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Multimedia computing is a logical next step by which computing technology will become ever more useful and ubiquitous in our everyday lives. From the perspective of technical challenges, multimedia affects nearly every aspect of computer hardware and software. The long-heralded marriage of computing, communications, and information services is now being consummated, and is manifesting itself in literally dozens of new alliances between companies ranging from semiconductors to cable TV, from newspapers and telephone companies to computer hardware and software.





Multimedia computing represents the logical next step in the relentless march by which computing technology is becoming ever more useful and ubiquitous in our everyday lives. The first small steps were made by time-sharing systems. Next came interactive computer graphics and the graphical user interfaces developed at Xerox PARC and subsequently popularized, first by Apple and then by Microsoft and workstation manufacturers such as Apollo, DEC, HP, IBM, Silicon Graphics, and Sun.
José Encarnação, Jim Foley

First Section


Group I Report: Authoring Systems

The objective of this group was to discuss the User’s and Author’s views of multimedia (MM). Authors are the Information Providers, responsible for the content, creation and maintenance of the information base. Authors use the tools provided by the developers. Sometimes the author is the user, and the user the author, i.e., in some applications, the author and user are the same person; in others they are different. The author is the person developing the MM applications (NOT the person developing the toolkit). The user uses the MM system.
G. Scott Owen, Victoria Burrill, Jerker Andersson, Friedrich Augenstein, Jay Bolter, Wolfgang Hübner, Wolfgang Herzner, Kenneth Knoespel, Kaisa Väänänen, Frank Weller

Group II Report: Multimedia Systems Architectures

The overall goal of this working group is to define a framework for multimedia architectures, and to state requirements for other groups (such as the work group 1 dealing with multimedia user interfaces). To reach this goal, it was decided to put several position statements together.
Martin Brenner, Martin Frühauf, Christoph Hornung, Klaus Meyer-Wegener, Max Mühlhäuser, Bernhard Tritsch

Group III Report: Digital Video in Multimedia Systems

The integration of motion video into computer systems offers many new opportunities for multimedia applications. Unfortunately, it also implies a variety of technical problems still to be overcome. The data rate of a raw video signal in PCM format can be more than 100 Mbit/s. On the other hand, the bandwidth available on computer busses, mass storage devices, and local area networks is typically a lot smaller. For example, Ethernet has a peak rate of 10 Mbit/s, typical hard disks will support a sustained rate up to 10 Mbit/s, a CD-ROM runs at a few Mbit/s, ISDN has a rate of 64 kbit/s. Thus, data compression is a key technology to integrate motion video into computers.
Bernd Girod, Ralf Guido Herrtwich, Georg Rainer Hofmann, Takahiko Kamae, Meinrad Niemöller, Stefan Noll, Ralf Steinmetz, Ana Sofia Vieira

Second Section


Co-operative Multimedia on Heterogeneous Platforms

The development of a distributed and heterogeneous generic multimedia platform presents many issues. The hardware, software and network platforms are heterogeneous, so device-independence and interoperability are vital. Therefore, the primary objective of the research presented here is to introduce, to specify and to evaluate a generic architecture, including communication mechanisms and multimedia features. This architecture provides functionality in the areas of transfer, processing, storage, presentation and interaction. In addition, co-operation and timing control paradigms must be introduced to allow real-time communication and remote access; such features are termed Tele-Media (tele-communicating multimedia).
The implementation part of this paper highlights the real-time Tele-Media features of the generic architecture. First results show that such multimedia communication is possible with acceptable performance and at reasonable costs on standard platforms and networks.
B. Tritsch, Ch. Hornung

Distributed Multimedia Solutions from the HeiProjects

The HeiProjects are aimed at providing a universal multimedia platform for networked workstations. This platform shall be used to support distributed multimedia applications, e.g., for collaboration support or multimedia kiosks. Its core component is a multimedia transport system spanning several underlying communication networks with different degrees of multimedia support. This paper provides a survey of the system together with proposed solutions for individual components as they appear from today’s perspective.
Ralf Guido Herrtwich

Database Management for Multimedia Applications

In multimedia computer systems, the data objects created, stored, manipulated, and presented differ from the data objects used in other systems. Digitized images, sound, and video ask for new methods in data management. In this paper, the task of data management for multimedia applications is defined and clearly distinguished from other tasks like editing and complex analysis. Next, the main services are identified and described, i.e. data abstraction, representation of relationships, and search. This leads to a particular interface of multimedia database management systems that is illustrated using the Abstract Data Type IMAGE and the relational data model. The implementation of such an interface is on its way, but some issues are still open and need further research. Content-oriented search is the most important one. The paper concludes with an outlook on other research problems in the field.
Klaus Meyer-Wegener

Towards the Modelling of Multimedia Environments: From the Image/Audio Signals to the Documents

The ongoing technical development of image communication and interchange, general-purpose computer graphics workstations, as well as personal computers equipped with special-purpose image display hardware, plays a role of increasing importance. This field of image communication has been described in a previous report [12] — with respect to the background of the three scientific disciplines
  • telecommunication engineering,
  • electrical engineering, and
  • computer science.
Georg Rainer Hofmann, Rüdiger Strack

Integration of Motion Video into Multimedia Computers

Computers were originally invented as programable calculation engines. Today, they are evolving more and more into universal, flexible communication platforms. Multimedia computers that integrate text, graphics, audio and images will he one the important developments of this decade. Motion video is a particularly powerful modality of multimedia communications; unfortunately, it also poses the greatest technical difficulties. Before motion video can be integrated into computers, several related problems have yet to be solved. These include issues in the areas of video signal representation and system architecture, and they are coupled by the real-time constraint of motion video. In this contribution, I discuss some of the key problems and possible solutions for the integration of motion video and computers.
B. Girod

A Modeling / Programming Framework for Large Media-Integrated Applications

Most present multimedia applications represent selfcontained off-the-shelf tools for specific tasks. We believe that in order for multimedia technology to gain widespread use, media-integrated applications must be emphasized; such applications integrate customized multimedia use with ‘conventional’ applications, using enterprise workflow models as the embracing concept.
Max Mühlhäuser

The Next Generation of Distributed Multimedia Systems

Distributed multimedia systems have been designed and implemented for several computer platforms, operating and window systems. All of them are conceived according to the paradigms of their specific environment. The Unix and the X window system with it’s client(Xlib)-server approach is the most frequently used system for multimedia prototypes in the research community.
Interoperability between different systems and vendors are provided by means of common protocols and data (audio and video) coding formats. The next challenge is to conceive system structures for distinct environments which are nicely integrated with the various paradigms. This paper outlines such an approach which is currently under development at IBM ENC, Heidelberg. It provides distributed multimedia services on AIX, it enhances the OS/2 multimedia capabilities for distribution and integrates both as a distributed multimedia system.
Ralf Steinmetz

Third Section


Finegrained Synchronisation in Dynamic Documents

Dynamic documents not only contain ‘dynamic’ contents like videos, audios, or animation, but more generally, changes over time during their presentation as well as temporal dependencies among components play a crucial role for them. Lectures and exams in computer-based education, entertainment (games), and even simulation are considered as target application areas. Authors of those documents (or applications, respectively) must be able to describe such temporal relationships. Therefore, an event-based model is presented, which not only allows one to specify synchronisational aspects in a flexible way, but also supports the development of distributed applications, where adjustments for delays caused by hardware and/or software can be considered automatically. In addition, various kinds of user interaction with a document’s presentation are also supported. A prototype, which is based on DECpresent (DEC 1990), is currently under implementation at Seibersdorf.
Wolfgang Herzner

Designing Multimedia User Interfaces by Direct Composition

A hierarchy of services is needed to support authors and users of multimedia user interfaces. After a short description of this hierarchy, the paper’s focus is on the upper levelsof this hierarchy.
This paper recommends the use of the “direct composition” paradigm in multimedia user interface design environments and the benefits of this paradigm are shown.
Finally SX/Tools, a multimedia user interface management system (UIMS) based on direct composition, is described.
Martin Brenner

Using Conceptual Maps in Hypermedia

In the field of hypertext and hypermedia there is an on-going discussion concerning link and node-models [2, 6, 10, 14]. There have been some systems that have explicitly separated structure and content, e.g. Intermedia’s concept of “webs” being superimposed on “documents” [6, 17].
Jerker J. E. Andersson

Word and Image in Multimedia

Rhetoric is an ancient term that is not often thought relevant to the contemporary world of electronic communication. For thousands of years, rhetoric has been defined as the art of writing or speaking persuasively, and so has been limited to verbal communication. But even in the age of printed books, effective communication has often included pictures and graphs as well as words. Computer-controlled multimedia, which is a new form of communication, goes further and includes animated graphics, sound, and video. At the technical level, standards for storing, compressing, and representing text, graphics, and video are being defined: standards such as RTF, SGML, Quicktime, JPEG, MPEG, ODA, HyTime, and MHEG. (See for example 2992, HyT92, and ODA89). But at the level of presentation and interaction in multimedia environments, a different kind of standard must be developed. For these new media require that we expand our definition of rhetoric. We must define a rhetoric of multimedia: a set of design rules and practices that suggest how to create persuasive combinations of all the media mentioned above.
Jay David Bolter, Kenneth J. Knoespel
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