multimedia @ VU
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intelligent multimedia

Intelligent Multimedia Group

Anton Eliëns, Zhisheng Huang, Michiel Hildebrand and Cees Visser



Our goal is to study aspects of the deployment and architecture of virtual environments as an interface to (intelligent) multimedia information systems ...






  Dr. A. Eliëns, Dr. Z. Huang
  Fac. Exacte Wetenschappen/IMSE
  Vrije Universiteit, De Boelelaan 1081
  1081 HV Amsterdam
  tel: +31.20.4447741
  email: {eliens,huang}@cs.vu.nl 
  url(s): wasp.cs.vu.nl

Intelligent Multimedia Group (VU)

Over the past six years, our research efforts have focussed on developing models and software architectures for multimedia and hypermedia applications, including 3D virtual environments and multi-user games. Recently, we have developed a platform for intelligent multimedia based on the distributed logic programming language DLP and X3D. In addition, we have developed a scripting language (STEP) based on dynamic logic for describing dynamic aspects of rich media 3D environments, including gestures and movements of humanoids.

research approach

In our research we strive for the realization of demonstrators, that is target applications that illustrate our concepts and set challenges for our models and technology. As example demonstrators that we have realized we may mention: real-time musical jam-sessions on the web, business-process visualisation in 3D, multi-user socer game with autonomous agent players, and an instructional VR for Tai Chi.


For describing the results of our research we make a distinction between three (related) sub-projects, respectively structured hypermedia, interactive visualisation, and intelligent multimedia

structured hypermedia:

The project started with the construction of a software framework for developing web-based hypermedia applications, the hush library. A number of prototype multimedia applications were built, exploring the extension of web-based hypertext with for example music and video. In cooperation with members of the CWI Multimedia Group, work was done on developing models for hypermedia applications. This cooperation resulted in the formalization of the Amsterdam Hypermedia Model, an extension of the Dexter Hypertext Reference Model.

interactive visualisation:

The theme of the project concerned the use of animations and visualisation to display business process simulation results in a hypermedia context. During the project the focus shifted towards visualisation, in particular business visualisation. Also, explorations were done to investigate interactive visualisation in 3D. In Schönhage's thesis several case studies can be found illustrating the use of visualisation to support business processes and in particular decision making processes.

intelligent multimedia:

We are developing a high-level platform for 3D virtual environments based on agent-technology, using the languages DLP, Java, and X3D/VRML. This work is done in the context of the (NWO) WASP and RIF projects. Our goal is to study aspects of the deployment and architecture of virtual environments as an interface to multimedia information systems. As demonstrators we have developed a distributed soccer-game prototype with intelligent autonomous avatar-embodied agents as players, a number of STEP demos (including a demonstration of Tai Chi), as well as additonal XML-based authoring tools for STEP such as the XSTEP editor.

Distributed Logic Programming

The language DLP is a distributed object-oriented extension of Prolog. It supports multiple inheritance, non-logical instance variables and multi-threaded objects (to allow for distributed backtracking). Object methods are collections of clauses. Method invocation is dealt with as communication by rendez-vous, for which synchronization conditions may be specified in so-called accept statements. The current implementation of DLP is built on top of Java.

In effect, our platform is the result of merging VRML with the distributed logic programming language DLP, using the VRML External Authoring Interface. This approach allows for a clear separation of concerns, modeling 3D content on the one hand and determining the dynamic behavior on the other hand. Recently we have adopted X3D as our 3D format. The VRML profile of X3D is an XML encoding of VRML97.

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(C) Æliens 2014