International Workshop on Digital-forensics and Watermarking

By Philip Bateman, PhD Student, Multimedia Security and Forensics Group

From October 23-26, the 10th International Workshop on Digital-forensics and Watermarking (IWDW’11) was held in Atlantic City, New Jersey in the USA. Myself and fellow Ph.D student Hui Wang joined our supervisor, Prof. Anthony T. S. Ho, to attend the conference where we were presenting our two papers on Digital Image Forensics and Digital Watermarking, respectively. The venue was Hilton Hotel and Casino Resort, which had great views of the Atlantic Ocean, and was located along the famous Boardwalk – a collection of shops, restaurants, and more casino’s that runs parallel to the beach.

The conference was well organised, and well attended by many like-minded researchers who were all very friendly and welcomed many open discussions on pretty much any security-related topic. Thankfully, when the topic of conversation was switched to my own research within Image Forensics, the interest continued – always a good boost for self-confidence!

As a Ph.D. student, it can be very easy to focus so much on your specific research problem that you overlook what is happening just outside your bubble. Conferences are a great way of reflecting on your work in the context of the bigger picture, and this was no exception to the rule.

Personally, I was excited to meet both Keynote speakers to this conference, Prof. Jessica Fridrich (SUNY Binghamton, New York) and Prof. Nasir Memon (Poytechnic Institute of New York University). Both are extremely distinguished researchers and pioneers in my field. To my pleasure, I learned at this conference that they are also very kind and humble – they were even happy to talk at length to me about my work, offer great words of encouragement, and even offer possible future work that I hadn’t thought of!

The Keynote presentations themselves were very enlightening. Prof. Fridrich highlighted some key challenges in Steganalysis, and the cat-and-mouse battle between detection and concealment. Prof. Memon gave an engaging insight into the key aspects of Digital Forensics – from rebuilding fragmented images from memory, to identifying the source of the image.

Of course, with every good conference comes a good social programme.  The Monday evening saw us enjoy a short (warm) walk to P.F Changs, for some amazing Chinese food – Sweet and Sour Chicken with Egg Rice is my recommendation to anyone travelling to America soon. The formal Banquet was held on Tuesday evening at the Hilton Casino Resort, where it was also announced that the next IWDW conference will be held in Shanghai, China.

Thanks to all the organisers of the IWDW’11 for a great experience.