"International Internship Programme at Imaging Systems Laboratory, Changwon National University, South Korea."
Changwon National University is a public institution of higher education located in Changwon, an industrial city in the southeast of South Korea. It is home to the country's first graduate school of labor. The school enrols close to 15,000 students. Undergraduate offerings are divided between colleges of humanities, social science, natural science, economics, engineering, mechatronics, art and future convergence.
Read more to find out everything about Dipti's experience interning at Changwon National University.
South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea (ROK), is a developed country and a high-income economy. The country is considered a dominant power in the field of Robotics and AI and is the world's 11th largest economy. South Korea is the global leader in the industrial automation and technological sectors, being the world's top most automated country in the world with the highest robot density. Its export driven economy primarily focuses production on electronics, automobiles, machinery, petrochemicals and robotics. The country is investing a lot in the field of AI, robotics, mechatronics and automation and thus, the environment is very conducive to research.
Changwon is the capital city of Gyeongsangnam-do, on the southeast coast of South Korea. With a population of over 1 million, Changwon is one of South Korea's most populous industrial cities. The city is home to many high-technology and machine industries, including LG, Samsung, GM Daewoo, and their employees in a high-quality urban space. Per capita, Changwon has one of the largest foreign populations in South Korea due to the high number of foreign businesses in the city. Changwon National University, a public institution of higher education located in Changwon, has 54 Departments within 7 schools. The labs and research facilities in the university are state of the art with a solid research funding from the Republic of Korea. The infrastructure is packed with modern amenities such as IoT enabled buildings and dormitories.
In my second year and third year, I worked on a lot of projects involving robotics and computer vision. During the internship season, many companies turned up in the domain of information technology, however, not many had a work profile that aligned with my interests. A foreign internship blog inspired me to take my internship hunt to a global level and in the period of December to March, I started applying to a lot of international internship programmes, laboratories and universities all around the world whose research was in sync with my background and interests. The Imaging Systems Lab at Changwon National University, South Korea in January 2018 was one such lab that was advertising research openings for international interns in the field of image and signal processing. Since it was a good match with my profile, I applied with my Curriculum Vitae, 2 Letters of Recommendation and a Statement of Purpose. I was notified of my selection by March 2018 and completed the Visa formalities by April. I was the only one to be selected from VJTI. There were three other interns from IIT BHU.
I completed a summer research internship at the Imaging Systems Laboratory at the Changwon National University in South Korea. The duration of the internship was 11 weeks from 15th May 2018 to 31st July 2018. I interned in the field of Image and Color Science under the guidance of Dr. Oh Seol Kwon, the head of the Imaging Systems (IS) Lab in the Department of Control and Instrumentation in Changwon National University. As part of the internship, I was also given the opportunity to attend a research conference by the Korean Imaging Society in Daegu, and meet with prominent researchers in the field of computer vision and image processing in Korea. The laboratory’s research activities include signal processing applied to image, video and signals, advanced machine learning for various applications such as ADAS, Face Recognition, Gamut Mapping, High Dynamic Range Imaging, Image Dehazing and Super Resolution algorithms. The research areas I focused on were Single Image Dehazing and Color Gamut Mapping. The field of Image Dehazing is a vast one that seeks to recover images captured in adverse weather conditions that result in low saturation and dull colors. I researched and analyzed research papers for the removal of haze using Single Image Dehazing methods. I simulated single image dehazing algorithm such as the Dark Channel Prior, Color Attenuation Prior and Non Local Dehazing algorithms (Fig. 2) to estimate depth maps and recover parameters such as airlight, transmission maps and the dehazed image in MATLAB. I implemented the feature matching algorithm SIFT on artificially hazed images taken from satellites to verify their results and then calculated the PSNR, MSME and SSIM to comparatively analyze the previously mentioned algorithms’ relative performance on the images.
Gamut Mapping algorithms are an important research field in Color Science. They form a significant part of the research and development of imaging systems of various electronic devices such as monitors, TVs, cameras, printers and handheld devices such as phones and so on. I researched various color reproduction methods that enable next generation video and photography systems (UHD, 4K, Wide Colour Gamut, HDR, TVs, mobiles, cameras, printers, etc.) to accurately represent the complete subset of colours. I designed and programmed a MATLAB implementation of a research paper in the field: “A Color Gamut Gamut Mapping Scheme for Backward Compatible UD Video Distribution”, Azimi et al, from scratch,to develop an Invertible Gamut Mapping Scheme from UHD to HD.
After analyzing the results, I proposed a new gamut expansion algorithm that achieves a higher degree of saturation with images containing small color gamuts. The proposed algorithm results in a more uniform expansion and produces brighter images with greater contrast. (as seen in Fig 3 (c))
In addition to this, I presented the conclusions and results obtained after analysis and simulations to all the Lab members and the Professor on a biweekly basis. After which, we discussed each of the topics researched above and clear out doubts. In June, new juniors from the university joined the lab after their exams and I worked along with the rest of the lab members to provide an in depth introduction to fundamental topics to them in the field of Image Processing, Colour Science and Neural Networks. My guide, Professor Kwon, was a very supportive and an understanding teacher who guided us throughout the entire internship and offered valuable advice during our discussion sessions. He took great effort in making sure that all of us interns were comfortable and always made sure that our doubts were attended to.
Accommodation was arranged by the University for all international interns. Each one of was housed in the University’s guest house within the campus to help us get settled with our new surroundings. South Korea boasts of the fastest internet speeds in the world, and it is of no surprise to find high speed WiFi access on every corner and street! The campus and the housing offered blazing speeds and hence one didn’t need to invest in a cellular plan.
Research funds were also supported by the laboratory. The research stipend was decided on the basis of one’s performance and was paid on a biweekly basis. The stipend I earned over the course of the internship easily covered the air travel and living expenses. The guest house and the dormitories were just a 15 minute walk to the laboratory. The campus was safe and was always bustling with activities: such as Maker Expo, Robotics competitions or a soccer match. The buildings were surrounded by mountains and offered a very calm and serene atmosphere.
I learnt a lot of non academic lessons by living independently. As a vegetarian who had rarely cooked, I learnt the art of cooking (the hard way) after landing there. There was no dearth of instant food in Korea: wholesome noodles and rice were easily available in nearby convenience stores that had facilities of hot water and a microwave. We also had dinner parties almost every week with all the members of the laboratory that were fun bonding sessions and exchange of culture. On such nights, my friends were very kind to speak to the chef for a special vegetarian twist. Mexican and Burger joints near the campus offered items on their menu without meat too, so it was not all salads and khakras for me thankfully.
The lab members were also extremely cordial and helpful, who introduced us to the campus and the city. Koreans are warm, polite and very well mannered people who will go out of their way to help you. One of the toughest things to do while coming back was say goodbye to all the friends I had made, as we had gotten so close in such a short span of time!
In conclusion, my time in Korea has been one of the most memorable and rewarding experiences. The exposure I received to various state of the art technologies and research has left a long lasting impression on my mind. I gained a lot of knowledge in the field of Image and Color Science. This internship was my first taste of a research environment and my first time living independently in a foreign country and I enjoyed the experiences of both!
Fig. 1 (a) The view from the main entrance:
Fig. 1 (b) The University Library:
Fig. 1(c)The Control and Instrumentation Dept. overlooking the football field:
Figure 3. Comparison of the image and it’s CIE 1931 Chromaticity Plot (a) before and (b) after Color Gamut Expansion using Azimi et al and (c) the Proposed method :
Figure 4 The University Dorms in view across the Campus Lake :
Figure 5 Receiving the Letter of Completion from Professor Kwon :
Here's a Google document containing various useful links to blogs, groups and so on:
B. Tech. Electronics Engineering [2015 – 2019]
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