Thursday, June 26, 2008

Adaptive Multimedia Retrieval 2008 in Berlin, June 26-27, 2008

The next two days, we are attending the Berlin Adaptve Multimedia Retrieval 2008 Workshop at the Heinrich Hertz Institute being located in downtown Berlin. So, it's pretty close to home and the only travelling involved was by S-Bahn :)

The first speaker is Francois Pachett from Sony CSL giving a keynote entitled "What are our audio features worth?"
The fundamental questions are "What makes objects what they are?", ""What are the features of subjectivity?", "How do we perceive objects and how can we transfer this to a machine?" Pachet's research is concerned with the classification of musical objects based on the so called polyphonic timbre that describes the sum of all features of a music object. Interesting thing is the identification of hubs, i.e. songs that are pretty close to every other song. Hubs in general seem to be mere artefacts of static models.
Interesting fact ist that there are companies now, predicting if your song is going to be a hit. Their judgement also relies on feature analysis and they even give recommendations how your song can be improvent to become a hit. Of course you have to pay for that service...but does it really work??

After the coffee break, there's a session on User-Adaptive Music Retrieval. The first talak is presented by Kay Wolter from Fraunhofer IDMT Ilmenau on "Adaptive User-Modelling for Content-Based Music Retrieval". They are adapting a content-based music retrieval system (CBMR) according to user preferences that are determined by acceptances and rejections of recommended songs by the user, which is furthermore used to improve the quality of music recommendations....Reminds me somehow to Pandora or
The second talk is presented by Sebastian Stober from Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg on "Towards User-Adaptive Structuring and Organization of Music Collections". So, wouldn't it be nice to structure your music collection automatically...but not in the way the software tells you, but the way you like it? The presented system is based on an general adaption approach using self-organizing maps that can be adapted by user interaction.

The first afternoon session is on "User-adaptive Web Retrieval" and starts with a presentation of Florian König from Johannes-Kepler-Universität Linz on "Using thematic ontologies for user- and group-based adaptive personalization in web searching". He introduces Prospector, which is a generic meta-search layer for Google, not constrained only to web search, based on re-ranking of search results and deploying user modells based on Open Directory Project (ODP) taxonomies. As far as I have understood, the applcation is based on the carrot2 framework for open source search engine result clustering.
Next, David Zellhöfer from BTU Cottbus presents on "A Poset Based Approach for Condition Weighting". Similarity search can be determined according to different conditions w.r.t. the search query. Esp. different people have different expectations if it comes to similarity. So, condition weights have to be determined by psychological experiments.

The second afternoon session is about "Music Tracking and Tumbnailing" and starts with a presentation of Tim Pohle from Johannes-Kepler-Universität Linz on "An Approach to Automatically Tracking Music Preference on Mobile Players". Ok, so the basic problem is, someday you will get bored by the music selection on your ipod. Therefore, the goal is to remove songs that you don't like anymore and replace them with new songs that you probably will like. How do you achieve this? Well, with according user feedback, i.e. by tracking the user's decision on choosing or skipping tracks. Tracks that have recently been skipped often will be dropped and replaced by tracks that are similar (according to some feature analyses) to the remaning tracks.
Next, Björn Schuller from Technische Universität Münschen is presenting on "One Day in Half an Hour: Music Thumbnailing Incorporating Harmony- and Rythm Structure". Music thumbnailing is some really cool feature, Just imagine, your sitting in your car and you are looking for another track to hear, but your player always starts songs at the beginning and they have long and boring intros. Therefore, getting to the most interesting (or significant) part of the song immediately would really be something...

The sessions close with an invited talk given by Stefan Weinzierl and Sascha Spors on "The Future of Audio Reproduction. Technology - Formats - Applications". Promissing title, let's see.... We start with a brief history of audio recording and reproduction technology starting from the very first phonograph to modern multichannel spatial surround sound systems. So, the future seems to be real sound field synthesis (wavefield synthesis, WFS) instead of relying on psycho-acustic effects as in today's stereo. Here, an array of loudspeakers reproduces exactly the wave front of the original sound source. For transmitting signals like this, no single channels are recorded anymore, but the original sound signal (without spatial characteristics of the room where it has been recorded, because this would interfere with the characteristics of the room, where it is reproduced) including movement and position of the sound source. Besides existing VRML and MPEG-4 Audio BIFS that focus more on visual scene description than on audio scene descriptions, there is the proposal of a new modeling language for high resolution spatial sound events called ASDF (Audio Scene Description Format).

[ be continued in Adaptive Multimedia Retrieval 2008 in Berlin, June 26-27, 2008 - Day 02]