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Collaboration is the Key

Miaochan Zhi

I was able to participate in a few of the breakout groups starting in the commercial security cameras group before moving to the medical imaging group. In both I found heated discussions and I witnessed the power of brainstorming.  After the breakout session each group was responsible for reporting out on their discussion. Overall, 4 of the 5 groups stated that Compressed Sensing (CS) would be helpful for their  applications. But at least two of them are cautious about CS in imaging and stated that CS can be used as a complementary technique.  CS will find application mainly in the area where highly resolved images are not necessary.  It can also be used for fast pre-diagonization. For example, in the airport surveillance camera  scenario, it may be used to identify threats more quickly than the conventional camera can zoom in. In the identification of bleeding it can be used for fast localization of the bleeding area since CS may be used for data processing on the fly instead of storing a huge dataset.  In addition, it can be used for reducing costs by taking low resolution images.

The last group, led by Jim Fienup, discussed the topics of CS in astronomical imaging applications.  He is doubtful that CS can be implemented in applications such as asteroid hunting. However,  X-ray astronomy may benefit from CS since X-ray optics are expensive, and therefore lensless imaging might reduce the cost drastically.

One idea I heard throughout the meeting was about how difficult collaboration is between mathematicians, algorithm developers and engineers. Concepts were discussed like creating a matchmaking website. Others said there was a need for more meetings like this that brought different groups of people together. Others discussed how random occurrences have led to some of their best collaborations. Lee Potter told a story of collaboration between an engineer and a mathematician whose kids go to preschool together. Emil Sidky discussed how during the Iceland volcano eruption in 2010, several scientists were delayed at the Univ. of Chicago after a conference, which led to a number of collaborations. But how can you engineer that? Planned collaboration takes time, thus money.

It suddenly occurred to me that this meeting is exactly an effort to provide communication between scientists in different fields and to engineer a collaboration between them. I looked at my brochure cover and right underneath the OSA Incubator logo are three words:  Collaborate, Innovate, Discover.

To conclude, it was a fruitful meeting. I learned a lot from the talks about CS. I would like to thank the hosts for the wonderful meeting and thank OSA for giving me this opportunity to work with them as a blogger and be part of this Incubator.

OSA CS Incubator Breakout
Image for keeping the session alive