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Malta International Fireworks Festival | Image credits:


Sketched Visual Narratives for Image and Video Search   |   John Collomosse   Read more >

The internet is transforming into a visual medium; over 80% of the internet is forecast to be visual content by 2018, and most of this content will be consumed on mobile devices featuring a touch-screen as their primary interface. Gestural interaction, such as sketch, presents an intuitive way to interact with these devices. Imagine a Google image search in which you specify your query by sketching the desired image with your finger, rather than (or in addition to) describing it with text words. Sketch offers an orthogonal perspective on visual search - enabling concise specification of appearance (via sketch) in addition to semantics (via text). In this talk, John Collomosse will present a summary of his group's work on the use of free-hand sketches for the visual search and manipulation of images and video. He will begin by describing a scalable system for sketch based search of multi-million image databases, based upon their Gradient Field HOG (GF-HOG) descriptor. He will then describe how deep learning can be used to enhance performance of the retrieval. Imagine a product catalogue in which you sketched, say an engineering part, rather than using a text or serial numbers to find it? John will then describe how scalable search of video can be similarly achieved, through the depiction of sketched visual narratives that depict not only objects but also their motion (dynamics) as a constraint to find relevant video clips. The work presented in this talk has been supported by the EPSRC and AHRC between 2012-2016.


Dr John Collomosse is a Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Vision Speech and Signal Processing (CVSSP) at the University of Surrey. John joined CVSSP in 2009, following 4 years lecturing at the University Bath where he also completed his PhD in Computer Vision and Graphics (2004). John has spent periods of time at IBM UK Labs, Vodafone R&D Munich, and HP Labs Bristol. John's research is cross-disciplinary, spanning Computer Vision, Computer Graphics and Artificial Intelligence, focusing on ways to add value and make sense of large, unstructured media collections - to visually search media collections, and present them in aesthetic and comprehensible ways. Recent projects spanning Vision and Graphics include: sketch based search of images/video; plagiarism detection in the arts; visual search of dance; structuring and presenting large visual media collections using artistic rendering; developing characters animation from 3D multi-view capture data. John holds ~70 refereed publications, including oral presentations at ICCV, BMVC, and journal papers in IJCV, IEEE TVCG and TMM. He was general chair for NPAR 2010-11 (at SIGGRAPH), BMVC 2012, and CVMP 2014-15 and is an AE for C&G and Eurographics CGF.

The Notarial Archives, Valletta: Starting From Zero   |   Theresa Zammit Lupi   Read more >

During this talk, Theresa Zammit Lupi will speak about her work as a book and paper conservator in the light of the current rehabilitation project at the Notarial Archives in St Christopher Street, Valletta. With its six centuries of manuscript material spread over two kilometres of shelving, the state of preservation of the archives has presented numerous challenges over the last years. The EU funds granted in recent months are a crucial investment that will ensure the safeguarding of the collection, but putting one’s house in order is not just about money. A number of other considerations such as careful planning, multidisciplinary collaboration, clever marketing, accessibility, team-building and creating a clear vision for the future have been some of the central factors that continue to contribute to the success of this project. A discussion on the general preservation and conservation strategies that are being undertaken for the project will also be discussed and explained.


Theresa Zammit Lupi studied book and paper conservation in Florence and London. She obtained her Ph.D. in the conservation of illuminated manuscripts in 2009 from Camberwell College, University of Arts London. Theresa has worked as a conservator, lecturer and consultant in Malta, the UK, Italy, Switzerland and Egypt. In 2016 she was awarded a Katharine F. Pantzer Fellowship at Harvard University. She is currently Head of Conservation at the Notarial Archives in Valletta, Malta. Theresa is an accredited member of the Institute of Conservation UK. She is the author of "Cantate Domino - Early Choir Books for the Knights in Malta" as well as a number of academic papers in peer-reviewed journals.


Historical Document Processing   |   Basilis G. Gatos   Read more >

Historical manuscript collections can be considered as an important source of original information in order to provide access to historical data and develop cultural documentation over the years. This tutorial focuses on recent advances and ongoing developments for historical handwritten document processing. It includes the main challenges involved, the different tasks that have to be implemented as well as practices and technologies that currently exist in the literature. The main tasks that have to be implemented in the historical document image recognition pipeline, include preprocessing for image enhancement and binarisation, segmentation for the detection of main page elements, of text lines and words and, finally, recognition. In cases where optical recognition is expected to give poor results, keyword spotting has been proposed to substitute full text recognition. The focus is given on the most promising techniques, related projects as well as on existing datasets and competitions that can be proved useful to historical handwritten document processing research.

Length: Half-day
Format: Presentations and demos


Basilis G. Gatos was born in Athens, Greece. He received his Electrical Engineering Diploma and his Ph.D. degree, both from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department of Democritus University of Thrace, Xanthi, Greece. His Ph.D. thesis is on Optical Character Recognition Techniques. In 1993 he was awarded a scholarship from the Institute of Informatics and Telecommunications, NCSR "Demokritos", where he worked till 1996. From 1997 to 1998 he worked as a Software Engineer at Computer Logic S.A. From 1998 to 2001 he worked at Lambrakis Press Archives as a Director of the Research Division in the field of digital preservation of old newspapers. From 2001 to 2003 he worked at BSI S.A. as Managing Director of R&D Division in the field of document management and recognition. He is currently working as a Researcher at the Institute of Informatics and Telecommunications of the National Center for Scientific Research "Demokritos", Athens, Greece. His main research interests are in Image Processing and Document Image Analysis, OCR and Pattern Recognition. He has more than 150 publications in journals and international conference proceedings and has participated in several research programs funded by the European community. He is a member of the Technical Chamber of Greece, of the Editorial Board of the International Journal on Document Analysis and Recognition (IJDAR) and program committee member of several international Conferences and Workshops (e.g. ICDAR, ICFHR, DAS, International Workshop on Historical Document Imaging and Processing). Basilis Gatos was co-organiser of the 14th International Conference of Frontiers in Handwriting Recognition (ICFHR) as well as of the 12th International Workshop on Document Analysis Systems (DAS) that were held in Greece in 2014 (Crete) & 2016 (Santorini).

Document Engineering Issues in Malware Analysis   |   Charles Nicholas   Read more >

The focus of the tutorial will be an overview of the field of malware analysis with emphasis on issues related to scalability. We introduce the field with a discussion of the types of malware, including executable binaries, malicious PDFs, and exploit kits. Some of the popular tools used for analyzing malicious binaries will be presented, including IDA, Binary Ninja, and x64dbg. Concepts and tools from static and binary analysis will be discussed. Some collections of malware specimens are available to researchers, and these will be used as examples as appropriate. We will discuss cluster analysis, malware attribution, and the problems caused by polymorphic malware. We will conclude with our view of important research questions in the field.

Length: Half-day
Format: Presentations and demos


Dr. Charles Nicholas is a Professor of Computer Science at UMBC. He has in recent years turned his attention to the problems of malware analysis “in the large”. His recent work has considered questions related to storing, searching, and finding patterns in large collections of malware. He has taught a combined graduate-undergraduate course in malware analysis at UMBC for each of the last four years.

Understanding the User: User Studies and User Evaluation for Document Engineering   |   Kim Marriott, Steven Simske, Margaret Sturgill   Read more >

Document engineering is all about building systems and tools that allow people to work with documents and document collections. A key aspect is the usefulness and usability of these tools. In this tutorial we will look at the many different kinds of user studies and user evaluations that can be used to inform the design and improve utility and usability of document engineering applications. The tutorial will be based on actual studies and will also give participants a chance to explore how they might use these techniques in their research or system development. In the first part of the tutorial we will look at:

1. Controlled experiments (lab studies). These have been adopted from research methods in psychology and are widely used to answer very focussed questions of the form if I vary X how does that affect Y. For instance, how do different layouts affect reading speed and comprehension.

2. Questionnaires, in-depth interview, focus groups and field studies. These provide more open-ended information and draw on techniques from anthropology/ethnography. For instance, do academics read research electronically or on paper and why.

3. Participative design. Participative design, user-centered design and co-design includes the user in the whole development process. One case study is for the presentation of accessible eBooks.

4. User data collection and analysis. What kinds of user data can you collect, e.g. instrumented collection, eye tracking, and how do you analyse it.

In the second part of the tutorial we will look at data analytics. How can data analytics be applied to user evaluation in the document engineering field. This is a two-direction relationship:

A. Data science to understand how users evaluate document sets (multiple versions, related documents, search results, other corpora). This includes functional measurements, user errors, tie to UI design, etc.

B. Data science to understand how to evaluate users based on their interaction with the document set (user analytics), including time to task completion, robustness to frustration, ability to complete task, etc.

In (A) we use analytics to discern what types of workflows and user-document interactions to enable. In (B) we use analytics to classify different types of users, in hopes of feeding this back to affect the design and architecture (structure and flow) of the user interface(s).

The goal of the 'data analytics' portion of the tutorial will be to introduce the audience to classification and evaluation approaches, and from this understanding help to identify research challenges and experiments to be performed by the document engineering research community.

Length: Half-day
Format: Presentations and demos


Kim Marriott

Kim Marriott is a Professor at Monash University Australia where he leads the Creative Technologies and HCI group. Marriott obtained his PhD in 1988 from University of Melbourne, then worked as a Research Scientist with IBM TJ Watson Labs in New York before taking a position at Monash in 1993. With around 200 scientific publications he is best known for his research in data visualisation, document engineering, assistive technologies, optimisation and visual languages. Originally a theoretical computer scientist he became more and more interested in the people using computers and now most of his research involves some sort of user study.

Steven Simske

Steve Simske is an HP Fellow and Director in HP Inc Labs where he leads teams in analytics, security printing, authentication, forensics, mechatronics, 3D printing, microfluidics and sensing. Simske obtained his BS (Marquette) and MS (Rensselaer Polytechnic) in Biomedical Engineering, his PhD (University of Colorado) in Electrical Engineering, and his PostDoc in Aerospace Engineering. Steve has more than 150 US patents and 400 scientific publications. Most relevant to this workshop is his book on Meta-Algorithmics (Wiley, 2013) which explores using multiple simultaneous approaches to obtain more robust, cost-sensitive and/or accurate intelligent systems.

Margaret Sturgill

Margaret Sturgill currently works at HP Labs in Fort Collins, Colorado in the HP Labs Print Adjacencies & 3D Lab. Her main interests include Document Security, Document Workflows, Supply Chain Analysis and Anti-counterfeiting. She holds BS in Computer Science and Mathematics from University of Kentucky and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from University of Utah. She has previously worked at HP on scanner image processing software and as a Chief Operating Officer of Ataman Software Inc. She has 25 US Patents.

Social Events

List of social events being organised during the conference.   Read more >

Dinner and Birgu tour: September 4, 2017

Birgu is an old fortified city in the southeastern region of Malta with origins dating back to medieval times. Its position within in the Grand Harbour makes it an excellent site for safe anchorage and Birgu is associated with a long history in maritime, mercantile and military activities. Prior to the establishment of Valletta as the capital city of Malta, Birgu served as the base of the Order of Saint John and de facto capital city of Malta from 1530 to 1571 since the capital city at the time, Mdina, was not suitable for the naval requirements of the order. Birgu earned its title Città Vittoriosa (victorious city) for its important role in the Great Siege of Malta of 1565.

Reception and Valletta tour: September 5, 2017

Fort Saint Elmo is a star-shaped fort overlooking the Grand Harbour and which dates back to 1552. The fort witnessed some of the most intense fighting of the Great Siege of Malta of 1565. The fort withstood heavy bombardment for 28 days, falling to the Ottomans on 23 June 1565. None of the defending knights survived, and only nine of the Maltese defenders survived by swimming across to Fort St. Angelo on the other side of the Grand Harbour. This long siege bought much needed time for the preparation of other fortresses and for the arrival of reinforcements from Spain.

Conference Banquet and Mdina Tour: September 6, 2017

Mdina, the old capital city of Malta, is the Island’s most picturesque city. The tour starts with a walk through the narrow streets of this small medieval city, which allows the visitors to take in the highly ornate façades of the palazzi belonging to the most important Maltese noble families. The oldest palazzo, Palazzo Santa Sofia, dates back to the 15th century. Dominating the city is the imposing Cathedral built by the famous Maltese architect Lorenzo Gafá. The dome of this sacred building was Gafa’s masterpiece and is now considered as one of the symbols of the city. The walk leads to the bastions, one of the highest points in the area, from where visitors can admire a panoramic view of the Island. Overlooking the whole area, it is easy to understand why the medieval soldiers used this part of the city as look-out post in order to intervene should there be attacks in the surrounding areas. The walk is followed by dinner in one of Mdina’s exquisite restaurants.
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