Speech – Centre for Vision, Speech and Signal Processing 30th Anniversary Celebration: ‘Can Machines Think?’ Welcome Remarks, 4 April 2019



Good evening!

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to a truly landmark event: the 30th anniversary of the Centre for Vision, Speech and Signal Processing. CVSSP’s impact on campus, and across the globe, cannot be understated.

Speaking of the globe – I have just arrived from the other side of it!

I have been in South Korea, at a conference about collaboration between university and industry. I wish my colleagues there could be here tonight to absorb what CVSSP has achieved with its many industrial partners; clearly, not only can this kind of collaboration be done successfully, but it can also produce remarkable world-leading innovations.

What is particularly extraordinary about the work of CVSSP is the range of its research, and how it touches the lives of so many people. From facial recognition and its role in the urgent question of world security, to the future of sound and entertainment, to vital steps forward in life-saving and – enhancing technologies for health care, the phrase ‘state of the art’ could have been invented for the Centre.

It truly leads the world in AI and machine learning – just when AI and machine learning are set to transform the way we live. Machine perception is the key enabling technology for future autonomous systems.

 For a little history: CVSSP is the largest university research centre for AI and machine perception in the UK. It is unique in bringing together expertise in machine perception of both audio and visual signals, with the ambitious goal of creating machines that can see and hear to better understand our world, and thereby enhance human experience in so many ways.

Over the past 30 years CVSSP has contributed numerous ground breaking scientific advances in audio and visual perception, and pioneered innovative technologies leading to successful commercialisation. Our spin-outs have gone on to lead industry in biometrics for face verification, voice security, and Academy Award-winning visual effects for film.

As if all this weren’t enough, a major output of CVSSP is through PhD level training, with over 250 PhDs awarded, and our alumni going on to become leaders in industry and academia.

All of us at Surrey are extremely proud of the achievements of CVSSP. Congratulations to you all – and may your next 30 years be even more remarkable!

Thank you.


Images: Paul Stead Photography