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Architectures Software and Hardware for MPEG-4 Systems

Objective

The objective of the EMPHASIS project is to firmly establish a European lead in software and silicon technology suitable for meeting the needs of MPEG-4. In the process of doing so, EMPHASIS will play a very active role in the definition of the MPEG-4 standard from an implementation realisation perspective.
EMPHASIS will deliver 4 key technologies:
MPEG-4 Systems layer (MSDL).
- Software implementation of MPEG-4 tools and algorithms.
- Audio & Video composition technology.
- Specifications for enhancing processor architectures and hardware acceleration modules that meet the multimedia demands of MPEG-4 applications.
Real Time Video Decoding of MPEG-4 Video VM on a workstation,
Specification of Objects-On-Demand
Applications for MPEG-4,
Systems and Market analysis,
Prototype Video and Audio Compositor implementations,
Characterisation and benchmarking of processor and VLSI blocks for MPEG-4 video decoding low level functions,
Identification of VLSI acceleration blocks,
Software optimisation of key primitives for European processors,
Virtual Machine for Multimedia applications analysis,
Over 50 contributions to MPEG-4 (including the initiating of a major reduction in Video Decoding computational complexity).
Expected Achievements
Provision of platforms that meet the demands of real time MPEG-4 A/V decoding.
Demonstrating clearly the benefits of MPEG-4 technology to a wide audience.
Providing a strong contribution to the MPEG-4 standardisation process, particularly in terms of computational and system complexity reduction.
Providing a suite of modular MPEG-4 software components that can be exploited by third party application developers using the demonstrator technology.
Tailoring the software technology to extract the maximum performance of the European processors supported by the project.
Specifications for enhanced future generation microprocessors and hardware acceleration modules suitable for meeting the demands of MPEG-4 A/V decoding.
Virtual Machine approaches that address the demanding needs of Multimedia processing.
Expected Impact
The EMPHASIS project will impact the following:
1. Provide a software implementation of MPEG-4 running on a platform with mass market potential,
2. Significantly boost MPEG-4 development by provision of both technical resources and product development,
3. New applications that can utilise the flexible approach being defined by MPEG-4 and implemented within the EMPHASIS project,
4. Lowering the cost of deploying MPEG-4 technology and hence helping to create a critical mass of installed terminals.

Main contributions to the programme objectives:
Main deliverables
Essential contribution to MPEG-4 and development of key hardware and software components
Contribution to the programme
Contributed to MPEG-4, a very important enabler for interactive, flexible, scalable and multi-platform multimedia services

Technical Approach
The technical approach adopted is to firstly gain a thorough understanding of the technical and commercial problems to be solved by means of analysis. With a clear view of the problems to be solved and the relative merits of proposed solutions understood, a precise specification will be developed for both software and silicon components of the final solution. EMPHASIS will actively participate in the definition of MPEG-4 and feedback recommendations based upon the result of its analysis and implementation realisation experience.
1. Using a project developed C/C++ model of MPEG-4, analyse the processing performance required taking into consideration the available processors currently being developed within Europe as well as major competitors external to the EU.
2. With these results, assess the need for:
- Optimised software development
- Processor Architecture improvements
- Hardware acceleration assistance
3. Both currently available and novel schemes are considered.
4. Define, implement and demonstrate a software MPEG-4 solutions based upon existing European processors.
5. Define an enhancement to existing European processor to meet higher profiles and levels.
6. Identify and design components of MPEG-4 processing that require VLSI assist in order to achieve a specified profile/level that is outside the boundaries of current and projected European Processor technology.
Summary of Trial
EMPHASIS will engage in a "Technology Trial" which will demonstrate the technology developed by the project and the key differentiating features and benefits of MPEG-4. In order to ensure that the trial successfully evangelises the benefits of MPEG-4, the project has commissioned the production of content for two complementary applications.
The first is an Interactive Music Video whereby individual musicians, singers, dancers and presenters may be selectively introduced or removed in a 3D room. Correspondingly, the multi-channel audio output reflects both the location of individual sound sources in the room as well as the acoustic properties of the room.
The second is an Interactive Tour of the City of Aachen in Germany. In this application the user is able to navigate around a city (forwards and backwards) and interact with locations of interest. A virtual tour guide will assist when needed by the user. The Tour Guide invoked can be matched to the needs of the user (language, age, gender etc.).
Two versions of the demonstrator will be built, both based upon European developed processors. One will be a standalone system using entirely European technology (RISC), whilst the other will accelerate a PC platform by means of a VLIW based PCI plug in board.
Key Issues
- Programmable approaches to implementing Multimedia
- Object orientated Audio Visual Coding
- Implementation realisation for commercial exploitation

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

SGS-THOMSON Microlectronics Limited
Address
1000, Aztec West Almondsbury
BS12 4SQ Bristol
United Kingdom

Participants (14)

Centro Studi e Laboratori Telecomunicazioni SpA (CSELT)
Italy
Address
Via Guglielmo Reiss Romoli 274
10148 Torino
Ecole Nationale Superieure des Telecommunications ARECOM
France
Ecole Polytechnic Federale de Lausanne
France
France Télécom
France
Address
38-40 Rue Du Général Leclerc
92131 Issy-les-moulineaux
Heinrich Hertz Institut fuer Nachrichtentechnik
Germany
Address

Berlin
Laboratoires d Electronique Philips SAS
France
Matra Communication MATRA
France
SIEMENS AG
Germany
Address
Wittelsbacher Platz 2
SRF PACT
United Kingdom
St. Casa & Catania
Italy
Studer Professional Audio
Switzerland
Tao Group Limited
United Kingdom
University of Hannover LFI
Germany
Universität Fridericana Karlsruhe (Technische Hochschule)
Germany
Address
Haid-und-neu-straße 10-14
76131 Karlsruhe