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Computational Journalist Nick Diakopoulos Appointed Assistant Professor at Philip Merrill College of Journalism, U of Maryland

April 2nd, 2014 Irfan Essa Posted in Computational Journalism, In The News, Nick Diakopoulos No Comments »

Congratulations to my Ph. D. Student Nicholas Diakopoulos and best wishes on his new position.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Computational journalist Nicholas A. Diakopoulos will be the newest assistant professor at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Dean Lucy Dalglish announced the appointment today.


With a background in computer science and human-computer interaction, Diakopoulos received his Ph.D. from the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech.  He was also a computing innovation fellow at the School of Communication and Information at Rutgers University from 2009-2011.

via Computational Journalist Nick Diakopoulos Appointed Assistant Professor.

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Atlanta Magazine Features, Thad Starner, “Magnifying glass”

March 3rd, 2014 Irfan Essa Posted in In The News, Thad Starner, Ubiquitous Computing No Comments »

A wonderful write up on my friend and colleague, Thad Starner in the Atlanta Magazine.  Worth a read for sure

“The guy with the computer on his face.” This would have been a fair description of Starner at almost any time over the past twenty years. He first built his own wearable computer with a head-mounted display in 1993, and has donned some version or another of the computer-eyepiece-Internet system most days since then. But over the previous year, something changed.

via Magnifying glass – Features – Atlanta Magazine.

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NAE elects Prof. Alex (Sandy) Pentland as a Member

March 1st, 2014 Irfan Essa Posted in In The News, Sandy Pentland No Comments »

Congratulations to my Ph. D. Advisor, Sandy Pentland for being elected to the National Academy of Engineering.

“For contributions to computer vision and technologies for measuring human social behavior.”

via NAE Website – Prof. Alex Pentland.

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Google I/O 2013: Secrets of Video Stabilization on YouTube

May 28th, 2013 Irfan Essa Posted in Computational Photography and Video, Google, In The News, Matthias Grundmann, Presentations, Vivek Kwatra 1 Comment »

Presentation at Google I/0 2013 by Matthias Grundmann, John Gregg, and Vivek Kwatra on our Video Stabilizer on YouTube

Video stabilization is a key component of YouTubes video enhancement tools and All YouTube uploads are automatically detected for shakiness and suggested stabilization if needed. This talk will describe the technical details behind our fully automatic one-click stabilization technology, including aspects such as camera path optimization, rolling shutter detection and removal, distributed computing for real-time previews, and camera shake detection. More info:

via Secrets of Video Stabilization on YouTube — Google I/O 2013.

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AT HIGH Museum/Lumière’s Fall Lecture and Panel Discussion on “Art In The Digital Culture… Threat or Opportunity?”

September 8th, 2012 Irfan Essa Posted in Computational Photography and Video, In The News, Presentations No Comments »

Wednesday September 19, 2012, 7:00pm in the Hill Auditorium, High Museum, Altanta.

In this sixth installment of Lumière’s Fall Lecture Series, Shannon Perich, curator of the photographic history collection at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, and Irfan Essa of the Georgia Institute of Technology will each speak to the future of art in a rapidly expanding digital culture. Their commentary will be followed by a panel discussion with audience participation. The panel will address the threats and opportunities created by a growing range of capabilities to create, distribute, and interact with art. Additional information is available at lecture is a collaborative event with the Atlanta Celebrates Photography 2012 Festival.

via Lumière’s Fall Lecture and Panel Discussion.

SLIDES now available here

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Video Stabilization on YouTube

May 6th, 2012 Irfan Essa Posted in Computational Photography and Video, Google, In The News, Matthias Grundmann, Vivek Kwatra No Comments »

Here is an excerpt from a Google Research Blog on our Video Stabilization on YouTube.  Now even more improved.

One thing we have been working on within Research at Google is developing methods for making casual videos look more professional, thereby providing users with a better viewing experience. Professional videos have several characteristics that differentiate them from casually shot videos. For example, in order to tell a story, cinematographers carefully control lighting and exposure and use specialized equipment to plan camera movement.

We have developed a technique that mimics professional camera moves and applies them to videos recorded by handheld devices. Cinematographers use specialized equipment such as tripods and dollies to plan their camera paths and hold them steady. In contrast, think of a video you shot using a mobile phone camera. How steady was your hand and were you able to anticipate an interesting moment and smoothly pan the camera to capture that moment? To bridge these differences, we propose an algorithm that automatically determines the best camera path and recasts the video as if it were filmed using stabilization equipment.

Via Video Stabilization on YouTube.

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Essa, Egerstedt Named IEEE Fellows | School of Interactive Computing

November 21st, 2011 Irfan Essa Posted in Awards, In The News No Comments »

Via Georgia Tech School of Interactive Computing‘s Website > Essa, Egerstedt Named IEEE Fellows.

The IEEE Board of Directors has elected professors Irfan Essa and Magnus Egerstedt (both Interactive Computing) as Fellows in its Class of 2012.

Essa is a professor whose research focus is in computer vision, computer graphics, computational perception, robotics and computer animation. In his Fellow citation, Essa was lauded for “contributions to computer vision and graphics.”

“I feel honored to be selected to be part of a group of my peers that I respect and who have made amazing contributions to their fields,” Essa said. “I am glad that my contributions to computer vision and graphics are considered worthy for this honor, and I intend to continue working on my multi-disciplinary research.”

Egerstedt, an adjunct faculty member in the School of Interactive Computing with a primary appointment in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, works in optimal control, as well as modeling and analysis of hybrid and discrete event systems, with emphasis on motion planning and control of (teams of) mobile robots. His IEEE citation acknowledged “contributions to hybrid and networked control, with applications in robotics.”

Both professors are affiliated with the Robotics & Intelligent Machines (RIM) Center.

The IEEE Grade of Fellow is conferred by the Board of Directors upon those members with extraordinary records of accomplishment in any IEEE field of interest. IEEE Fellow is the highest grade of membership and is recognized by the technical community as a prestigious honor and an important career achievement. For a full list of the Fellow Class of 2012, visit the IEEE website.

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In the News (2011): “Shake it like an Instagram picture — Online Video News”

September 15th, 2011 Irfan Essa Posted in Collaborators, Computational Photography and Video, Google, In The News, Matthias Grundmann, Vivek Kwatra, WWW No Comments »

Our work, as described in the following paper, now showcased in youtube.

  • M. Grundmann, V. Kwatra, and I. Essa (2011), “Auto-Directed Video Stabilization with Robust L1 Optimal Camera Paths,” in Proceedings of IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), 2011. [PDF] [WEBSITE] [VIDEO] [DEMO] [DOI] [BLOG] [BIBTEX]
      Author = {M. Grundmann and V. Kwatra and I. Essa},
      Blog = {},
      Booktitle = {Proceedings of IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR)},
      Date-Modified = {2013-10-22 13:55:15 +0000},
      Demo = {},
      Doi = {10.1109/CVPR.2011.5995525},
      Month = {June},
      Pdf = {},
      Publisher = {IEEE Computer Society},
      Title = {Auto-Directed Video Stabilization with Robust L1 Optimal Camera Paths},
      Url = {},
      Video = {},
      Year = {2011},
      Bdsk-Url-1 = {},
      Bdsk-Url-2 = {}}

YouTube effects: Shake it like an Instagram picture

via YouTube effects: Shake it like an Instagram picture — Online Video News.

YouTube users can now apply a number of Instagram-like effects to their videos, giving them a cartoonish or Lomo-like look with the click of a button. The effects are part of a new editing feature that also includes cropping and advanced image stabilization.

Taking the shaking out of video uploads should go a long way towards making some of the amateur footage captured on mobile phones more watchable, but it can also be resource-intensive — which is why Google’s engineers invented an entirely new approach toward image stabilization.

The new editing functionality will be part of YouTube’s video page, where a new “Edit video” button will offer access to filters and other editing functionality. This type of post-processing is separate from YouTube’s video editor, which allows to produce new videos based on existing clips.

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DEMO (2011): Auto-Directed Video Stabilization with Robust L1 Optimal Camera Paths – from Google Research Blog

June 20th, 2011 Irfan Essa Posted in Computational Photography and Video, In The News, Matthias Grundmann, Mobile Computing, PAMI/ICCV/CVPR/ECCV, Vivek Kwatra No Comments »

via Auto-Directed Video Stabilization with Robust L1 Optimal Camera Paths – Google Research Blog.

Auto-Directed Video Stabilization with Robust L1 Optimal Camera Paths
Posted by Matthias GrundmannVivek Kwatra, and Irfan Essa,

Earlier this year, we announced the launch of new features on the YouTube Video Editor, including stabilization for shaky videos, with the ability to preview them in real-time. The core technology behind this feature is detailed in this paper, which will be presented at the IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR 2011).

Casually shot videos captured by handheld or mobile cameras suffer from significant amount of shake. Existing in-camera stabilization methods dampen high-frequency jitter but do not suppress low-frequency movements and bounces, such as those observed in videos captured by a walking person. On the other hand, most professionally shot videos usually consist of carefully designed camera configurations, using specialized equipment such as tripods or camera dollies, and employ ease-in and ease-out for transitions. Our goal was to devise a completely automatic method for converting casual shaky footage into more pleasant and professional looking videos.

Our technique mimics the cinematographic principles outlined above by automatically determining the best camera path using a robust optimization technique. The original, shaky camera path is divided into a set of segments, each approximated by either a constant, linear or parabolic motion. Our optimization finds the best of all possible partitions using a computationally efficient and stable algorithm.

To achieve real-time performance on the web, we distribute the computation across multiple machines in the cloud. This enables us to provide users with a real-time preview and interactive control of the stabilized result. Above we provide a video demonstration of how to use this feature on the YouTube Editor. We will also demo this live at Google’s exhibition booth in CVPR 2011.

For more details see the Project Site. See the youtube video of the system on youtube. See the paper in PDF, and a technical video of the work.

Full paper is


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PhD Fellowships from Google Research for Matthias Grundmann

May 16th, 2011 Irfan Essa Posted in Awards, In The News, Matthias Grundmann No Comments »

Congratulations to Matthias Grundmann, winner of the Google PhD Fellowship in Computer Vision for 2012.

via PhD Fellowships – Google Research.

Google PhD Fellowship Program Overview

Nurturing and maintaining strong relations with the academic community is a top priority at Google. The Google U.S./Canada PhD Student Fellowship Program was created to recognize outstanding graduate students doing exceptional work in computer science, related disciplines, or promising research areas. Last year we awarded 14 unique fellowships to some amazing students in the US and Canada:

  • Matthias Grundmann, Google U.S./Canada Fellowship in Computer Vision (Georgia Institute of Technology)
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