Homepage of Professor William Pearlman

William A. Pearlman

Professor Emeritus
Electrical, Computer and Systems Engineering Department
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Troy, NY 12180-3590
Tel: 518-276-6082
Fax: 518-276-8715
E-mail: pearlw@ecse.rpi.edu
Homepage: http://www.cipr.rpi.edu/~pearlman

N.B.: I retired from RPI as Professor Emeritus on Oct. 1, 2010, so will not be accepting any new students or postdoctoral researchers.
I wish all visitors to this page who are prospective students or researchers nothing but success in their future endeavors.



William Pearlman received the S.B. and S.M. degrees in electrical engineering from M.I.T. in 1963 and the Ph.D degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University in 1974. Between 1963 and 1974 he was employed as an engineer and consultant by Lockheed Missiles and Space Company in Sunnyvale, CA, and as an engineer by GTE-Sylvania in Mountain View, CA. He left industry in 1974 to become Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Since 1979 Dr. Pearlman has been with the ECSE Department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). He entered RPI as an Associate Professor and held the title of Professor from 1988 to 2006, when he changed his status to Research Professor. He had held the position of Director of the Center for Image Processing Research (CIPR) for a number of years until October 2009. He retired on October 1, 2010 as Professor Emeritus.

During the 1985-1986 academic year, and again for the spring semester in 1993, he was on sabbatical leave as Visiting Professor and Lady Davis Scholar in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel. He also held a Visiting Professor Chair at Delft University of Technology in Delft, the Netherlands in 1993, and has been an IBM Visiting Scientist in the IBM-Rio Scientific Center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1988. His research interests are in information theory, source coding theory, image, video and audio coding, and image processing. He has authored or co-authored over 200 publications in these fields. He has taught courses in probability and random processes, digital signal processing, communication systems, digital communications, information theory, image coding, data compression, and detection and estimation theory.

Dr. Pearlman is a Fellow of the IEEE and a Fellow of SPIE. He has served on the steering committee of SPIE's Visual Communications and Image Processing (VCIP) Conference since its inception in 1986, and in 1989 and 2008 served as the conference chair. At VCIP 2010 in Huangshan, China, where he was keynote speaker, he was presented a Certificate of Appreciation in recognition of his leadership and contributions to this conference since its inception. He has also served on technical program committees of several IEEE conferences and several proposal review panels for the National Scince Foundation. He was a past Associate Editor of Coding for the IEEE Transactions on Image Processing. He has been an active delegate to the ISO/JPEG2000 Working Group charged to set a new international standard for still image compression. He received the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society 1998 Video Transactions Best Paper Award and the IEEE Signal Processing Society 1998 Best Paper Award in the Area of Multidimensional Signal and Image Processing. On 27 June, 2001, he was awarded a prize from the Robert Bosch Foundation for distinguished contributions to the field of picture coding. Also in 2001, he was awarded an NRC Associateship from the National Academy of Science, and in 2009, the Rensselaer School of Engineering presented him its Research Excellence Award. Dr. Pearlman is also engaged as President and Chief Scientific Officer of PrimaComp, Inc., a small company that markets software for image and video compression.

Dr. Pearlman is perhaps best known as co-inventor of two celebrated image compression algorithms: Set Partitioning in Hierarchical Trees (SPIHT) with Amir Said ; and Set Partitioning Embeddeded bloCK (SPECK) Coder with Asad Islam (Conference Paper) (Journal Article). For coding examples using these algorithms, the following links are provided:

Comparison of video codecs : Video SPIHT, MC-EZBC, and H.264/AVC on QCIF Sequences

Google Scholar Profile

Wavelet Image Compression, William A. Pearlman, in Synthesis Lectures on Image, Video, and Multimedia Processing, A. C. Bovik, ed., DOI: 10.2200/S00464ED1V01Y201212IVM013, Morgan & Claypool Publishers, Jan. 2013.

  • Digital Signal Compression: Principles and Practice, William A. Pearlman and Amir Said, Cambridge University Press, 2011. Please also take note of the corrections in the errata document.
    This book is a textbook on signal compression suitable for advanced undergraduates and graduate students and for practioners in the field. It contains many figures, examples, and practice problems that are often computer projects. The 156-page problem solutions manual is available to instructors.

    Tutorials on Set Partition Coding and Image Wavelet Coding Systems are contained in the following two-part monograph:

  • W. A. Pearlman and A. Said, Set Partition Coding: Part I of Set Partition Coding and Image Wavelet Coding Systems , Foundations and Trends in Signal Processing, , Vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 95-180, Now Publishers, Delft, The Netherlands, 2008. Please also view corrections. Also available directly from Now Publishers online.

    A printed and bound version of this article is available at a 50% discount from Now Publishers.
    It can be obtained by entering the promotional code SIG00203 on the order form .

  • W. A. Pearlman and A. Said, Image Wavelet Coding Systems: Part II of Set Partition Coding and Image Wavelet Coding Systems , Foundations and Trends in Signal Processing, , Vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 181-246, Now Publishers, Delft, The Netherlands, 2008. Also available directly from Now Publishers online.

    A printed and bound version of this article is available at a 50% discount from Now Publishers.
    It can be obtained by entering the promotional code SIG00203 on the order form .

    Lecture Notes on Selected Topics in Digital Communications and Information Theory


    Research Interests

    Selected Technical Articles

    Lossless and Lossy Image Compression

    Research Interests

    Video Compression and Transmission

    Research Interests

    Higher-Dimensional Compression of Images and Image Sequences

    Research Interests

    Audio and Biological Signal Compression

    Research Interests

    Information Theory, Quantization and Rate-Distortion Theory

    Research Interests

    Filter and Filter Bank Design, Image Processing

    Security and Watermarking

    Research Interests

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    W. A. Pearlman: Publications