What an awesome trip. One country, two conferences, six flights, 31.5 megametres and countless new contacts.

From the 28th of February to the 11th of March the EIS allowed me to travel to the international workshop on Hands-free Speech Communications and Microphone Arrays (HSCMA) and the International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing (ICASSP). The latter of which is the largest signal processing conference in the world, a flagship conference.

The first, HSCMA, was a great conference in San Francisco with amazing views from the SF Google Offices. It was only a small conference but had some very well-known researchers in attendance. Luckily for me I was able to meet quite a few of them, the benefits of a small, yet well known, conference.

A lot of interesting work and plenary talks were presented at HSCMA but nevertheless I still had to spend some time to explore the beautiful city of San Francisco. One day was enough to see Lombard Street, grab an In-N-Out burger at Fisherman’s Wharf, bicycle my way over the Golden Gate Bridge catching views back towards San Francisco from Marin Headlands.  On to Sausalito to see some very interesting houseboats, and return ferry back to the San Francisco Ferry Terminal.  A day well spent.

A quick flight saw me land in New Orleans with time to take a steam powered paddle boat for a ride up and down the Mississippi River. It was a beautiful trip to start off my stay for the ICASSP conference.

The next day I registered for the conference along with the thousands of other attendees. Being such a big conference there is always something for everyone. In particular, I made sure to take a look at all the “Multizone Spatial Audio Reproduction” research that was being presented, which is my area of expertise. I was able to catch up with familiar faces and met some new ones. There were exhibits, including job opportunities, where companies such as Amazon, Apple, Google, MathWorks, Microsoft and Yahoo were demonstrating, or explaining, their latest and greatest products and/or research.

After attending some absolutely outstanding plenary talks, such as “how to know where people are, in a room, using only existing Wi-Fi and cellular signals” to “recognising emotion to improve artificial intelligence”, it was time to head home.  A fantastic journey, of which I am very grateful to EIS for helping fund.