by Eleni Orphanoudakis

The Signal Processing Laboratory of the Institute of Computer Science (ICS) of the Foundation for Research and Technology – Hellas (FORTH) organized the international Winter School on Speech and Audio Processing for Immersive Environments and Future Interfaces of the IEEE Signal Processing Society, which took place from 16-20 January at FORTH, in Heraklion Crete, Greece.

The Winter School involved a series of lectures from distinguished researchers from all over the world and was focused on current research trends and applications in the areas of audio and speech signal processing. More specifically, current trends were presented in areas such as automatic speech recognition, speech synthesis, speech and audio modeling and coding, speech capture in noisy environments using one or more microphones, and 3D audio rendering using two or more loudspeakers. The Winter School also involved “hands-on” sessions, where students were able to work on practical aspects of speech and audio signal processing, as well as “demo” sessions where researchers from FORTH and other institutes demonstrated their implemented systems in these fields.

Many of the technologies that were presented in the school will be implemented and demonstrated in the context of the Ambient Intelligence (AmI) Program of FORTH-ICS. Specifically, sound-related technologies, which are a natural means of human-computer interaction in AmI environments, will be developed and demonstrated in a new laboratory space for 3D sound rendering and recording, to be included in an under-construction building on the FORTH campus which will be dedicated to AmI technologies.

This Winter School was the 4th in the Series of “Seasonal Schools in Signal Processing” (S3P Program) of the IEEE Signal Processing Society. Previous Seasonal Schools were organized in The Netherlands, Austria, and Taiwan. In the Winter School at FORTH, forty students and professionals participated from all around the world, with the opportunity to attend lectures taught by world-renowned researchers and to have a close interaction with them, but also to meet each other to strengthen the audio and speech research community.

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