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JPEG committee is banking on AI to build its next image codec

Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG), a committee that maintains various JPEG image-related standards, has started exploring a way to involve AI to build a new compression standard. 

In a recent meeting held in Sydney, the group released a call for evidence to explore AI-based methods to find a new image compression codec. The program, aptly named JPEG AI, was launched last year; with a special group to study neural-network-based image codecs.

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Under the program, it aims to find possible solutions towards finding a new standard. To do that, it has partnered with IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) to call for papers under the Learning-based Image Coding Challenge. These papers will be presented at the International Conference of Image Processing (ICIP) scheduled to be held at Abu Dhabi in October.

The committee said it wants to find proof that AI can do a better job of achieving better compression with large image databases:

This activity aims to find evidence for image coding technologies that offer substantially better compression efficiency when compared to conventional approaches but relying on models exploiting a large image database.

Having AI models help in attempts to deliver high-quality media with data efficiency in mind isn’t entirely new. In 2017, Netflix developed a new AI-powered codec for emerging markets such as India, where people watch a lot of content on their phones through data networks.

Plus, researchers have presented several papers on image compression through machine learning models. It’ll be interesting to see a completely new AI-based image codec. Pied Piper, anyone?

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Published February 20, 2020 — 09:04 UTC