The Third Workshop on Searching Spontaneous Conversational Speech (SSCS 2009) took place on 23 October 2009 in Beijing China in conjunction with ACMMultiMedia 2009. We had a great set of demos and talks. As an organizer this gives you a warm pleased feeling -- all that work is worth it. Domains covered included broadcast, meetings, interviews, telephone conversations, podcasts and voice tagging for photos. The approaches presented involved using a variety of techniques including subword units, exploiting dialogue structure, fusing retrieval models, modeling topics and integrating visual features. Such events serve to highlight the importance of the spoken word in many multimedia access and retrieval applications. And also to remind us how far we are from exploiting it fully.
The winner of the ACM MultiMedia Grand Challenge at ACM MultiMedia 2009 was "Joke-O-Mat: Browsing Sitcoms Punchline by Punchline." This application uses speaker diarization and laughter detection to annotate sitcoms and present them to the viewer in an interface that allows presents jokes ranked by laugh reaction, grouped by character and associated with context. Joke-O-Mat underlines the importance of the speech track for multimedia access.
What to do when multimedia doesn't contain a laugh track? In VideoCLEF 2009 we ran a narrative peak detection task. The goal was to detect points in videos where viewers perceive heightened dramatic tension. Today, CLEF working notes, tomorrow our own Peak-O-Mat?
I divide my time between Radboud University Nijmegen and Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. My research focuses on multimedia retrieval techniques that exploit speech and language and focus on human interpretations of meaning. I am particularly interested in internet video, in networked communities, and crowdsourcing techniques. Lately, I've been noticing how difficult it is to imagine life without search.