In the past few months, I have been working with a few colleagues, including Dr Anastasios Bakaoukas and Ewan Armstrong, at Computing on initialising a VR project. The idea is simple: build our new Waterside Campus (due open in 2018) in virtual reality using game development engine so we can all (virtually) walk around on our new site before it’s fully completed in the physical world. So why have we volunteered to do this?
Because we can! Our Game Development/Arts/Design programmes are strong and fast growing. We have expertise in modelling, artistic design and artificial intelligence for developing immersive games.
It can potentially help the University to promote our infrastructure/facilities at the new site to prospective students. To this end, we have worked with the marketing team to understand their needs. The tool could also help improving the visitor/student experience once we move to the new campus.
Using the new campus as the case for teaching. Students can drop their designs or game logics directly into this VR environment and test their work in a unique context.
It will be a great platform for media, AI, and traffic analysis research.
Despite an enormous workload on teaching and marking, the team has worked with an external media company and has committed many many hours transform 3D models for the gaming environment (special thanks to Ewan!). We hope to deliver some interest results very soon!
BTW, if you like one of those “cut-in-half” arts, here are some of my takes on the Creative Hub:
Taking a small slice off and you can see some networking space on the left and entrances to blocks of lecture theatres on the right:
Cutting it further:
It looks like there is a standalone building wrapped inside…
And here is the Engine Shed, a Grade II listed building currently being restored and it will be the home of the Student Union.
Dr Elena Fedorovskaya (Rochester Institute of Technology, USA) and I are organising the Work-in-Progress session of ACM TVX 2017, to be held in the Netherlands this June. The call for paper is now online.
Association for Computing Machinery, the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, delivers resources that advance computing as a science and a profession. ACM provides the computing field’s premier Digital Library and serves its members and the computing profession with leading-edge publications, conferences, and career resources.  In the area of computer networks and multimedia, ACM has been very successful in supporting prestigious conferences while IEEE still dominates high impact journals.
What’s ACM TVX?
ACM TVX is the leading international conference for research into online video, TV interaction and user experience. It is the successor of the very successful EuroITV series (technically sponsored by ACM Special Interest Groups). TVX bridges human-computer interaction research (supported by ACM SIGCHI) and technology advancement in multimedia systems (supported by ACM SIGMM). As a multi-disciplinary conference, its aim is to foster discussions and innovative experiences amongst the academic research community and industry. 
WiP encourages researchers, students and practitioners to submit research papers based on their recent viewpoints, new discoveries, and early-stage design and development in disciplines that are in line with TVX’s areas of interest. The WiP session provides a unique opportunity for exchanging brave new ideas, receiving feedback and fostering collaborations. We expect many WiP papers to grow into full submissions in the following iteration of TVX.
What’s new about WiP this year?
This year, we expanded the assessment criteria to include not only scientific impact but also societal, economic and industrial impact. In another word, we want to see something cool but also useful and feasible in practice. We also introduced a Project-in-Progress special track, soliciting contributions from ongoing major research initiatives including European Commission-funded or other similar-scale projects for cross-project discussions.
What’s the h-index and acceptance rate of ACM TVX?
TVX is only 3 years old, so we need to wait a bit longer to see its citation index. It is a highly competitive venue with an acceptance rate of ~25%.
Project title: Transforming online learning experience using virtual reality and gamification.
At UoN, the Innovation Fund has been established by the Vice Chancellor as a way of promoting innovation from amongst staff through the funding of projects which will support Strategic or Operational Plan objectives or whose work contributes towards Northampton’s Changemaker Challenges.
LinkedIn kindly found an article on New Scientist that quotes my comments on near-ultrasound communication (and subsequently spammed all my contacts…). It’s a cool piece of technology and I am glad to praise for its great potential.
The IEEE International Conference on Multimedia & Expo (ICME) has been the flagship multimedia conference sponsored by four IEEE societies since 2000. It serves as a forum to promote the exchange of the latest advances in multimedia technologies, systems, and applications from both the research and development perspectives of the circuits and systems, communications, computer, and signal processing communities. ICME also features an Exposition of multimedia products and prototypes.
Paper abstract (draft):
In order to streamline video content distribution on a myriad of platforms over heterogeneous networks, HTTP Adaptive Streaming (HAS) has been increasingly adopted. In this paper we pilot a bio-inspired HAS optimisation design with the aim to maximise the overall use experiences of a video playback session. Evaluations conducted within a real-world Internet environment demonstrate the benefit of our design using quality indicators such as convergence time, start-up delay, average video rate, stability, and fairness.
The emerging network paradigm of Software Defined Networking (SDN) has been increasingly adopted to improve the Quality of Experiences (QoE) across multiple HTTP adaptive streaming (HAS) instances. However, there is currently a gap between the research output and reality in this research field. QoE models, which offer user-level context to network management, are often tested in a simulation environment. Such environments do not consider the effects that network protocols, client programs, and other real world factors may have on the outcomes. On the other hand, setting up an experiment that reflects reality is a time consuming process requiring expert knowledge.
This paper shares designs and guidelines of a SDN experimentation framework (SDQ), which offers rapid evaluation of QoE models using real network infrastructures.
A paper is in submission for IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Signal Processing (J-STSP) Special Issue on Measuring Quality of Experience for Advanced Media Technologies and Services. This is a piece of work on cross-device media orchestration using web technologies and human factor modelling, which we started in an EU project (with TNO) and I am interested in steering it towards multi-sensory and multimedia IoT. Collaborations are welcome!
STEER: Exploring the dynamic relationship between social information and networked media through experimentation
(by Sylvie Dijkstra, Omar Niamut, Nikolaos Efthymiopoulos, Spyros Denazis, Nicholas Race, Mu Mu and Jacco Taal)
Abstract: With the growing popularity of social networks, online video services and smart phones, the traditional content consumers are becoming the editors and broadcasters of their own stories. Within the EU FP7 project STEER, project partners have developed a novel system of new algorithms and toolsets that extract and analyse social informatics generated by social networks. Combined with advanced networking technologies, the platform creates services that offer more personalized and accurate content discovery and retrieval services. The STEER system has been deployed in multiple geographical locations during live social events such as the 2014 Winter Olympics. Our use case experiments demonstrate the feasibility and efficiency of the underlying technologies.
The growing demand for online distribution of high quality and high throughput content is dominating today’s Internet infrastructure. This includes both production and user-generated media. Among the myriad of media distribution mechanisms, HTTP adaptive streaming (HAS) is becoming a popular choice for multi-screen and multi-bitrate media services over heterogeneous networks. HAS applications often compete for network resources without any coordination between each other. This leads to quality-of-experience (QoE) fluctuations on delivered content, and unfairness between end users. Meanwhile, new network protocols, technologies and architectures, such as Software Defined Networking (SDN), are being developed for the future Internet. The programmability, flexibility and openness of these emerging developments can greatly assist the distribution of video over the Internet. This is driven by the increasing consumer demands and QoE requirements. This paper introduces a novel user-level fairness model UFair and its hierarchical variant UFairHA , which orchestrate HAS media streams using emerging network architectures and incorporate three fairness metrics (video quality, switching impact and cost efficiency) to achieve user-level fairness in video distribution. The UFairHA has also been implemented in a purpose-built SDN testbed using open technologies such as OpenFlow. Experimental results demonstrate the performance and feasibility of our design for video distribution over future Internet.
Keywords: Hierarchical resource allocation, adaptive media streaming, QoE utility fairness, network orchestration, software defined networking, human factor
This special issue touches on many significant aspects of multimedia retrieval, including content analysis and understanding, content- and context-based indexing, search and retrieval, HCI technologies, and image and video summarization and visualization. It converges on the nexus of social multimedia and storytelling around real-world experiences, events, and places. Aside from the challenging research problems in this emerging area, its topics are linked to a host of important commercial and creative applications in sectors such as media, entertainment, arts and culture, sports, and music. READ ARTICLE »