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 the President Elect of the IEEE Signal Processing Society .

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), as well as the Society's "Meritorious Service Award" (2013), 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 over 160 refereed journal papers, 300 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( 2003-2005 and 2008-2010). 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 2006, Chair of IEEE Workshop on Multimedia and Signal Processing 2012, and the co-chair of IEEE 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


  • Kharma, N., Ebne-Alian, M., Medina, O., Charbonneau, L., Dhot, T., Ward, R., and Rouleau, G., "Evolution of Image Secgementation Programs for Automated Processing of Microscopic Images of Cells in Culture", IEEE Trans. Evolutionary Compuation, (submitted September 2013).

  • Fu, H., Xu, D., Zhang, B., Lin, S., and Ward, R. K. "Object-based Multiple Foreground Video Co-segmentation via Multi-state Selection Graph," IEEE Trans on Image Processing, (under revision).

  • Guha, T., Nezhadarya, E., and Ward, R. K., "Sparse Representation-based Image Quality Assessment", Signal Processing: Image Communication, (Accepted for publication, October 2014).

  • Majumdar, A., and Ward, R. K., " Exploiting Sparsity and Rank Deficiency for MR Image Reconstruction from Multiple Partial K-Space Scans", Canadian Journal of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Vol. 37(4), pp. 228-235, 2014.

  • Nezhadarya, E. and Ward, R. K., "Multiscale Derivative Transform and Its Application to Image Watermarking", Elsevier Digital Signal Processing, Vol. 33, pp. 148-155, 2014.

  • Guha, T., and Ward, R.K., "Image Similarity Using Sparse Representation and Compression Distance", IEEE Transactions on Multimedia, Vol. 16 (4), pp. 980-987, 2014.

  • Chen, X., Liu, A., Peng, H., and Ward, R., "A Preliminary Study of Muscular Artifact Cancellation in Single-Channel EEG", Sensors, 14(10), pp. 18370-18389, 2014.

  • Majumdar, A., Anupriya, G., and Ward, R. K., "A Low-Rank Matrix Recovery Approach for Energy Efficient EEG Acquisition for a Wireless Body Area Network", Sensors, Vol. 14(9), pp. 15729-15748, 2014.

  • Majumdar, A., and Ward, R. K., "Non-convex row-sparse multiple measurement vector analysis prior formulation for EEG signal reconstruction", Biomedical Signal Processing and Control, Vol. 13, pp. 142-147, 2014.

  • Vahedi, E., Ward R. K., and Blake, I. F., "Performance analysis of RFID protocols: CDMA vs. the standard EPC Gen2," IEEE Transactions on Automation Sciences and Engineering, Vol. PP(9), pp. 1-12, January 2014.


  Conference Papers

  • Sheikhzadeh, F., MacAulay, C., Guillaud, M., Lane, P., Carraro, A., Ward, R., and McKenna, J., "Fluorescence confocal microscopy for detection of cervical preneoplastic lesions", 2015 SPIE Medical Imaging Symposium, 21 - 26 February 2015, Orlando, Florida United States.

  • Majumdar, A., Shukla, A. and Ward, R., "Combining Sparsity with Rank-Deficiency for Energy Efficient EEG Sensing and Transmission over Wireless Body Area Network", IEEE Int. Conf. on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing (ICASSP), Brisbane, Australia, April 2015 (submitted).

  • Majumdar, A., and Ward, R., "Learning the Sparsity Basis in Low-rank plus Sparse Model for Dynamic MRI Reconstruction", IEEE Int. Conf. on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing (ICASSP), Brisbane, Australia, April 2015 (submitted).

  • Majumdar, A., and Ward, R., "Improved Blind Compressed Sensing for Dynamic MRI Reconstruction", Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Abstracts pp. 4381, 22( 2014).

  • Ward, R. and Majumdar, A., "Exploiting Sparsity and Rank-deficiency in Dynamic CT Reconstruction", IEEE Medcom 2014, 7th to 8th November, Greater Nodia, India.

  • Majumdar, A., and Ward, R., "Fast SVD Free Low-rank Matrix Recovery: Application to Dynamic MRI Reconstruction", IEEE Medcom 2014, 7th to 8th November, Greater Nodia, India.

  • Palangi, H., Deng, L., and Ward, R. K., "Recurrent deep-stacking networks for sequence classification", 2nd IEEE China Summit & International Conference on Signal and Information Processing, pp. 510 – 514, Xi’an, China 9-13 July 2014.

  • Majumdar, A., and Ward, R. K., "Improved MRI Reconstruction via Non-Convex Elastic Net", IEEE Int. Conf. on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing (ICASSP), Florence, Italy, May 2014 (accepted).

  • Guha, T., and Ward, R. K., "Learning Sparse Models for Image Quality Assessment", IEEE Int. Conf. on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing (ICASSP), pp. 151- 154, Florence, Italy, May 2014.




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/