Toronto wins international conference bid for IEEE ICASSP 2021


When you ask Leaders Circle Ambassador Prof. Dimitri Androutsos why Toronto is an ideal host city for the International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing (ICASSP), he laughs.

“You’re asking me to list the thousand reasons?” he asks. 

In April 2016, Androutsos and fellow Leaders Circle Ambassadors Prof. Kostas Plataniotis (University of Toronto) and Prof. Xiao-Ping Zhang (Ryerson University) presented the case for why ICASSP should come to Toronto in 2021. Leading the list of reasons was Toronto’s standing as Canada’s largest city, a highly multicultural one at that with fantastic amenities, sightseeing, and a vast array of entertainment options for international guests. What’s more, the city’s accessibility via direct flight for a long list of cities around the globe proved an undeniable argument for bringing worldwide delegates to Toronto.

“Toronto is also a very hot tech centre,” adds Androutsos, a department chair and professor at Ryerson University’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “We have many tech companies in and around the city, as well as world renowned universities, all of which have strong areas of focus on signal processing.”

Serving as the world’s premier technical conference on signal processing and its applications, ICASSP is sponsored by the Signal Processing Society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). While the conference typically draws between 2,500 and 3,000 people, it is anticipated that the 2021 event in Toronto will have record attendance of up to 3,500 people.

“Toronto is so conveniently located in North America that we are expecting to draw a huge number of researchers and industry partners that will attend this conference and share ideas, contacts, and network,” says Androutsos.

As with any bid to host a conference, the one for ICASSP 2021 was highly competitive and centered on a rigorous, complex process. As Androutsos looks back on his experience, he says he credits a large part of the bid’s success to partnering with the Leaders Circle.

“If we hadn’t connected with the Leaders Circle so early on, we wouldn’t have had the resources necessary to create our bid proposal,” he explains. “They bent over backwards to give us all the information we needed, including connections with various hotels around the city. The Leaders Circle really made the bid process smooth and easy.”

“We’re so incredibly happy for Prof. Androutsos and his team’s success,” says Leaders Circle Manager Kathy Nicolay. “This conference is a huge win for Toronto and signal processing professionals across Canada, and it will leave lasting legacies in the industry.”

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