ERCIM News No.26 - July 1996 - GMD

TANGRAM - A Framework for Multimedia Tele-communication Applications

by Klaus-Peter Eckert

The TANGRAM project is designed to develop an object-oriented framework for multimedia tele-communication applications and their management with respect to the diverse architectures introduced by the Telecommunications Information Networking Architecture Consortium (TINA-C). It is based on distributed object technology introduced by the Object Management Group (OMG). TANGRAM is a three year project sponsored by De Te Berkom and is being carried out at GMD-Institute for Open Communication Systems.

Until recently, the development of application supporting middleware in the fields of distributed systems, network and service management, telecommunications, mobile communications, security, and databases were performed independently of each other.

Due to the possibility of creating innovative services and due to high expectations and requirements of potential service providers, service users, middleware providers, and network providers, there exists an increasing need to integrate these approaches. Furthermore, the technical developments already in existence, and those which are expected in the near future, both permit and require the implementation of uniform concepts for future telecommunication applications.

Corresponding activities are reflected in the convergence of once independent modelling approaches such as the Open Distributed Processing (ODP) reference model, the Service, Network, and Management Architectures introduced by TINA-C and the Object Management Architecture (OMA) introduced by the OMG. The GMD-project TANGRAM provides a basis for the implementation of these future-oriented developments. The main goal of the project is the development of a prototype of a TINA-C compliant framework supporting the employment, subscription, and execution of accountable, multimedia tele-communication applications. This work includes the evaluation and validation of the TINA-C concepts.

A further goal is the development of an underlying Distributed Processing Environment (DPE), based on OMG's CORBA 2 technology (Common Object Request Broker Architecture). Using commercially available CORBA 2 implementations like IONA's Orbix or Hewlett Packard's Distributed Smalltalk together with various CORBA services, TANGRAM provides a homogeneous environment on top of a network of cooperating subcomponents running on heterogeneous software and hardware platforms.

TANGRAM will additionally evaluate available middleware products with respect to their ability to support telecommunication applications and their degree of interoperability with existing and emerging products like Microsoft's OLE (Object Linking and Embedding), OpenDoc, or the World Wide Web. For more details on TANGRAM refer to

Please contact:
Gerd Schuermann - GMD
Tel: +49 30 25499 213/200
or Klaus-Peter Eckert - GMD
Tel: +49 30 25499 227/200

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