News & Events

158 News items, Awards, Events or Talks found.



Learn about the MERL Seminar Series.



  •  EVENT    MERL's Virtual Open House 2022
    Date & Time: Monday, December 12, 2022; 1:00pm-5:30pm ET
    Location: Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories (MERL)/Virtual
    Research Areas: Applied Physics, Artificial Intelligence, Communications, Computational Sensing, Computer Vision, Control, Data Analytics, Dynamical Systems, Electric Systems, Electronic and Photonic Devices, Machine Learning, Multi-Physical Modeling, Optimization, Robotics, Signal Processing, Speech & Audio, Digital Video
    Brief
    • Join MERL's virtual open house on December 12th, 2022! Featuring a keynote, live sessions, research area booths, and opportunities to interact with our research team. Discover who we are and what we do, and learn about internship and employment opportunities.
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  •  NEWS    MERL researchers presenting five papers at NeurIPS 2022
    Date: November 29, 2022 - December 9, 2022
    Where: NeurIPS 2022
    MERL Contacts: Moitreya Chatterjee; Anoop Cherian; Michael J. Jones; Suhas Lohit
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Computer Vision, Machine Learning, Speech & Audio
    Brief
    • MERL researchers are presenting 5 papers at the NeurIPS Conference, which will be held in New Orleans from Nov 29-Dec 1st, with virtual presentations in the following week. NeurIPS is one of the most prestigious and competitive international conferences in machine learning.

      MERL papers in NeurIPS 2022:

      1. “AVLEN: Audio-Visual-Language Embodied Navigation in 3D Environments” by Sudipta Paul, Amit Roy-Chowdhary, and Anoop Cherian

      This work proposes a unified multimodal task for audio-visual embodied navigation where the navigating agent can also interact and seek help from a human/oracle in natural language when it is uncertain of its navigation actions. We propose a multimodal deep hierarchical reinforcement learning framework for solving this challenging task that allows the agent to learn when to seek help and how to use the language instructions. AVLEN agents can interact anywhere in the 3D navigation space and demonstrate state-of-the-art performances when the audio-goal is sporadic or when distractor sounds are present.

      2. “Learning Partial Equivariances From Data” by David W. Romero and Suhas Lohit

      Group equivariance serves as a good prior improving data efficiency and generalization for deep neural networks, especially in settings with data or memory constraints. However, if the symmetry groups are misspecified, equivariance can be overly restrictive and lead to bad performance. This paper shows how to build partial group convolutional neural networks that learn to adapt the equivariance levels at each layer that are suitable for the task at hand directly from data. This improves performance while retaining equivariance properties approximately.

      3. “Learning Audio-Visual Dynamics Using Scene Graphs for Audio Source Separation” by Moitreya Chatterjee, Narendra Ahuja, and Anoop Cherian

      There often exist strong correlations between the 3D motion dynamics of a sounding source and its sound being heard, especially when the source is moving towards or away from the microphone. In this paper, we propose an audio-visual scene-graph that learns and leverages such correlations for improved visually-guided audio separation from an audio mixture, while also allowing predicting the direction of motion of the sound source.

      4. “What Makes a "Good" Data Augmentation in Knowledge Distillation - A Statistical Perspective” by Huan Wang, Suhas Lohit, Michael Jones, and Yun Fu

      This paper presents theoretical and practical results for understanding what makes a particular data augmentation technique (DA) suitable for knowledge distillation (KD). We design a simple metric that works very well in practice to predict the effectiveness of DA for KD. Based on this metric, we also propose a new data augmentation technique that outperforms other methods for knowledge distillation in image recognition networks.

      5. “FeLMi : Few shot Learning with hard Mixup” by Aniket Roy, Anshul Shah, Ketul Shah, Prithviraj Dhar, Anoop Cherian, and Rama Chellappa

      Learning from only a few examples is a fundamental challenge in machine learning. Recent approaches show benefits by learning a feature extractor on the abundant and labeled base examples and transferring these to the fewer novel examples. However, the latter stage is often prone to overfitting due to the small size of few-shot datasets. In this paper, we propose a novel uncertainty-based criteria to synthetically produce “hard” and useful data by mixing up real data samples. Our approach leads to state-of-the-art results on various computer vision few-shot benchmarks.
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  •  TALK    [MERL Seminar Series 2022] Prof. Jiajun Wu presents talk titled Understanding the Visual World Through Naturally Supervised Code
    Date & Time: Tuesday, November 1, 2022; 1:00 PM
    Speaker: Jiajun Wu, Stanford University
    MERL Host: Anoop Cherian
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Computer Vision, Machine Learning
    Abstract
    • The visual world has its inherent structure: scenes are made of multiple identical objects; different objects may have the same color or material, with a regular layout; each object can be symmetric and have repetitive parts. How can we infer, represent, and use such structure from raw data, without hampering the expressiveness of neural networks? In this talk, I will demonstrate that such structure, or code, can be learned from natural supervision. Here, natural supervision can be from pixels, where neuro-symbolic methods automatically discover repetitive parts and objects for scene synthesis. It can also be from objects, where humans during fabrication introduce priors that can be leveraged by machines to infer regular intrinsics such as texture and material. When solving these problems, structured representations and neural nets play complementary roles: it is more data-efficient to learn with structured representations, and they generalize better to new scenarios with robustly captured high-level information; neural nets effectively extract complex, low-level features from cluttered and noisy visual data.
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  •  NEWS    MERL Researcher Kyeong Jin Kim organizes the second international workshop in 2023 IEEE International Conference on Communications (ICC).
    Date: May 28, 2023 - June 1, 2023
    Where: Rome, Italy
    MERL Contact: Kyeong Jin (K.J.) Kim
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Communications, Computational Sensing, Machine Learning, Signal Processing
    Brief
    • Kyeong Jin Kim, a Senior Principal Research Scientist in the Connectivity & Information Processing Team, organizes the second international workshop in 2023 IEEE International Conference on Communications (ICC). The workshop is titled, "Industrial Private 5G-and-beyond Wireless Networks," and aims to bring researchers for technical discussion on fundamental and practically relevant questions to many emerging challenges in industrial private wireless networks. This workshop is also being organized with the help of other researchers from industry and academia such as Huawei Technology, University of South Florida, Aalborg University, Jinan University, and South China University of Technology. IEEE ICC is one of two IEEE Communications Society's flagship conferences.
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  •  TALK    A Tunable Control/Learning Framework for Autonomous Systems
    Date & Time: Thursday, October 13, 2022; 1:30pm-2:30pm
    Speaker: Prof. Shaoshuai Mou, Purdue University
    MERL Host: Yebin Wang
    Research Areas: Control, Machine Learning, Optimization
    Abstract
    • Modern society has been relying more and more on engineering advance of autonomous systems, ranging from individual systems (such as a robotic arm for manufacturing, a self-driving car, or an autonomous vehicle for planetary exploration) to cooperative systems (such as a human-robot team, swarms of drones, etc). In this talk we will present our most recent progress in developing a fundamental framework for learning and control in autonomous systems. The framework comes from a differentiation of Pontryagin’s Maximum Principle and is able to provide a unified solution to three classes of learning/control tasks, i.e. adaptive autonomy, inverse optimization, and system identification. We will also present applications of this framework into human-autonomy teaming, especially in enabling an autonomous system to take guidance from human operators, which is usually sparse and vague.
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  •  NEWS    MERL Researcher Interviewed by Globest.com about "High Tech Airflow Control for Smarter Energy Use"
    Date: August 25, 2022
    MERL Contacts: Saleh Nabi; Anthony Vetro
    Research Areas: Dynamical Systems, Machine Learning, Multi-Physical Modeling
    Brief
    • MERL researcher Saleh Nabi was interviewed by Globest.com regarding the use of airflow optimization for smarter energy use and disease prevention. The article titled "High Tech Airflow Control for Smarter Energy Use: Reducing costs and improving effectiveness means a lot of tricky math" was recently published and describes how the solutions to complex fluid dynamical equations leads to improved HVAC control.

      Globest.com is a trusted and independent team of experts providing commercial real estate professionals with comprehensive coverage and best practices necessary to innovate and build their businesses. More details about Globest can be found here: https://www.globest.com/static/about-us/
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  •  EVENT    SANE 2022 - Speech and Audio in the Northeast
    Date: Thursday, October 6, 2022
    Location: Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA
    MERL Contacts: Anoop Cherian; Jonathan Le Roux
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Computer Vision, Machine Learning, Speech & Audio
    Brief
    • SANE 2022, a one-day event gathering researchers and students in speech and audio from the Northeast of the American continent, was held on Thursday October 6, 2022 in Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA.

      It was the 9th edition in the SANE series of workshops, which started in 2012 and was held every year alternately in Boston and New York until 2019. Since the first edition, the audience has grown to a record 200 participants and 45 posters in 2019. After a 2-year hiatus due to the pandemic, SANE returned with an in-person gathering of 140 students and researchers.

      SANE 2022 featured invited talks by seven leading researchers from the Northeast: Rupal Patel (Northeastern/VocaliD), Wei-Ning Hsu (Meta FAIR), Scott Wisdom (Google), Tara Sainath (Google), Shinji Watanabe (CMU), Anoop Cherian (MERL), and Chuang Gan (UMass Amherst/MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab). It also featured a lively poster session with 29 posters.

      SANE 2022 was co-organized by Jonathan Le Roux (MERL), Arnab Ghoshal (Apple), John Hershey (Google), and Shinji Watanabe (CMU). SANE remained a free event thanks to generous sponsorship by Bose, Google, MERL, and Microsoft.

      Slides and videos of the talks will be released on the SANE workshop website.
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  •  NEWS    Rien Quirynen gives invited talk at ELO-X Workshop on Embedded Optimization and Learning for Robotics and Mechatronics
    Date: October 10, 2022 - October 11, 2022
    Where: University of Freiburg, Germany
    MERL Contact: Rien Quirynen
    Research Areas: Control, Machine Learning, Optimization
    Brief
    • Rien Quirynen is an invited speaker at an international workshop on Embedded Optimization and Learning for Robotics and Mechatronics, which is organized by the ELO-X project at the University of Freiburg in Germany. This talk, entitled "Embedded learning, optimization and predictive control for autonomous vehicles", presents recent results from multiple projects at MERL that leverage embedded optimization, machine learning and optimal control for autonomous vehicles.

      This workshop is part of the ELO-X Fall School and Workshop. Invited external lecturers will present state-of-the-art techniques and applications in the field of Embedded Optimization and Learning. ELO-X is a Marie Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN) funded by the European Commission Horizon 2020 program.
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  •  NEWS    MERL launches Postdoctoral Research Fellow program
    Date: September 21, 2022
    MERL Contacts: Philip V. Orlik; Anthony Vetro
    Research Areas: Applied Physics, Artificial Intelligence, Communications, Computational Sensing, Computer Vision, Control, Data Analytics, Dynamical Systems, Electric Systems, Electronic and Photonic Devices, Machine Learning, Multi-Physical Modeling, Optimization, Robotics, Signal Processing, Speech & Audio
    Brief
    • Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories (MERL) invites qualified postdoctoral candidates to apply for the position of Postdoctoral Research Fellow. This position provides early career scientists the opportunity to work at a unique, academically-oriented industrial research laboratory. Successful candidates will be expected to define and pursue their own original research agenda, explore connections to established laboratory initiatives, and publish high impact articles in leading venues. Please refer to our web page for further details.
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  •  TALK    [MERL Seminar Series 2022] Prof. Chuang Gan presents talk titled Learning to Perceive Physical Scenes from Multi-Sensory Data
    Date & Time: Tuesday, September 6, 2022; 12:00 PM EDT
    Speaker: Chuang Gan, UMass Amherst & MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab
    MERL Host: Jonathan Le Roux
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Computer Vision, Machine Learning, Speech & Audio
    Abstract
    • Human sensory perception of the physical world is rich and multimodal and can flexibly integrate input from all five sensory modalities -- vision, touch, smell, hearing, and taste. However, in AI, attention has primarily focused on visual perception. In this talk, I will introduce my efforts in connecting vision with sound, which will allow machine perception systems to see objects and infer physics from multi-sensory data. In the first part of my talk, I will introduce a. self-supervised approach that could learn to parse images and separate the sound sources by watching and listening to unlabeled videos without requiring additional manual supervision. In the second part of my talk, I will show we may further infer the underlying causal structure in 3D environments through visual and auditory observations. This enables agents to seek the sound source of repeating environmental sound (e.g., alarm) or identify what object has fallen, and where, from an intermittent impact sound.
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  •  NEWS    MERL congratulates Prof. Alex Waibel on receiving 2023 IEEE James L. Flanagan Speech and Audio Processing Award
    Date: August 22, 2022
    MERL Contacts: Chiori Hori; Jonathan Le Roux; Anthony Vetro
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Speech & Audio
    Brief
    • IEEE has announced that the recipient of the 2023 IEEE James L. Flanagan Speech and Audio Processing Award will be Prof. Alex Waibel (CMU/Karlsruhe Institute of Technology), “For pioneering contributions to spoken language translation and supporting technologies.” Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories (MERL), which has become the new sponsor of this prestigious award in 2022, extends our warmest congratulations to Prof. Waibel.

      MERL Senior Principal Research Scientist Dr. Chiori Hori, who worked with Dr. Waibel at Carnegie Mellon University and collaborated with him as part of national projects on speech summarization and translation, comments on his invaluable contributions to the field: “He has contributed not only to the invention of groundbreaking technology in speech and spoken language processing but also to the promotion of an abundance of research projects through international research consortiums by linking American, European, and Asian research communities. Many of his former laboratory members and collaborators are now leading R&D in the AI field.”

      The IEEE Board of Directors established the IEEE James L. Flanagan Speech and Audio Processing Award in 2002 for outstanding contributions to the advancement of speech and/or audio signal processing. This award has recognized the contributions of some of the most renowned pioneers and leaders in their respective fields. MERL is proud to support the recognition of outstanding contributions to the field of speech and audio processing through its sponsorship of this award.
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  •  NEWS    MERL researchers win ASME Energy Systems Technical Committee Best Paper Award at 2022 American Control Conference
    Date: June 8, 2022
    Where: 2022 American Control Conference
    MERL Contacts: Ankush Chakrabarty; Christopher R. Laughman
    Research Areas: Control, Machine Learning, Multi-Physical Modeling, Optimization
    Brief
    • Researchers from EPFL (Wenjie Xu, Colin Jones) and EMPA (Bratislav Svetozarevic), in collaboration with MERL researchers Ankush Chakrabarty and Chris Laughman, recently won the ASME Energy Systems Technical Committee Best Paper Award at the 2022 American Control Conference for their work on "VABO: Violation-Aware Bayesian Optimization for Closed-Loop Performance Optimization with Unmodeled Constraints" out of 19 nominations and 3 finalists. The paper describes a data-driven framework for optimizing the performance of constrained control systems by systematically re-evaluating how cautiously/aggressively one should explore the search space to avoid sustained, large-magnitude constraint violations while tolerating small violations, and demonstrates these methods on a physics-based model of a vapor compression cycle.
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  •  NEWS    MERL researchers presented 9 papers at the American Control Conference (ACC)
    Date: June 8, 2022 - June 10, 2022
    Where: Atlanta, GA
    MERL Contacts: Karl Berntorp; Scott A. Bortoff; Ankush Chakrabarty; Stefano Di Cairano; Christopher R. Laughman; Marcel Menner; Rien Quirynen; Abraham P. Vinod; Avishai Weiss
    Research Areas: Control, Machine Learning, Optimization
    Brief
    • At the American Control Conference in Atlanta, GA, MERL presented 9 papers on subjects including autonomous-vehicle decision making and motion planning, realtime Bayesian inference and learning, reference governors for hybrid systems, Bayesian optimization, and nonlinear control.
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  •  NEWS    MERL researchers presented 5 papers and an invited workshop talk at ICRA 2022
    Date: May 23, 2022 - May 27, 2022
    Where: International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA)
    MERL Contacts: Ankush Chakrabarty; Stefano Di Cairano; Siddarth Jain; Devesh K. Jha; Pedro Miraldo; Daniel N. Nikovski; Rien Quirynen; Arvind Raghunathan; Diego Romeres; Abraham P. Vinod; Yebin Wang
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Robotics
    Brief
    • MERL researchers presented 5 papers at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) that was held in Philadelphia from May 23-27, 2022. The papers covered a broad range of topics from manipulation, tactile sensing, planning and multi-agent control. The invited talk was presented in the "Workshop on Collaborative Robots and Work of the Future" which covered some of the work done by MERL researchers on collaborative robotic assembly. The workshop was co-organized by MERL, Mitsubishi Electric Automation's North America Development Center (NADC), and MIT.
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  •  NEWS    MERL Scientists Presenting 5 Papers at IEEE International Conference on Communications (ICC) 2022
    Date: May 16, 2022 - May 20, 2022
    Where: Seoul, Korea
    MERL Contacts: Jianlin Guo; Kyeong Jin (K.J.) Kim; Toshiaki Koike-Akino; Philip V. Orlik; Kieran Parsons; Pu (Perry) Wang; Ye Wang
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Communications, Computational Sensing, Computer Vision, Machine Learning, Signal Processing
    Brief
    • MERL Connectivity & Information Processing Team scientists remotely presented 5 papers at the IEEE International Conference on Communications (ICC) 2022, held in Seoul Korea on May 16-20, 2022. Topics presented include recent advancements in communications technologies, deep learning methods, and quantum machine learning (QML). Presentation videos are also found on our YouTube channel. In addition, K. J. Kim organized "Industrial Private 5G-and-beyond Wireless Networks Workshop" at the conference.

      IEEE ICC is one of two IEEE Communications Society’s flagship conferences (ICC and Globecom). Each year, close to 2,000 attendees from over 70 countries attend IEEE ICC to take advantage of a program which consists of exciting keynote session, robust technical paper sessions, innovative tutorials and workshops, and engaging industry sessions. This 5-day event is known for bringing together audiences from both industry and academia to learn about the latest research and innovations in communications and networking technology, share ideas and best practices, and collaborate on future projects.
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  •  NEWS    Arvind Raghunathan's publication is Featured Article in the current issue of the INFORMS Journal on Computing
    Date: April 1, 2022
    Where: INFORMS Journal on Computing (https://pubsonline.informs.org/journal/ijoc)
    MERL Contact: Arvind Raghunathan
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Optimization
    Brief
    • Arvind Raghunathan co-authored a publication titled "JANOS: An Integrated Predictive and Prescriptive Modeling Framework" which has been chosen as a Featured Article in the current issue of the INFORMS Journal on Computing. The article was co-authored with Prof. David Bergman, a collaborator of MERL and Teng Huang, a former MERL intern, among others.

      The paper describes a new software tool, JANOS, that integrates predictive modeling and discrete optimization to assist decision making. Specifically, the proposed solver takes as input user-specified pretrained predictive models and formulates optimization models directly over those predictive models by embedding them within an optimization model through linear transformations.
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  •  NEWS    Toshiaki Koike-Akino gave an invited lecture to USPTO on advanced photonics
    Date: May 4, 2022
    MERL Contact: Toshiaki Koike-Akino
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Communications, Electronic and Photonic Devices, Machine Learning, Optimization, Signal Processing
    Brief
    • Toshiaki Koike-Akino gave an invited lecture on advanced photonic devices at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Technology Fair on May 4, 2022. Topics of the lecture included the recent progress of applied artificial intelligence (AI) technologies for optical systems, nano-photonic devices, and quantum technology. During the 2-hour interactive online presentation, he lectured to more than 200 patent examiner participants.

      USPTO Tech Fair Organizer mentioned:
      "Thank you very much for representing Advanced Photonic Devices at this year’s Technology Center 2800 Virtual Tech Fair held May 4th, 2022. Tech Fair is an important part of the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Examiner Technical Training Program (PETTP). Having a scientifically well-trained examiner workforce and ensuring the quality, consistency, and reliability of issued patents are top priorities at the USPTO. The PETTP is designed to achieve those priorities by giving examiners direct access to technical experts who are willing to share their knowledge about prior art and industry standards for both emerging and established technologies. Experts like yourself help to maintain our high quality of patent examination by keeping examiners updated on technologies and innovations pertinent to their field of examination.
      We very much appreciate your efforts, time, and contributions."
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  •  TALK    [MERL Seminar Series 2022] Prof. Vincent Sitzmann presents talk titled Self-Supervised Scene Representation Learning
    Date & Time: Wednesday, March 30, 2022; 11:00 AM EDT
    Speaker: Vincent Sitzmann, MIT
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Computer Vision, Machine Learning
    Abstract
    • Given only a single picture, people are capable of inferring a mental representation that encodes rich information about the underlying 3D scene. We acquire this skill not through massive labeled datasets of 3D scenes, but through self-supervised observation and interaction. Building machines that can infer similarly rich neural scene representations is critical if they are to one day parallel people’s ability to understand, navigate, and interact with their surroundings. This poses a unique set of challenges that sets neural scene representations apart from conventional representations of 3D scenes: Rendering and processing operations need to be differentiable, and the type of information they encode is unknown a priori, requiring them to be extraordinarily flexible. At the same time, training them without ground-truth 3D supervision is an underdetermined problem, highlighting the need for structure and inductive biases without which models converge to spurious explanations.

      I will demonstrate how we can equip neural networks with inductive biases that enables them to learn 3D geometry, appearance, and even semantic information, self-supervised only from posed images. I will show how this approach unlocks the learning of priors, enabling 3D reconstruction from only a single posed 2D image, and how we may extend these representations to other modalities such as sound. I will then discuss recent work on learning the neural rendering operator to make rendering and training fast, and how this speed-up enables us to learn object-centric neural scene representations, learning to decompose 3D scenes into objects, given only images. Finally, I will talk about a recent application of self-supervised scene representation learning in robotic manipulation, where it enables us to learn to manipulate classes of objects in unseen poses from only a handful of human demonstrations.
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  •  NEWS    Rui Ma gives an Invited Talk on Digital Intensive PA/Transmitter for RF Communications Workshop at IMS2022
    Date: June 19, 2022
    Research Areas: Communications, Electronic and Photonic Devices, Machine Learning
    Brief
    • MERL Researcher Rui Ma will give an invited talk titled "All Digital Transmitter with GaN Switching Mode Power Amplifiers"at a technical workshop during International Microwave Symposium (IMS)2022. This IMS workshop (WSN) invites members from academia and industry to discuss the latest development activities in the area of digital-intensive power amplifiers and transmitters for RF communications.

      In addition, Dr. Rui Ma is chairing a Technical Session(We2C) on "AI/ML on RF and mmWave Applications" at IMS2022.

      IMS is the flagship annual conference of IEEE Microwave Theory and Technology Society(MTT-S).

      Learn more here:
      Sessions
      Workshops
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  •  AWARD    Japan Telecommunications Advancement Foundation Award
    Date: March 15, 2022
    Awarded to: Yukimasa Nagai, Jianlin Guo, Philip Orlik, Takenori Sumi, Benjamin A. Rolfe and Hiroshi Mineno
    MERL Contacts: Jianlin Guo; Philip V. Orlik
    Research Areas: Communications, Machine Learning
    Brief
    • MELCO/MERL research paper “Sub-1 GHz Frequency Band Wireless Coexistence for the Internet of Things” has won the 37th Telecommunications Advancement Foundation Award (Telecom System Technology Award) in Japan. This award started in 1984, and is given to research papers and works related to information and telecommunications that have made significant contributions and achievements to the advancement, development, and standardization of information and telecommunications from technical and engineering perspectives. The award recognizes both the IEEE 802.19.3 standardization efforts and the technological advancements using reinforcement learning and robust access methodologies for wireless communication system. This year, there were 43 entries with 5 winning awards and 3 winning encouragement awards. This is the first time MELCO/MERL has received this award. Our paper has been published by IEEE Access in 2021 and authors are Yukimasa Nagai, Jianlin Guo, Philip Orlik, Takenori Sumi, Benjamin A. Rolfe and Hiroshi Mineno.
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  •  NEWS    Devesh Jha delivers invited talk at Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, NYU
    Date: March 1, 2022
    Where: Online/Zoom
    MERL Contact: Devesh K. Jha
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Robotics
    Brief
    • Devesh Jha, a Principal Research Scientist in MERL's Data Analytics group, gave an invited talk at the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, NYU. The title of the talk was "Robotic Manipulation in the Wild: Planning, Learning and Control through Contacts". The talk presented some of the recent work done at MERL for robotic manipulation in unstructured environments in the presence of significant uncertainty.
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  •  NEWS    MERL work on scene-aware interaction featured in IEEE Spectrum
    Date: March 1, 2022
    MERL Contacts: Anoop Cherian; Chiori Hori; Jonathan Le Roux; Tim K. Marks; Anthony Vetro
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Computer Vision, Machine Learning, Speech & Audio
    Brief
    • MERL's research on scene-aware interaction was recently featured in an IEEE Spectrum article. The article, titled "At Last, A Self-Driving Car That Can Explain Itself" and authored by MERL Senior Principal Research Scientist Chiori Hori and MERL Director Anthony Vetro, gives an overview of MERL's efforts towards developing a system that can analyze multimodal sensing information for highly natural and intuitive interaction with humans through context-dependent generation of natural language. The technology recognizes contextual objects and events based on multimodal sensing information, such as images and video captured with cameras, audio information recorded with microphones, and localization information measured with LiDAR.

      Scene-Aware Interaction for car navigation, one target application that the article focuses on, will provide drivers with intuitive route guidance. Scene-Aware Interaction technology is expected to have wide applicability, including human-machine interfaces for in-vehicle infotainment, interaction with service robots in building and factory automation systems, systems that monitor the health and well-being of people, surveillance systems that interpret complex scenes for humans and encourage social distancing, support for touchless operation of equipment in public areas, and much more. MERL's Scene-Aware Interaction Technology had previously been featured in a Mitsubishi Electric Corporation Press Release.

      IEEE Spectrum is the flagship magazine and website of the IEEE, the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and the applied sciences. IEEE Spectrum has a circulation of over 400,000 engineers worldwide, making it one of the leading science and engineering magazines.
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  •  TALK    [MERL Seminar Series 2022] Learning Speech Representations with Multimodal Self-Supervision
    Date & Time: Tuesday, March 1, 2022; 1:00 PM EST
    Speaker: David Harwath, The University of Texas at Austin
    MERL Host: Chiori Hori
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Speech & Audio
    Abstract
    • Humans learn spoken language and visual perception at an early age by being immersed in the world around them. Why can't computers do the same? In this talk, I will describe our ongoing work to develop methodologies for grounding continuous speech signals at the raw waveform level to natural image scenes. I will first present self-supervised models capable of discovering discrete, hierarchical structure (words and sub-word units) in the speech signal. Instead of conventional annotations, these models learn from correspondences between speech sounds and visual patterns such as objects and textures. Next, I will demonstrate how these discrete units can be used as a drop-in replacement for text transcriptions in an image captioning system, enabling us to directly synthesize spoken descriptions of images without the need for text as an intermediate representation. Finally, I will describe our latest work on Transformer-based models of visually-grounded speech. These models significantly outperform the prior state of the art on semantic speech-to-image retrieval tasks, and also learn representations that are useful for a multitude of other speech processing tasks.
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  •  NEWS    Jonathan Le Roux discusses MERL's audio source separation work on popular machine learning podcast
    Date: January 24, 2022
    Where: The TWIML AI Podcast
    MERL Contact: Jonathan Le Roux
    Research Areas: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Speech & Audio
    Brief
    • MERL Speech & Audio Senior Team Leader Jonathan Le Roux was featured in an extended interview on the popular TWIML AI Podcast, presenting MERL's work towards solving the "cocktail party problem". Humans have the extraordinary ability to focus on particular sounds of interest within a complex acoustic scene, such as a cocktail party. MERL's Speech & Audio Team has been at the forefront of the field's effort to develop algorithms giving machines similar abilities. Jonathan talked with host Sam Charrington about the group's decade-long journey on this topic, from early pioneering work using deep learning for speech enhancement and speech separation, to recent works on weakly-supervised separation, hierarchical sound separation, as well as the separation of real-world soundtracks into speech, music, and sound effects (aka the "cocktail fork problem").

      The TWIML AI podcast, formerly known as This Week in Machine Learning & AI, was created in 2016 and is followed by more than 10,000 subscribers on Youtube and Twitter. Jonathan's interview marks the 555th episode of the podcast.
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  •  TALK    [MERL Seminar Series 2021] Harnessing machine learning to build better Earth system models for climate projection
    Date & Time: Tuesday, December 14, 2021; 1:00 PM EST
    Speaker: Prof. Chris Fletcher, University of Waterloo
    MERL Host: Ankush Chakrabarty
    Research Areas: Dynamical Systems, Machine Learning, Multi-Physical Modeling
    Abstract
    • Decision-making and adaptation to climate change requires quantitative projections of the physical climate system and an accurate understanding of the uncertainty in those projections. Earth system models (ESMs), which solve the Navier-Stokes equations on the sphere, are the only tool that climate scientists have to make projections forward into climate states that have not been observed in the historical data record. Yet, ESMs are incredibly complex and expensive codes and contain many poorly constrained physical parameters—for processes such as clouds and convection—that must be calibrated against observations. In this talk, I will describe research from my group that uses ensembles of ESM simulations to train statistical models that learn the behavior and sensitivities of the ESM. Once trained and validated the statistical models are essentially free to run, which allows climate modelling centers to make more efficient use of precious compute cycles. The aim is to improve the quality of future climate projections, by producing better calibrated ESMs, and to improve the quantification of the uncertainties, by better sampling the equifinality of climate states.
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