A University of Waterloo professor is the recipient of an E.W.R Steacie Memorial Fellowship – the prestigious award from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) – for his work in understanding how people view the quality of images and videos.

Professor Zhou WangProfessor Zhou Wang, of the Faculty of Engineering, leads a research team that is developing next-generation ways to measure and improve the visual experience for a variety of multi-media applications. Wang’s work is helping to understand how we view the quality of video on demand, HDTV, 3DTV, Internet television and wireless video services, as well as the imagery in the medical, entertainment and education industries. 

Research has global impact for millions of viewers

Over the past decade Professor Wang has developed the standard for objectively measuring image quality, called Structural SIMilarity (SSIM) index.  Companies such as Cisco, Motorola, Ericsson AT&T and NBC rely on the SSIM method to deliver products and services with the best possible perceptual quality to hundreds of millions of viewers worldwide.

Professor Wang is one of six fellowship winners to receive a research grant of $250,000 over two years, announced today. He plans to use his grant funding to extend his research into the field of Visual Quality of Experience.

“One of our goals is to develop a flexible multi-dimensional assessment framework that closely reflects the experiences of the end user,” said Professor Wang. “Our research can subsequently be used to guide the design and optimization of a wide range of network visual communication products and services.”

Fellowship will help establish leadership position globally

“Zhou Wang is a world-renowned researcher known for his groundbreaking accomplishments in perceptual image and video quality assessment and has become one of the most frequently cited authors in this area,” said Pearl Sullivan, Dean of Engineering at Waterloo. “The Steacie Fellowship will allow him to further his excellence as a researcher and establish a global leadership position for the University of Waterloo and Canada in image processing.”

Professor Wang is a member of the IEEE Multimedia Signal Processing Technical Committee, which promotes the advancement of multimedia signal processing technologies throughout the world.

“Professor Wang’s work has improved the viewing experience of millions of people around the world and is widely used by industry. This is exactly the kind of transformational research that has given Waterloo a reputation for excellence across the world,” said Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor of Waterloo. “I am very pleased to see NSERC recognize his outstanding research.”   

The E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship honours the memory of Edgar William Richard Steacie, an outstanding chemist and research leader who made major contributions to the development of science in Canada during, and immediately following, World War II. NSERC presents this respected award to promising young researchers whose work has the potential for major impact.