Nav: Home

UC San Diego wireless expert named IEEE Fellow

December 12, 2007

For her contributions to image and video compression and wireless communications, Pamela Cosman, an electrical engineering professor from UCSD's Jacobs School of Engineering, has been elected an IEEE fellow.

Cosman is the Director of the Center for Wireless Communications at the Jacobs School and the editor-in-chief of the IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications.

"I do quite a bit of research in the area of wireless video. Part of that is straight compression algorithms and part of that is compression algorithms combined with error correction coding - because when you transmit wirelessly there are a lot of different losses that occur," said Cosman.

"I have looked at many different aspects of the challenge of making video compression error resilient - so that your signal doesn't collapse completely from one error. I have also investigated ways that the decoder can conceal loss-related errors from the viewer."

When asked about future trends, Cosman said, "I think one of the big things is going to be scalable video - where transmitted video can be flexibly rescaled for different spatial resolutions, different temporal resolutions and different complexity levels depending on what kind of device is going to receive them."

Cosman also pointed out the rising interest in relays - small devices that can be widely distributed and serve to pass wireless signals through walls or other obstructions. "Relays may be rescaling the signal or changing the amount of error correction redundancy or doing other things to the video stream to optimize it for specific channel conditions or for whatever the final device is going to be," said Cosman.

Another fixture of our technological future, according to Cosman, will be an increased prevalence of cameras.

"I think cameras are going to be all over the place, for medical applications, home monitoring, surveillance, security applications, manufacturing, agricultural inspection...all kinds of things. I think cameras are going to be absolutely pervasive in the world around us. Looking at everything. Interpreting everything. Transmitting information all over the place," said Cosman.

With cameras everywhere, the amount of data collected will be tremendous. It will be important for computers to automatically figure out what is in the data, interpret the video and distill the key elements. For example, is there a person walking in this scene or not" Is the fruit ripe or not"

"You want to distill it down to a little piece of information rather than storing all the raw pixels," said Cosman.

Early in her career, Cosman worked on quality evaluation of compressed medical images. Radiologists were asked to look at either compressed or original medical images and make diagnoses. Cosman wanted to see if the compression affected the diagnostic outcome. "This early work had a big effect on research that other people were doing, and my research was presented to the Food and Drug Administration when they were contemplating the use of compression in medical imaging devices."

When asked what advice she would give high school students thinking about majoring in engineering, she said, "It's really important to do well in math. Everything is built so hierarchically on the math foundation. As a high school student, you need to be very solid on that or you're going to have a hard time later on."

Cosman also responded to the question, How do you know if engineering is going to be a good match for you"

"It's often hard to tell if engineering is something that is for you. As a college freshman you're not taking a whole lot of actual engineering classes. You're mostly doing your basic math and physics and so it takes a while to get into it to see if you like it. I think it would be helpful to meet some working engineers and talk to them and find out what people do all day long in their jobs. It is also useful to talk to different kinds of engineers because even within just electrical engineering there is enormous variety in what people are doing. And certainly when you look at other kinds of engineering, the spectrum is vast. I think a lot of people don't realize just how big and varied engineering is. They think of engineering as sort of one unified thing where everyone is doing similar jobs. It's not at all like that."

Cosman joined the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering faculty in July of 1995. Prior to coming to UCSD, she was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Minnesota, and a postdoctoral fellow and lecturer with the Information Systems Laboratory at Stanford University. Cosman earned a Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1993 and a B.S.E.E. from the California Institute of Technology in 1987.

As the Director of the Center for Wireless Communications, Cosman directs an industrially supported group of UCSD professors who do research on all aspects of wireless communications including communication theory, networking, RF circuits, antennas and propagation, and multimedia. The CWC primarily operates within the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, with some participation from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering.

Cosman is also affiliated with the UCSD Division of Calit2, the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology.
-end-
Watch some of the highlights of a video interview with Pam Cosman at http://video-jsoe.ucsd.edu/asx/2007_Cosman_IEEE_Fellow_Video.wmv.asx

You can read more background from Cosman on decoders, encoders and the challenges of video compression in a wireless environment at http://www.jacobsschool.ucsd.edu/news/news_releases/release.sfe?id=604.

University of California - San Diego

Related Engineering Articles:

Engineering the meniscus
Damage to the meniscus is common, but there remains an unmet need for improved restorative therapies that can overcome poor healing in the avascular regions.
Artificially engineering the intestine
Short bowel syndrome is a debilitating condition with few treatment options, and these treatments have limited efficacy.
Reverse engineering the fireworks of life
An interdisciplinary team of Princeton researchers has successfully reverse engineered the components and sequence of events that lead to microtubule branching.
New method for engineering metabolic pathways
Two approaches provide a faster way to create enzymes and analyze their reactions, leading to the design of more complex molecules.
Engineering for high-speed devices
A research team from the University of Delaware has developed cutting-edge technology for photonics devices that could enable faster communications between phones and computers.
Breakthrough in blood vessel engineering
Growing functional blood vessel networks is no easy task. Previously, other groups have made networks that span millimeters in size.
Next-gen batteries possible with new engineering approach
Dramatically longer-lasting, faster-charging and safer lithium metal batteries may be possible, according to Penn State research, recently published in Nature Energy.
What can snakes teach us about engineering friction?
If you want to know how to make a sneaker with better traction, just ask a snake.
Engineering a plastic-eating enzyme
Scientists have engineered an enzyme which can digest some of our most commonly polluting plastics, providing a potential solution to one of the world's biggest environmental problems.
A new way to do metabolic engineering
University of Illinois researchers have created a novel metabolic engineering method that combines transcriptional activation, transcriptional interference, and gene deletion, and executes them simultaneously, making the process faster and easier.
More Engineering News and Engineering Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Clint Smith
The killing of George Floyd by a police officer has sparked massive protests nationwide. This hour, writer and scholar Clint Smith reflects on this moment, through conversation, letters, and poetry.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 6: Strange Times
Covid has disrupted the most basic routines of our days and nights. But in the middle of a conversation about how to fight the virus, we find a place impervious to the stalled plans and frenetic demands of the outside world. It's a very different kind of front line, where urgent work means moving slow, and time is marked out in tiny pre-planned steps. Then, on a walk through the woods, we consider how the tempo of our lives affects our minds and discover how the beats of biology shape our bodies. This episode was produced with help from Molly Webster and Tracie Hunte. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.