Calgary Set the Stage for World’s Largest Signal Processing Conference

May 9, 2018

Tech giants Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Google were among some of the brightest minds to converge at the annual IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing (ICASSP), held April 16-20 at the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. 

As the world’s largest and most comprehensive technical conference focused on signal processing and its applications, the 43rdedition of ICASSP attracted 2,300 attendees and 28 high-caliber exhibitors spanning 21,000 square feet of expo space.

Touting the theme “Signal Processing and Artificial Intelligence (AI): Changing the World,” the four-day conference featured several high-profile speakers and 150 educational sessions and meetings covering tech trends ranging from cyber security to how machine learning and AI is impacting society and technology. 

“Signal processing methods are powerful enablers of many modern technologies including communications, autonomous systems and intelligent devices or machines,” said Ali H. Sayed, president of the IEEE Signal Processing Society, prior to the event. 

He added, “This conference will showcase the breadth and reach of our discipline.” 

Designed to introduce new developments in computer vision, speech recognition, speech synthesis and additional technologies underlying our digital life, ICASSP provides researchers and engineers with an engaging forum to exchange ideas and presenters with a platform to get their work peer-reviewed and published in conference proceedings, according to show officials.

Leading tech speakers included: 

  • Yann LeCun, director of AI Research at Facebook and inventor of the convolutional network method that is widely used for image, video and speech recognition. 
  • Alex Acero, senior director at Apple, in charge of speech recognition, speech synthesis and machine translation for Siri, Apple’s personal assistant for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, Carplay, Macintosh and HomePod. 
  • Luc Vincent, vice president of engineering at Lyft, where he leads the company’s Marketplace and Autonomous Platform division. 

Hosting ICASSPfor its first run in Calgary was a big victory for Meetings + Conventions Calgary, which worked with conference organizers and competed against five cities from across the globe to host the event. 

According to Clark Grue, CEO of the CTCC, Calgary is a great fit for conferences and trade shows such as ICASSPdue to the city’s status as an international hub for technology and innovation that boasts more tech start-ups than any other Canadian city.  

“Home to over 100 major publicly-listed company headquarters, this young vibrant start-up city invites entrepreneurial thinkers to tap its core of technology professionals and forward-thinking companies,” Grue said. 

He continued, “Convention delegates that come to Calgary not only benefit from engagement with its vibrant business and education community but can also take in a variety of unique experiences including hi-end downtown shopping, an amazing food scene, an Olympic experience, the Canadian Rockies or meeting the Pandas at the Calgary Zoo.”

In addition, convention delegates at the TELUS Center can enjoy the convenience of being connected via walkway to four hotels including the Hyatt Regency Calgary, the Fairmont Palliser Calgary, the Le Germain Hotel Calgary and the Calgary Marriott Downtown Hotel as well as being within a four-block radius of myriad theaters, restaurants, bars, retailers, shops, hotels and unique offsite venues – demonstrating why Calgary’s downtown convention center district is a popular locale for local, national and international conventions, congresses, meetings and events.

Jay Lightfoot, executive officer of Conference Management Services, which organized ICASSP, said he couldn’t have been more impressed with the support of the CVB and the city of Calgary.

“Since we moved our large conference with about six-months notice, it required a team effort to make it all work,” Lightfoot explained. 

He added, “It all went flawlessly with no issues or problems All of the staff there worked with our team on the planning and helped us anticipate and avoid any issues. We and our delegates could not have had a better experience (and) we look forward to bringing another conference there in the future.”

ICASSP 2019 is set to take place May 12-17 at the Brighton Conference Centre in Brighton, U.K.


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