August 2011 Newsletter August 2011 Newsletter

Welcome to the August edition of the IEEE-TCMC (Technical Committee
on Multimedia Computing) monthly mailing.

TCMC membership is officially determined by signing up with the IEEE
Computer Society either with your membership or later through:

TCMC home:

This month's topics include:

New formation of five TCMC Special Interest Groups; conference news and
articles about work from the upcoming VL/HCC 2011 conference posted in
the Computer society's website.

New formation of five TCMC Special Interest Groups!

You are welcome to contact SIG Chairs if you are interested in participating their activities and become members.

SIGMUSP (SIG on Multimedia Security and Privacy)
Dr. James Joshi
Associate professor
School of Information Sciences
University of Pittsburgh

SIGMDM (SIG on Multimedia Data Mining)

Dr. Mei-Ling Shyu
Associate Professor
University of Miami
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Data Mining, Database & Multimedia Research Group

Dr. Mohan S. Kankanhalli
Associate Provost (Graduate Education)
National University of Singapore
Professor, Department of Computer Science
School of Computing

SIGSMM (SIG on Semantic Multimedia Management)

Dr. William I. Grosky
University of Michigan - Dearborn
Department of Computer and Information Sciences

Dr. Richard Chbeir
Associate Professor
University of Bourgogne in Dijon, France
Department of Computer Science

SIGASP (SIG on Audio and Speech Processing for Multimedia)

Dr. Gerald Friedland
International Computer Science Institute
1947 Center Street, Suite 600
CA-94704 Berkeley, USA

Dr. Xavier Anguera Miró
Telefonica Research
Torre Telefónica Diagonal 00
Plaza de Ernest Lluch i Martín, 5
08019 – Barcelona

SIGMTEL (SIG on  Multimedia Technologies for E-Learning)

Dr. Robert Mertens
International Computer Science Institute
1947 Center Street, Suite 600
CA-94704 Berkeley, USA

Dr. Lars Knipping
Berlin Institute of Technology, Germany

Conference news and articles about work from the upcoming VL/HCC
2011 conference posted in Computer society website:

News #1:

Software Developers on Security Errors: It’s Not My Problem
August 24, 2011 7:01 AM

Many software security vulnerabilities originate in errors committed
by software developers. Interactive development tools can assist in
developing more secure software, but they must reflect an in-depth
understanding of how and why developers produce security bugs.

US researchers at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte
conducted semi-structured interviews of 15 professional software
developers to discover their perceptions and behaviors related to
software security. The results revealed a disconnect between the
developers’ conceptual understanding of security and their attitudes
regarding their personal responsibility and security practices.

“Many common software security vulnerabilities can be prevented
with relatively simple code practices,” said Jing Xie, coauthor
with Heather Lipford and Bill Chu of a paper reporting the results.
“Yet, if developers rely on other people, processes, or technology
to handle software security, they may inadvertently introduce errors
that cost the organization time and effort to later find and fix.”

The paper, “Why Do Programmers Make Security Errors?” has been
accepted for presentation at the IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages
and Human-Centric Computing (VLHCC 11), to be held 18–22 September
in Pittsburgh. The website for the conference is

News #2:

Robots Teach Programming Skills
August 23, 2011 7:57 AM

In a scheme envisioned by a trio of New Zealand researchers, robots
use a sophisticated, intuitive visual language to more fully involve
computer science students in solving programming challenges. James
Diprose, Bruce MacDonald, and John Hosking of the University of
Auckland will describe their creation, Ruru, at the 2011 IEEE
Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing, which
takes place this September in Pittsburgh.

Robots are useful tools for teaching novices programming as real
outcomes of programming decisions can be seen immediately. However,
robot software development has unique problems that make aspects
of programming more difficult than general software development.
These problems include the inherently unstable robot platform
itself, the robot’s environment and its interactions in
three-dimensional space, and the fact that physical events occur
in real time. Ruru, a novel visual language that addresses these
difficulties through a principled approach to its design, also
visualizes robot inputs intuitively in real time and allows users
to amend parameters at will. The New Zealand scientists envision
the usefulness and user-friendliness of Ruru as key to engaging
novices in learning and practicing programming skills.

Learn more about papers to be presented at VLHCC 2011 at

News #3:

End-User Assessments are Valuable – to a Certain Point
August 17, 2011 6:47 AM

Intelligent assistants are on the rise in today’s high-tech society.
From smart home security systems that serve a family in its home,
to research “coding” assistants helping a group of project
researchers, intelligent assistants customize their work around
an end-user’s needs; they learn, among other things, how to
recognize everything from junk email to photos of friends.

Unfortunately, intelligent systems sometimes handle tasks so
important or large that they cannot be trusted implicitly.
Systematic assessment of an intelligent assistant’s end users
can establish certain levels of trust, but such assessments can
be costly.

A group of researchers from Oregon State University and City
University London investigated recently whether bringing a small
crowd of end users (“mini-crowds”) to assess an intelligent
assistant is useful from a cost/benefit perspective. The results?
A mini-crowd of testers supplied many more benefits than the
obvious decrease in cost and workload, but as the size of the
mini-crowds increased, there was a point of diminishing returns
where the cost-benefit ratio became less attractive.

In a paper titled “Mini-Crowdsourcing End-User Assessment of
Intelligent Assistants: A Cost-Benefit Study”, to be presented at
the IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing
(VLHCC 11), 18-22 September in Pittsburgh, Penn., three
different-sized mini-crowds assessed the performance of an
intelligent assistant that classified textual messages. Findings
showed that bigger was not always better. For example, the
mini-crowd of six introduced fewer false negatives than the
mini-crowd of 11. Even in tests where larger mini-crowds
outperformed smaller crowds, the benefit of increasing the crowd
size quickly dropped, while costs scaled linearly.

The researchers envision a future in which shared testing is
paired with shared debugging to support small ecosystems of
end users to quickly and effectively assess intelligent
assistants that support important aspects of their work and lives.

To learn more about papers to be presented at VLHCC 2011, visit
the conference website at