Dr. Rabab Kreidieh Ward

      Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering
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Dr. Rabab K. Ward is a Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of British Columbia ( UBC), Canada. She is presently appointed in the Office of the Vice-President Research Office as the natural sciences and engineering research coordinator for UBC. She ensures that initiatives are developed to support research and scholarship in engineering and the natural sciences and that the relevant information is disseminated .

She is Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the Canadian Academy of Engineers and the Engineering Institute of Canada. She has received the Career Achievement Award of CUFA, BC, the organization representing all professors and academic staff at BC's doctoral universities (2011), UBC Engineering Co-op Faculty Member of the Year Award (2010), the IEEE Signal Processing Society top award "The Society Award" (2008), the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award (2008), British Columbia's top engineering award "The RA McLachlan Memorial Award" (2006) and UBC Killam Research Prize (1998).


Dr Ward's research interests are mainly in the areas of signal, image and video processing. She has made contributions in the areas of signal detection, image encoding, compression, recognition, restoration and enhancement, and their applications to cable TV, HDTV, medical images, infant cry signals and brain computer interfaces . She has published around 130 refereed journal papers, 260 refereed conference articles and holds six patents related to cable television picture monitoring, measurement and noise reduction. Applications of her work have been transferred to U.S. and Canadian industries. She is the inventor of the non-intrusive measurement methods for cable TV video impairments (licensed to Hewlett-Packard) and co-inventor of a non-interfering video system for measuring size and biomass of fish in cages and Tanks (licensed to J. B. Thompson and Associates).


She was the Vice President of the IEEE Signal Processing Society (2003 - 2005) and a member of the Society's Board of Governors( 2003-2995 and 2008-1010). She was the General Chair of the IEEE International Conference on Image Processing 2000, the Vice Chair of the IEEE International Symposium on Circuits & Systems 2004, chair of the IEEE Symposium on Signal Processing and Information Technology and is the co-chair of ICASSP 2013.

She was the Principal Investigator of the $22.2 million CFI/BCKDF award which resulted in a new building at UBC that houses the most modern equipment in all areas related to human centered technologies .


You can download my CV here.                             

Current Research Projects


  • Developing asynchronous Brain Computer Interface systems: The ultimate aim is to use the EEG as a direct communication channel from the brain of a person with severe motor disabilities to the real world. This is achieved by analyzing a person's EEG signal to detect whether or not it contains an activity relating to the person's intention to control his/her environment or a device.

  •  Fast Magnetic Resonance Imaging: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a versatile medical imaging modality. It can produce very high quality images without any biological side-effects. However it is a slow imaging modality. There has been physics (hardware) based and signal processing (software) based acceleration techniques to speed-up MR acquisition times. Our research is driven by recent advances in Compressed Sensing. We intend to speed-up data acquisition times, by collecting less data (than required by traditional MRI techniques) and reconstructing the image by using smart Compressed Sensing algorithms. In particular we focus on the following areas on MR Imaging:
      o Single slice MR imaging from single and multiple K-space scans.
      o Quantitative MR imaging.
      o Combining signal processing and physics based techniques for parallel MRI.
      o Dynamic MRI.

  • Content based multimedia fingerprinting:  This project addresses copy detection and copyright protection in multimedia sharing websites. The aim is to develop algorithms that can identify whether a query video (or part of it) has been copied form an existing video in a large database of videos . The approach used is called fingerprinting . Fingerprinting extracts from a video, compact signatures that  should uniquely identify this video or any distorted versions of it. The main two challenges in video fingerprinting are the design of the fingerprinting algorithm and the search algorithm that can identify a certain fingerprint in a huge database of fingerprints in a correct and fast fashion .

  • Information hiding and quality monitoring using watermarking: Data hiding is usually used in secret communication between two parties. Towards this aim, a binary secret message is imperceptibly inserted into the content. For example, this message could be the identification number of the content owner. At the receiver side, the hidden information should be extracted as accurately as possible. Watermarking has also been adopted as a technique to provide a blind measure of the quality of service (QoS) in multimedia communications. In such applications, the watermark is embedded into the original image at the transmitter side. The image quality is estimated at the receiver side by extracting the watermark from the received image and comparing it with the original watermark.

  • Human activity recognition in real videos: This project aims at recognizing human action under occlusion, scale and viewpoint changes. The task is highly challenging as we work on real world videos collected from Youtube, movies, TV broadcasts etc.

  • Digital image interpolation: Digital image interpolation is also known as image enlargement /reduction has many application in the advertising industry, digital cameras, video compression etc. Content-adaptive and Wavelet-based image interpolation techniques are developed. Efforts are also directed to finding efficient methods for edge enhancement, removing edge zigzagging and solving the loss of contrast after image enlargement.

  • Image-based face recognition  invariant to pose, illumination, and facial expression variations: The approaches are based on wavelet transform and principal component analysis to normalize illumination variation and to extract more salient features to facilitate the face recognition task.
  • Reversible integer-to-integer wavelet/subband transforms in the context of JPEG-2000 standardization effort.



Selected Recent Publications


For the complete list of publications, please refer to my publication list.


 Journal Papers


  • Majumdar, A., and Ward, R. K., “Compressed Sensing Based Near Real-Time Online Dynamic MRI Reconstruction”, IEEE Trans. Medical Imaging, Aug 2012 (accepted).

  • Majumdar, A., and Ward, R. K., “Algorithms to Approximately Solve NP Hard Row-Sparse MMV Recovery Problem: Application to Compressive Color Imaging”, IEEE JETCAS, Aug 2012 (accepted).

  • Malekesmailli, M., Fatourechi, M., and Ward, R. K., “Fast Approximate Nearest Neighbor Search Algorithm in Hamming Space”, IEEE Trans. PAMI Jul 2012 (accepted).

  • Mai, Z., Doutre, C., Nasiopoulos, P., and Ward, R. K., “Rendering 3D High Dynamic Range Images: Subjective Evaluation of Tone-Mapping Methods and Preferred 3D Image Attributes”, Journal of Selected Topics in Signal Processing, Mar 2012 (accepted).

  • Majumdar, A., and Ward, R. K., “Calibration-less Multi-coil MR Image Reconstruction”, Elsevier Magnetic Resonance Imaging Feb 2012 (accepted).

  • Yong, X., Fatourechi, M., Ward, R. K., and Birch, G. E., “Automatic Artifact Removal in a Self-Paced Hybrid BCI System”, Journal of Neuroengineering and Rehabilitation , vol 9, no 50, Aug 2012.

  • Guha, T., and Ward, R. K., “Learning Sparse Representations for Human Action Recognition”, IEEE Trans. PAMI vol 34, issue 8, pp. 1576-1588, Aug 2012.

  • Yong, X., Fatourechi, M., Ward, R. K., and Birch, G. E., “The Design of a Point-and-Click System by Integrating a Self-Paced BCI with an Eye-tracker”, IEEE JETCAS Special Issue on Brain Machine Interface , vol 1, no 4, pp. 590-602, Dec 2011.

  • Nezhadarya, E., Wang, J. Z., and Ward, R. K., "Robust Watermarking Based on Multiscale Gradient Direction Quantization" IEEE Trans. Information Forensics and Security, vol 6, no 4, Dec 2011.

  • Vahedi, E., Ward, R. K., Shah-Mansouri, V., Wong, W. S, and Blak, I. F., “On Securing RFIDs Against Blocking Attacks”, IEEE MMTC Letter vol 2, no 6, pp. 16-18, Dec 2011.


  Conference Papers

  • Nezhadarya, E., Ward, R. K., and Wang, J,. Z., "Wavelet-Based Gradient Transform and Its Applications", IEEE MMSP , Banff, Canada, Sep 2012.

  • Malekesmailli, M., and Ward, R. K., “A Novel Local Audio Fingerprinting Algorithm”, IEEE MMSP, Banff, Canada, Sep 2012.

  • Yong, X., Fatourechi, M., Ward, R. K., and Birch, G., "Adaptive Classification in a Self-Paced Hybrid BCI System", IEEE EMBC, San Diego, CA, Aug 2012.

  • Vahedi, E., Ward R. K., and Blake, I. F., "Analytical Modeling of RFID Generation-2 Protocol Using Absorbing Markov Chain Theorem", IEEE Globecom, Anaheim, CA, Dec 2012.

  • Majumdar, A., Ward, R. K., and Aboulnasr, T., "A FOCUSS Based Method for Low Rank Matrix Recovery",IEEE ICIP, Orlando, FL, Oct 2012.

  • Mai,Z., Nasiopoulos, P., and Ward, R. K., “Evaluation of Preferred Brightness and Detail Levels in 3D and 2D Images Based on HDR Tone Mapping”, IEEE ICASSP 2012 , Kyoto, Japan, Mar 2012.

  • Khojasteh, M., and Ward, R. K., "Quantification of Membrane IHC Stains Through Multi-spectral Imaging", ISBI 2012 , Spain, May 2012.

  • Guha, T., and Ward, R. K., “ A Sparse Reconstruction Based Algorithm for Image and Video Classification", IEEE ICASSP , Kyoto, Japan, Mar 2012.

  • Majumdar, A., and Ward, R. K., “Synthesis and Analysis Prior Algorithms for Joint-Sparse Recovery” IEEE ICASSP, Kyoto, Japan, Mar 2012 .

  • Majumdar, A., and Ward, R. K., "Face Recognition from Video: An MMV Recovery Approach" IEEE ICASSP, Kyoto, Japan , Mar 2012.




Address:         University of British Columbia

      c/o The Fred Kaiser Building

5500 - 2332 Main Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4

Telephone:     (604) 822-9428
Fax:                (604) 822-9013
email:             rababw-at-ece.ubc.ca
Homepage:    http://www.ece.ubc.ca/~rababw/