ERCIM News No.26 - July 1996 - GMD

IDMS'96 - European Workshop on Interactive Distributed Multimedia Systems and Services

by Eckhard Moeller

The European Workshop on Interactive Distributed Multimedia Systems and Services (IDMS'96) was held at the Japanese-German Centre in Berlin from 4-6 March 1996. The workshop was organised by the Communications and Distributed Systems (KuVS) section of the German Gesellschaft für Informatik (GI) and the Informationstechnische Gesell-schaft im VDE (ITG), together with the Research Institute for Open Communication Systems (FOKUS) of GMD. Major support was also provided by DeTeBerkom, ERCIM and Siemens. Berthold Butscher (chair of the KuVS section) and Eckhard Moeller (GMD FOKUS) served as workshop chairmen. The organisation in Berlin was handled by Herwart Pusch (GMD FOKUS). The workshop's goal was to address new developments in respect to interactive, distributed multimedia systems and services in the business and entertainment domains and to highlight common develop-ments in the two domains.

The 126 workshop participants from the research, development and application fields, represented twelve European countries in addition to Australia, Canada, Korea, Japan and the USA. Three invited talks and twenty reviewed papers covered a variety of fields including multimedia services on demand, multimedia conferencing, multimedia networking and transport, continuous media as well as support for the development of distributed multimedia applications. The field of continuous media was best represented. In this field papers were presented on scheduling mechanisms in multimedia systems, control of video streams in video-on-demand services, synchro-nisation of continuous streams, and adaptive filters for audio/video streams in multipeer communication to bridge the heterogeneity gap in networks and end systems. Other contributions discussed system architectures and standardisation for the support of interactive multimedia applications, extensions of multimedia services in the Internet to support mobility, information filtering in radio and TV programmes via speech recognition, etc.

The workshop was kicked-off each day by an invited talk: David Greaves, who substituted for Andy Hopper of Olivetti Research and Cambridge University, presented a paper, 'The Network Computer - Fact or Fiction', discussing the possibility to directly connect I/O devices to an ATM network (instead of connecting to a PC/Workstation bus) through a common interface card. He argued that this would provide an optimal environment for multimedia applications including mobility and personal communications.

Day two began with a talk on 'Realtime Multimedia over the Internet', in which Christian Huitema (INRIA) discussed existing and future means of ensuring adequate quality for the interchange and presentation of audio and video data over the Internet. The final day was led off with a talk by Ralf Guido Herrtwich (RWE Telliance) entitled 'From Multimedia Systems to Interactive Television (ITV)', which examined the alternatives in ITV systems developments. He was positive about the market opportunities for future ITV systems as the main delivery media of multimedia content.
In the workshop panel, which was moderated by Andre' Danthine (University of Liège), Berthold Butscher, Ralf Guido Herrtwich, David Hutchison (Lancaster University) and Henning Schulzrinne (GMD FOKUS) discussed 'Global Multimedia Communication: Choosing the Right Platforms'. One hotly discussed question was whether the Internet by itself would be adequate as a global communication system which could meet the demands for multimedia applications in both the residential and business sectors. Most of the panelists agreed that the provision of heterogeneous networks and services will remain despite the increasing number of Internet customers.

The workshop closed with a presentation by Christine Seidel (DeTeBerkom) on 'COMENIUS ­p; The Virtual Classroom'. She discussed the pedagogical-didactic possibilities for implementation of multimedia applications in schools, based upon field trials in Berlin. At the end of the official program, the workshop participants were invited to visit the DeTeBerkom premises for a number of demonstrations. This enabled many workshop participants to view first hand the results of several projects, which are closely related to the workshop topics.

The Workshop Proceedings are published in the series 'Lecture Notes in Computer Science', Nr. 1045, by the Springer Verlag (ISBN 3-540-60938-5). Due to the great interest in the workshop, plans are underway for a subsequent event, tentatively scheduled for 1997 at the Technische Hochschule Darmstadt.

See also the IDMS'96 homepage at

Please contact:
Eckhard Moeller - GMD
Tel: +49 30 25499 23

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