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Information interfaces and presentation

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Information processing by computers must be accompanied by the capacity to present results to users in an efficient and usable way, using human-computer interfaces.  In the case of interactive systems, these interfaces must also allow users to enter information in a simple and reliable way, and in the most advanced cases to acquire information from users in a non-disruptive ways. Current research directions at Idiap focus on multimedia information systems, user interfaces, and the evaluation of interactive systems, explained below in more detail.

Multimedia information systems

The results of processing multimedia streams, using perceptual and cognitive systems for instance, can be shown to have potential value for users if they are integrated in information systems that take advantage of the content abstraction annotations over the streams.  These annotations speed up access to the content of multimedia data, and facilitate search for specific bits of information. The current research focus at Idiap is on building an Automatic Content Linking Device that facilitates real-time access to multimedia archives of past meetings, using speech recognition and language processing to infer the information needs of a group during a discussion, and displaying documents and excerpts of the archive that appear to be relevant at a given moment in the discussion.

Contact: Andrei Popescu-Belis

User interfaces

Research on human-computer interaction spans a large body of work in several fields (graphics, design, ergonomics, human-computer dialogue, etc.), but the current focus at Idiap is on meeting browsers, i.e interfaces that give access to multimedia databases of meeting recordings, accompanied by annotations (indications of content-related features) added, for instance, by perceptual and cognitive systems. Idiap develops meeting browsers under the JFerret framework for interface design, which allows the combination of input and output modules into a graphical layout, and enables their real-time connection to other modules and to databases of annotated meetings.

Contact: Andrei Popescu-Belis

System evaluation

Evaluation of computer systems can adopt a performance-based approach (measuring accuracy of results with respect to desired ones) or a task-based one (quantifying how helpful is a system to achieve the task(s) for which it was designed).  At Idiap, the evaluation of information interfaces is done through a task-based, yet precise and reproducible framework named the BET, for browser evaluation test.  The BET is based on a list of information gathering tasks over a given meeting recording, which users of browsers, or automatic retrieval tools, have to complete, their performances being measured in terms of precision and speed.

Contact: Andrei Popescu-Belis

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