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Sounds Like the Future

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Electronic Imaging with ECE's Edward Delp

by William Schmitt

In February 2020, “Sounds Like the Future” presents two episodes featuring professors in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. This episode explores electronic imaging with a leading global expert in the field, Professor Edward J. Delp.

As director of Purdue’s Video and Image Processing Laboratory (VIPER), Delp is making news at the forefront of media analysis techniques with urgent security implications—namely, detecting digital manipulation in videos colloquially called “deep fakes.” The laboratory’s research agenda, with links provided here, also helps the world see things more clearly—and productively—in other arenas of international security and forensics, as well as biomedicine, precision agriculture, multimedia technologies, and more.

In the spirit of the Purdue Engineering Initiatives as incubators for wide-ranging engagements, Delp said his work has many interdisciplinary connections with research conducted elsewhere at Purdue and supported by various organizations in the government and private sectors. These include long-standing collaborations with Purdue’s College of Agriculture and Indiana University School of Medicine.

Delp is also a faculty member in the College’s Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering. He said his collaborations extend to about a dozen organizations around the world.

Given the danger that members of the public will lose trust in the validity of media messages they consume, there is an urgent need to stay ahead of bad actors misusing fast-paced developments in technology, Delp said. 

In keeping with the celebration of 120 years of history in the College of Engineering, Delp noted that Purdue University has been influential in the processing and analysis of images for close to a century. The forerunner of the school of Electrical and Computer Engineering played an important role in the early development of television, as discussed in this news article. The University’s work in digital image processing and analysis dates back to the 1950s.

The University will remain a leader in the growing use of digital imaging equipment of all sorts and in other areas of engineering, according to Delp. He said one of the great things about his job is the ability to work with so many intelligent young people who are fascinated with the potential of such devices and have allowed the spread of digital imaging to spark their creativity. Such technologies may have their down-sides, he said, but advancements in many fields, including human health and farming around the world, show that the diverse research in which Purdue excels offers great value to society.

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Purdue College of Engineering