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Motaz El-Saban

Motaz El-Saban


I am a researcher in Microsoft research. I am interested in:

  • Multimedia information retrieval
  • Computer vision
  • Machine learning
  • Device aware computing



I joined Microsoft Advanced Technology Lab, Cairo (ATL Cairo) in November 2006 as a researcher. Prior to joining Microsoft, I was working as a senior scientist for NevenVision, a company specializing in computer vision products such as face recognition and object recognition technologies. Do not try to search online for NevenVision as they ceased to exist soon after I joined them by being acquired by Google. I spent a short while at Google before hearing about the intriguing opportunity of joining CMIC.

By the way I also teach at Cairo University, as part of my assignment as an assistant professor in the information technology department. Even earlier (in 2006), I finished my Ph.D. work at University of California Santa Barbara under the supervision of Professor B. S. Manjunath. The thesis investigated novel methods for automatic tracking and modeling of microtubules (curvilinear sub-cellular structures).



    • Amr Sharaf, Marwan Torki, Mohamed E. Hussein, and Motaz El-Saban, Real-time Multi-scale Action Detection From 3D Skeleton Data, IEEE – Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, January 2015.

      In this paper we introduce a real-time system for action detection. The system uses a small set of robust features extracted from 3D skeleton data. Features are effectively described based on the probability distribution of skeleton data. The descriptor computes a pyramid of sample covariance matrices and mean vectors to encode the relationship between the features. For handling the intra-class variations of actions, such as action temporal scale variations, the descriptor is computed using different window scales for each action. Discriminative elements of the descriptor are mined using feature selection. The system achieves accurate detection results on difficult unsegmented sequences. Experiments on MSRC-12 and G3D datasets show that the proposed system outperforms the state-of-the-art in detection accuracy with very low latency. To the best of our knowledge, we are the first to propose using multi-scale description in action detection from 3D skeleton data.


    • Ahmad Bassiouny and Motaz El Saban, SEMANTIC SEGMENTATION AS IMAGE REPRESENTATION FOR SCENE RECOGNITION, IEEE – Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, September 2014.

      We introduce a novel approach towards scene recognition using semantic segmentation maps as image representation. Given a set of images and a list of possible categories for each image, our goal is to assign a category from that list to each image. Our approach is based on representing an image by its semantic segmentation map, which is a mapping from each pixel to a pre-defined set of labels. Among similar high-level approaches, ours has the capability of not only representing what semantic labels the scene contains, but also their shapes, sizes and locations. We obtain state-of-the-art results over Siftflow and Msrc datasets.

    • Krishnan Ramnath, Simon Baker, Lucy Vanderwende, Motaz El-Saban, Sudipta Sinha, Anitha Kannan, Noran Hassan, Michel Galley, Yi Yang, Deva Ramanan, Alessandro Bergamo, and Lorrenzo Torresani, AutoCaption: Automatic Caption Generation for Personal Photos, IEEE Winter Conference on Applications of Computer Vision , March 2014.







    • Nayer Wanas, Motaz El-Saban, Heba Ashour, and Waleed Ammar, Automatic Scoring of Online Discussion Posts, in 2nd Workshop on Information Credibility on the Web (WICOW 2008), Association for Computing Machinery, Inc., 30 October 2008.







    1. Waleed Magdi and Motaz El-Saban, Personalized notification of live events (U.S. granted patent)

    2. Waleed Magdi and Motaz El-Saban, Using An Id Domain To Improve Searching (U.S. granted patent)

    3. Heba Ashour, Nayer Wanas, Mostafa El Baradei and Motaz El-Saban, User Evaluation in a Collaborative Online Forum (U.S. patent pending)

    4. Ayman Kaheel, Motaz El-Saban, Mohamed Shawky and Mahmoud Refaat, Video Sharing (U.S. granted patent)

    5. Motaz El-Saban, Christopher Burges and Qiang Wu, Re-ranking top search results (U.S. granted patent)

    6. Motaz El-Saban, Ayman Kaheel, Mahmoud Refaat and Ahmad Abd El Hameed, System and Method for Real-Time Stitching of Mobile Phone Streamed Videos (U.S. patent pending)

    7. Ayman Kaheel, Motaz El-Saban, Mahmoud Refaat, Ahmad El Arabawy, Mostafa Baradei Using accelerometer information for determining orientation of pictures and video images (U.S. patent pending)

    8. Motaz El-Saban, Xin-Jing Wang and May Sayed, Real-Time Annotation And Enrichment Of Captured Video (U.S. patent pending)

    9. James Lau, Ayman Kaheel, Motaz El-Saban Mohammad Shawky, Monica Gonzales, Ahmed El Baz, Tamer Deif and Alaa Abd El Hakeem, Using facial data for device authentication or subject identification (U.S. patent pending)

    10. Motaz El-Saban, Ayman Kaheel, Mohammad Shawky and James Lau, Modifying video regions using mobile device input (U.S. patent pending)

    11. Pushmeet Kohli, Jamie Shotton and Motaz El Saban, Synthesizing Training Samples for Object Recognition

    12. Alaa Abd El Hakeem and Motaz El-Saban, Dynamic update of recovered subspaces of high dimensional

    13. Motaz et al, Natural language search of images and navigation


    Professional activities and services

    · Reviewer for INFOS 2014

    · PC member for NLP track of the 11th ACS/IEEE International Conference on Computer Systems and Applications (AICCSA 2014)

    · Reviewer for the international conference in computer vision (ICCV 2013)

    · Reviewer for the Multimedia systems journal

    · Board member of a Microsoft research wide committee on issues in patent detectability

    · Reviewer for the Microsoft Research Award in the “Multimedia, Graphics, and Computer Vision” track 2013.

    · Session chair in ICPR 2012

    · Review for TIEC (Technology Innovation and entrepreneurship center) proposals for startups in Egypt.

    · Review for 2012 IBTIECAR graduation projects competition in Egypt.

    · Reviewer for ACM Transactions on Intelligent Systems and Technology (ACM-TIST).

    · Reviewer for ACM Transactions on Information Systems (ACM-TOIS).

    · TPC member for EMC 2010 (International Conference on Embedded and Multimedia Computing )

    · TPC member for ICPR 2010

    · Reviewer for the international journal of computer vision 2010

    · Session chair at ICIP 2009

    · Reviewer for ACM Transactions on Multimedia Computing, Communications and Applications (TOMCCAP)

    · Reviewer for IEEE international conference on image processing (ICIP) 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014

    · Reviewer for IEEE Transactions on Circuits and systems for video technology (CSVT)

    · Reviewer for Elsevier Image and Vision Computing journal

    · Reviewer for The Egyptian Informatics Journal

    · Served on the program committee for INFOS 2008 (Cairo, Egypt) for “Computational Intelligence in Multimedia Computing” track.

    · External examiner for graduation projects in American University in Cairo (AUC) 2010.

    · Board member for MSc thesis in Nile University, Egypt (Aug 2010)

    Personnal Hobbies

    Squash, soccer and snooker.
    Reading in various fields such as machine learning, multimedia technologies as well other soft skills improvement readings ("good to great", "built to last", "thinkertoys", "Seven habits of highly effective people"…)

    Favorite quotes

  • "The harder I work, the luckier I get." –Samuel Goldwyn
  • "There's no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit." –Ronald Reagan
  • "If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?" –Albert Einstein