The launch of Sputnik on October 4, 1957 was in many ways the birth of our current golden age of technology. It was an important technological achievement. It also stands as a milestone because of its political effect in the Western world. Americans were especially startled, perhaps even alarmed, by this Soviet achievement. It was seen by many as an indication that the Soviet educational system, with its emphasis on science and technology, was far exceeding the American system. Deep Cold War anxiety prompted unprecedented federal support for science and technology. Earlier support was much more narrowly targeted, such as to the Manhattan Project and the development of radar. In contrast, new programs in the wake of Sputnik supported science and engineering education at all levels.

The 50th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik provides an opportune moment to reflect on various technologies and what the next half century may hold. What are key challenges? Specifically, are there important problems in which Signal Processing, broadly defined, plays a central role? Wavelet-based techniques have proliferated. What would now constitute a theoretical advance? Are the most important problems theoretical or applied?

To address these questions, we have invited experts in theoretical and applied signal processing with interests ranging from imaging and communication to biology. They will share their insights on important challenges, emerging tools, and the prospects of the field. A roundtable discussion that closes the day focuses on start-up experiences and contrasting the roles and opportunities of industry and academia. The goal is a lively, informative and entertaining day.



8:30am Registration and Welcoming Reception (coffee)


Martin Hasler, EPFL

9:10am Michael Unser, EPFL
On Trees, Splines and Finite Rates of Innovation
9:35am Minh Do, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Signal Processing for Computational Imaging

Kannan Ramchandran, University of California, Berkeley

On the Importance of Being Disorganized: Signal Processing for Dense Networks

10:25am Coffee break

Albert Cohen, Université Pierre et Marie Curie

Matching vs. Basis Pursuit for Approximation and Learning: A Comparison


Antonio Ortega, University of Southern California

Video Coding: Predictions are Hard to Make, Especially About the Future

11:35am Jelena Kovacevic, Carnegie Mellon University
What can signal processing do for biological imaging?

Stéphane Mallat, École Polytechnique

Challenges of Image Processing Research in Industry

12:25pm Lunch
1:45pm Gil Strang, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Mathematics and Education in Signal Processing

Vivek Goyal, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Can signal processing stop destroying the planet?

2:35pm Thao Nguyen, City University of New York
By the way, what does ergodicity mean?

Ingrid Daubechies, Princeton University

ICA Decomposition for Brain fMRI: Sparsity Counts, not Independence!

3:25pm Coffee break

Pier Luigi Dragotti, Imperial College, London

On Detours, Yves, Martin and the Others


Michael Gastpar, University of California, Berkeley

Information Theory After Martin


Alon Orlitsky, University of California, San Diego

What can we learn from Martin's birthday?


Roundtable: Life Outside the Ivory Tower
Moderator: Stéphane Mallat

Serge Ayer, CTO, Dartfish
Matthias Grossglauser, EPFL and Nokia
Pina Marziliano, Nanyang Techn. Univ. & formerly Genimedia
Paolo Prandoni, EPFL and Founder, Quividi


Closing remarks (followed by reception)

Martin Vetterli, EPFL


Participation in the meeting was open to all, but registration is now closed because the event is over.

Email contact for lead organizer Vivek Goyal:

October 4th Throughout History

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