Fireside chat: meet the QoMEX community

Fireside chat: meet the QoMEX community

Monday, June 14, 13:30 – 15:00 EDT (UTC-4)


Are you new to QoE research and to QoMEX? Did you always want to ask leading experts about how they got where there are today, what challenges they face in their daily life, or how you might learn from them on how to best plan your future? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this event is for you!

This 1-hour “fireside chat” event is aimed at students and young researchers new to QoE and new to the QoMEX community. In the first half of the event, four experts will share their thoughts on emerging trends in QoE (both in academia and industry) in a moderated panel-like format. In the second half, young researchers will be given the opportunity to continue the interaction but at a smaller (moderated) table discussion. All are invited to attend!


Main session
Steven Schmidt and Tanja Kojic
Breakout room session
Sebastian Möller – Lina J. Karam 
Steven Schmidt – Anne Aaron
Tanja Kojic – Markus Vaalgamaa 
Atidel Lahoulou – Martin Varela



Dr. Lina J. Karam is the Dean of the School of Engineering and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Lebanese American University. She is an IEEE Fellow and Editor-In-Chief of the IEEE Journal on Selected Topics in Signal Processing (IEEE JSTSP). She is also an Emerita Professor in the Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University, where she also served as Computer Engineering Director for Industry Engagement. Dr. Karam was awarded a U.S. National Science Foundation CAREER Award, a NASA Technical Innovation Award, IEEE Region 6 Award, IEEE SPS Best Paper Award, Intel Outstanding Researcher Award, and IEEE Phoenix Section Outstanding Faculty Award. Dr. Karam’s industrial experience includes video compression R&D at AT&T Bell Labs, multidimensional data processing and visualization at Schlumberger, and collaborations on computer vision, machine learning, image/video processing, compression, and transmission projects with various industries. She served as General Chair of IEEE ICIP 2016 and as General Co-Chair of IEEE ICME 2019. She helped initiate the World’s First Visual Innovation Award that was presented for the first time at IEEE ICIP 2016 and more recently the World’s First Multimedia Star Innovator Award that was presented at IEEE ICME 2019. Dr. Karam has over 220 technical publications and she is an inventor on 7 issued US patents. She served on the IEEE Publication Services and Products Board (PSPB) Strategic Planning Committee, IEEE SPS Board of Governors, IEEE CAS Fellow Evaluation Committee, and the IEEE SPS Conference Board.  In addition to serving as EiC of IEEE JSTSP, Dr. Karam is currently serving on the IEEE TechRxiv Advisory Board, IEEE Access Journal Editorial Board, IEEE SPS Publications Board, IEEE SPS IVMSP TC, and IEEE CAS DSP TC. She is a co-founder of QoMEX and serves on its Steering Committee.


Markus Vaalgamaa‘s passion is in audio and speech quality and anything related to their understanding: research, development, statistics analysis, business metrics, or deep down details of acoustic driver details, audio algorithms or human perception. Mr. Vaalgamaa leads two teams at Huawei – one team of eight people on audio quality research and one team of four people on headset ergonomics testing and simulation tool development. He also leads and participates in several university and company collaborations and has an extensive experience in development and research in both industry and academic worlds. He is author of six granted patents and 15 papers. Before Huawei he worked at Skype/Microsoft on various positions to study and improve Skype Call Quality and audio test methods and performed statistical analysis for about 10 years. And even before that he lead Audio quality team at Nokia. He has graduated from Aalto University of Technology.


Dr. Anne Aaron is Director of Encoding Technologies at Netflix. The team is responsible for generating media assets that deliver a compelling A/V experience to millions of Netflix members worldwide, no matter where, how and what they watch. In her previous role at Netflix as lead of Video Algorithms, Anne helped drive innovation in the space (per-title encoding, video quality assessment and perceptual metrics, shot-based encoding, HDR, next-generation codecs) and grow a team of experts in cloud-based video coding and processing. Prior to Netflix, Anne had technical lead roles at Cisco, working on the software deployed with millions of Flip Video cameras, Dyyno, an early stage startup which developed a real-time peer-to-peer video distribution system, and Modulus Video, a broadcast video encoder company. During her Ph.D. studies at Stanford University, she was a member of the Image, Video and Multimedia Systems Laboratory, led by Prof. Bernd Girod. Her research was one of the pioneering works in the sub-field of Distributed Video Coding.

Martin Varela

Dr. Martín Varela is a seasoned and results-oriented R&D professional, with over 17 years of experience in QoE research and product development. He has participated in and managed a large number of large-scale R&D projects, both commercial and academic, at the national and European levels. He is currently building tools for QoE test automation and profiling at Profilence, a company based in Finland. Previously, he was with the analytics team at, figuring out how to understand and monitor QoE for WebRTC services, and a principal Scientist at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, where he worked in the Network Performance team, within the Communication Systems expert area, and led the research in the QoE domain.

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