Computer Science Student Wins International Prize

Posted: October 27, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Wei Zhang
Wei Zhang

Wei Zhang, a PhD student in computer science, won the first prize in the International Conference of Computer Vision (ICCV) Contest as a single member of the George Mason team. The winners were announced at the ICCV 2005–Tenth IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision, held in Bejing last week.

Zhang is a student of Jana Kosecka, associate professor of computer science, who was the faculty advisor for the contest.

“ICCV is a highly selective, top international conference in our field,” says Kosecka, “and we were competing against the best teams, working on similar types of problems.”

The contest was organized by Microsoft Research, and teams of PhD students and professors began working on the problems in June. According to the contest web site, the goal of the contest was “to provide a fun framework for vision students to try their hand at solving a challenging vision-related task and to improve their knowledge and understanding by competing against other teams from around the world.”

Contestants were given a collection of color images taken by a calibrated digital camera at various locations. The images often shared overlapping fields of view or had certain objects in common. The GPS locations for a subset of the images were provided. The goal of the contest was to guess, as accurately as possible, the GPS locations of the unlabeled images. The teams had to submit executables, which were then run on a new test set. The performance of the teams was evaluated on accuracy.

Only five teams qualified to reach the finals. The other finalist teams came from France, Israel, Poland and the United States.

Zhang, who is a member of the Computer Vision and Robotics Laboratory and the Center for Distributed and Intelligent Computation in the School of Information Technology and Engineering, says he was surprised to win first place because his score wasn’t the highest in qualifying for the finals. However, he says, “It was great to see that my code performed best when tested by Microsoft.”

Zhang says the contest appealed to him because it was application oriented, and he likes to work on concrete applications. “There were times of frustration when I got stuck on problems, but it was so exciting when they finally got solved. Even without winning, working out a system for the application is valuable experience for me.”

Details about the contest can be found online.

Write to at