Ingrid Daubechies


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Considered one of the best known female mathematicians, Ingrid Daubechies’ creation of practical wavelet transforms revolutionized signal processing and has impacted audio, image, and video devices and communications systems. Her development of orthogonal bases of compact support in 1998 was a watershed moment for the field of signal processing. Her work opened up new pathways of theory and applications for wavelets and filter banks and showed that their practical use in applications was indeed possible. Used for signal coding and data compression, the “Daubechies Wavelets” are now an indispensable tool for signal processors.

In her groundbreaking work, Dr. Daubechies demonstrated how to design well-behaved orthogonal wavelets using well-known filter banks and was able to provide a complete analysis. Dr. Daubechies then extended her wavelet techniques to expand their range of applications. In 1992, with A. Cohen and J.C. Feauveau, she developed a family of symmetrical biorthogonal wavelet bases to better handle image and video encoding problems. The eventual JPEG 2000 image coding standard, which enables applications such as next-generation entertainment systems and medical systems for telediagnosis, would be based on these wavelets and filter banks. Dr. Daubechies also worked with Wim Sweldens to apply Sweldens’ lifting algorithm to general wavelet transforms. The resulting algorithms offered state-of-art performance in speed and memory. She also applied lifting to a integer-to-integer wavelet transform that eliminated the noise present in standard transform coding algorithms. The lifted and integer-to-integer wavelets are key components of the JPEG 2000 standard.

An IEEE Fellow, Dr. Daubechies is currently a professor in the Mathematics Department at Duke University, Durham, N.C.