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Prof. Alan Bovik and Team Win Emmy Award for Video Quality Tool

The Television Academy announced today that Alan Bovik, professor in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, and his team of former students and collaborators will be honored with a 2015 Primetime Engineering Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Engineering Development. The team will be recognized for their development of an advanced algorithm that enhances the video viewing experiences for tens of millions of people throughout the world. 

The awards will be presented at the 67th Engineering Emmy Awards, which will be held on Oct. 28 in Hollywood and hosted by Josh Brener of the HBO show “Silicon Valley.”

Update: Watch Prof. Bovik accept the Emmy on behalf of the team

SSIM Emmy Acceptance - Prof. Alan Bovik from UT ECE on Vimeo.


Prof. Alan Bovik

Bovik, Texas Engineering alumni Zhou Wang (Ph.D. electrical and computer engineering 2001) and Hamid Sheikh (M.S. electrical and computer engineering 2001; Ph.D. 2004), and collaborator Eero Simoncelli have been recognized for inventing the Structural Similarity (SSIM) Video Quality Measurement Model. 

SSIM is an algorithm for estimating the perceived quality of an image or video. Its computational simplicity and ability to accurately predict human assessment of visual quality has made it a standard tool throughout the television industry in broadcast and post-production houses — where, among other uses, it serves as a guide for how much or how little videos should be compressed while they are being transmitted. 

SSIM uses powerful neuroscience-based models of the human visual system to achieve breakthrough quality prediction performance. Unlike previous complex error models that required special hardware, SSIM can be easily applied in real time on common processor software. SSIM is now the most widely used perceptual video quality measure, used to test and refine video quality throughout the global cable and satellite TV industry. 

“It’s extremely gratifying to see your work reach a critical mass,” Bovik said. “As an educator, I am grateful to the Television Academy for this recognition, which helps bring attention to the importance of our research. This advancement was possible because of UT Austin’s student researchers, so we hope that young people see the contributions they can make as engineers.”

Bovik joined The University of Texas at Austin in 1984, and he has since served as director of the Laboratory for Image and Video Engineering in the Cockrell School. His research interests lie in the confluence of video engineering and visual neuroscience, where he is well known for creating perception-based models and algorithms for predicting or improving the visual quality of images and videos. He has published approximately 800 papers in related fields, which have been cited approximately 45,000 times in open literature. 

He has received numerous awards and accolades for his contributions in this field including the Society Award, the Technical Achievement and the Education Award, all from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ Signal Processing Society.

Learn more about this year’s Engineering Emmy Awards: