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An overview of signal processing for multimedia, from the past to the future

Andy Tescher
Lockheed Martin

Multimedia, as an application, has at its very core the field of signal processing technology. Although, multimedia has leveraged on numerous disciplines, signal processing is the most relevant. Some of the basic concepts, such as spectral analyses, sampling theory and the theory of partial differential equations have become the fundamental building blocks for numerous applications and subsequently have been reinvented in such diverse areas as transform coding, display technology and neural networks. The latter, most recently, lead to a fast implementation of vector quantization. It is evident, that the diverse signal processing algorithms, concepts and applications are interconnected and in numerous instances appear in various reincarnated forms (Note, in this instance, reincarnation may not mean immortality, rather ignorance on part of the reinventor). For example, sub-band coding existed for many years before wavelets became fashionable. In this paper, an attempt will be made to provide a historical overview of signal processing through the present, followed by a highly personal speculation for the future.

Dr. Tescher is affiliated as a Technical Consultant with the Interactive Technology Center of Lockheed Martin Telecommunications and the Advanced Technology Center of Lockheed Martin Missile & Space. He has provided technical leadership in fields involving wide range of signal and image processing, radar systems, device technologies, communication studies and related system integration projects. His previous position included Laboratory Manager as well as several special assignments, such as Chief Scientist of a LANDSAT Program Office contract for development of multispectral compression system for space platform implementation. Currently, he is technology advisor on compression/ multimedia applications to the Interactive Technology Center of Lockheed Martin Telecommunications. He is the "principal" Lockheed Martin representative to several international standards organizations developing advanced multimedia technologies, including ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29/WG 1 (JPEG), ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29/WG 11 (MPEG) and ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29 (Plenary Committee). Previously, at the Aerospace Corporation, he was Director of Signal Processing Department (which he originally organized). He co-founded several high technology commercial companies in the teleconferencing fields. He had a special consulting assignment with Bosch Research Laboratories (Germany). His work at Bosch and other organizations has had a significant impact on low-bandwidth teleconferencing systems. Dr. Tescher is co-inventor of several teleconferencing systems and co-author of related key patents (these patents, in part, define the JPEG and MPEG transmission standards). Consulted extensively, both in commercial and defense related organizations. Dr. Tescher received several major professional awards including the Edward Rhein Prize from Germany's Edward Rhein Foundation (an organization dedicated to the advancement of television research), recipient of the Gold Medal (as well as the Governors' and President's Award) of SPIE. Both, the Edward Rhein Prize and the Gold Medal recognized Dr. Tescher's significant contributions to the image and video compression fields. Fellow and Life Member of SPIE, Fellow of the Optical Society of America, past director and past president of SPIE, his publication record includes over 80 papers covering compression technologies for commercial and space applications as well as other areas of signal processing. He has chaired numerous programs at international conferences. Dr. Tescher is currently an associate editor of Optical Engineering. He was recently appointed to chair the Industrial Advisory Board of the Integrated Media System Center (IMSC) of the University of Southern California (USC). IMSC is the National Science Center designated Engineering Research Center in Multimedia. Dr. Tescher received degrees from the City University of New York (BS), Polytechnic University of New York (MS) and the University of Southern California (Ph.D. in EE).

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