Yan wins ACM SIGMM Outstanding Thesis Award

by Jane Stoyle Welch

Published October 10, 2018

Computer science PhD alumnus Zhisheng Yan earned the 2018 Outstanding PhD Thesis in Multimedia Computing, Communications and Applications Award from the Association for Computer Machinery Special Interest Group on Multimedia Systems (ACM SIGMM).

“As far as I know, this is the first international-level dissertation award earned by a student in the department.”
Chunming Qiao, professor and chair
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
portrait of Zhisheng Yan

Zhisheng Yan, PhD '17, computer science

His dissertation, titled "Sustained Mobile Visual Computing: A Human-Centered Perspective," defines the mobile-vision problem in smartphone video viewing.

According to Yan, today’s smartphones are rapidly advancing to achieve comparable performance as personal computers, but human vision won’t advance in the way that machines will. Humans still visually perceive these two systems very differently. The gap is so great that it causes bandwidth and energy inefficiency in current practice.

“To address this problem, my thesis proposes a new class of human-centered solutions by modeling and integrating human vision characteristics into commercial off-the-shelf smartphones to deliver practical and measurable performance gains,” said Yan.

“I became interested in this topic from my daily usage of smartphones,” he continued. “I noticed how the battery drains really fast when playing a YouTube video and how video streaming sometimes does not have a good quality when there are multiple users in a lab. These topics are interesting since they are practical and directly related to our lives.”

“This award is a great honor for Zhisheng and the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Zhisheng's PhD study has had tremendous support from many faculty and staff in the department,” said Chang Wen Chen, Yan’s PhD advisor and a SUNY Empire Innovation Professor in the department.

“As far as I know, this is the first international-level dissertation award earned by a student in the department,” added Chunming Qiao, professor and chair of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering.

Yan, from Fuzhou, China, chose to study at UB after working with Professor Chen at the University of Science and Technology of China, where he earned his Master’s degree. He completed his PhD at UB in 2017, and is now an assistant professor of computer science at Georgia State University.

His research interests are in the broad area of the Internet of Things. His current focus is on topics such as next-generation content delivery systems, computer vision systems, and mobile and distributed sensing systems. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation through a grant to Prof. Chen, and Intel.

He will receive the award at the 2018 ACM Multimedia Conference, to be held in Seoul, South Korea on October 22-26, 2018.