Summary of the Summer School at the Max Planck Institute, Nijmegen

The CLARA Summer School on Infrastructure Tool Development has taken place at Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics on 5th – 12th July.

Participants came from several institutions, including University of Bielefeld, Technical University of Aachen, Giessen University or Technical School of Mittelhessen. Some representatives of Max Planck staff also participated in parts of the summer school, especially those requiring less technical expertise. Altogether they have created a very inspiring and productive group that managed to carry out the tasks planned for the event and also came up with some new ideas for developing useful things, which also have been done during the summer school.

On the first day Przemek Lenkiewicz has opened the summer school and introduced participants to the agenda and all extra activities. Participants were also encouraged to present themselves and their work, giving an idea about how they use ELAN and what are they hoping to learn at this event.

Later Han Sloetjes, the main developer of ELAN, has presented the annotation tool and introduced its mechanisms for creating and integrating extensions (recognizers). Some users said that although they have used ELAN for quite a long time, they were not even aware that it is possible to extend its functionality and that it is so simple. Han has spent the whole day with participants to clear out any doubts they might have. He also showed up on following days and participated in the development sessions.

Days 2-4 of the event were about signal processing techniques. Stefano Masneri of Fraunhofer HHI Berlin and Dr. Rolf Bardeli of Fraunhofer IAIS Sankt Augustin have introduced the participants to video and audio processing basics. In the afternoon hands-on sessions participants have developed some simple video/audio processing algorithms, like histogram calculations for both audio and video, color-to-greyscale conversion, image flipping, etc. But also more advanced functionality was developed, like detecting person’s hand in a video using edge detector as the base or detecting fricatives in a speech recording using thresholding.

The last two days of the summer school were led by Przemek Lenkiewicz and Eric Auer. In a brainstorming session with the participants we have defined two recognizers, which are interesting for them to develop. Those included automated importing of eye-tracking data into ELAN and representing it as annotations and curves, and also a recognizer to compare two tiers based on the similarity of the annotations. Both recognizers have been successfully developed until the end of the summer school.

Since the summer school included the weekend, the group met and explored Nijmegen for a while. On Monday July 11th we also had dinner together in a nice Dutch restaurant.

All pictures from the event can be found here:

After the event participants have filled a survey and rated the summer school very well for a good content, good way to deliver it and for overall organization. Considering the good feedback, another Summer School on Infrastructure Tool Development might take place at Max Planck in summer 2012. All interested in participating should contact Przemek Lenkiewicz about it.

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