Beckman-led Team Advances to Finals of Star Challenge

The student team led by Beckman Institute researchers Thomas Huang and Mark Hasegawa-Johnson advanced to the Grand Finals of Star Challenge 2008, an international competition aimed at finding technological solutions to multimedia search problems.

The team had advanced past through two knockout rounds this summer, then in September finished first in the qualifying round to earn a spot in the Grand Finals, set for Oct. 23 in Singapore. The team will go to Singapore for the final round of the competition, which began in June with 56 teams from 17 countries from around the world vying to answer the challenge of developing the next generation of multimedia search technologies.

"We are very excited to be among the finalists," Huang said. "We enter competitions/evaluations aiming not to win but to learn. We have learned a great deal from the three rounds of evaluation which led to the Final and we are proud to have done well in these three rounds."

The Star Challenge competition on multimedia (audio and visual) retrieval is sponsored by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research, Singapore (A*STAR), a government research institute of Singapore. The international competition requires students to perform three audio tasks and three video tasks using data from television programs.

The Illinois entry is called UIUC-YX and consists of faculty members Huang and Hasegawa-Johnson, their postdocs and students, and is led by graduate student Yuxiao Hu. NEC Labs America and Kodak are industrial advisors. The winner of the final competition will receive a prize of $100,000.