Published in Blog Posts
06 Jun, 2010 Posted by:

IMSC Reboot

It was sometime in 1993; I think it was the Spring semester. I was a Master student at USC’s computer science department and had just started in the previous Spring.

My advisor told me that there would be a faculty meeting at the President’s Board Room in the Bovard Administration building. As if the location was not intimidating enough for a lowly M.S. student, he went on to explain to me that this is a meeting to discuss a proposal to NSF for a research center. He wanted me to represent him in that meeting! Are you kidding me!? He asked me to find Prof. Max Nikias, introduce myself to him, and tell him that I am there on behalf of my advisor. It was an interesting experience for me. I was not sure whether or not I should wear a suit and tie to this meeting (a confusion that has stayed with me ever since!). That was the first faculty meeting for the first IMSC proposal (which later got declined by NSF!). I clearly remember one discussion in that meeting: the fact that multimedia is plural and is a flawed word, hence the Integrated . I remember at the time I thought that the faculty discussions were not as deep as I had expected (a realization that has stayed with me ever since!).

Fast-forward to May 1996, a very important month in my life! I defended my PhD dissertation on May 9th and my first child was born on May 23rd. I kept the LA times for that day and on its first page is the announcement that USC is receiving a large grant from NSF to host an Engineering Research Center in the area of multimedia (little did we know in 1993 that the flawed term of multimedia would become so popular!), called the Integrated Media Systems Center (IMSC). Also in May 1996, Max interviewed me and recruited me to join IMSC! In fact, I was Max’s Research Assistant (75% RAship, Yaah for June and July until the NSF funding arrived on August 1st.

Fast-forward to May 2010, we celebrated my daughter’s 14th birthday. I have been busy preparing and pitching my IMSC sustainability plan to various folks before I start as the new director of IMSC on June 1st 2010. Fourteen years of IMSC (or perhaps seventeen), growing from an M.S. student to a tenured full professor; what a career and what a life, so far! Thank you IMSC, thanks Max, and thank ymu NSF. At times, I will write my thoughts on IMSC here.