight@UCD Alessandro.





Data is Toxic: How do you trade-off functionality but balance the security and performance for databases?

In the Untouchables, Seán Connery’s character observes the need to match the tool to the job. Commenting on the dangers for someone who “brings a knife to a gunfight”.

Daniel was in Queen’s University Belfast at the 29th IEEE Irish Signals and systems conference presenting his work on property preserving encryption analysis. He carried out micro-benchmarks on MySQL and CryptDB. Will deterministic suffice or homomorphic encryption needed to maintain functionality?

Andrew also attended the conference and co-chaired a session.

isscmicrobenchmarkpaper isscprogramme