Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS

Periodic Report Summary 1 - PROVISION (PeRceptually Optimised VIdeo compreSION.)

In the following, a summary of the overall progress of the PROVISION ITN project for this first reporting period (1.9.2013 – 31.8.2015) is provided, including reporting sections on recruitment status, scientific progress, training activities, mobility, communication and outreach topics, industrial coordination as well as management. For a more detailed report, please read the following sections. Also, an in-depth analysis of technical achievement can be found in the previous mid-term report (PROVISIONITN-MTR-V1.0.pdf).

In comparison to the original planned recruitment schedule in Annex I at the beginning of the project, some of the fellow employment periods have been delayed due to finding suitable ESRs and ERs with the highest technical knowledge, which also fulfil the requirements of this funding scheme. Also, delays occurred due to visa restrictions. From the initially planned 15 fellows, 12 full-period fellows have been recruited by M24. As it was agreed to split positions ESR1 and ESR11, also 2 of the 4 partial-period fellows have been recruited by M24, Details can be found in section 3.3 of the attached periodic report document.

Scientific advancement in the area of perceptual video coding has been achieved through the fellows’ individual work, which is structured along the 5 scientific work packages WP1-WP5. Here, some of the highlights include: An industrial survey and collection of test material in WP1, motion vector field analysis and sequence-specific reference picture reordering in WP2, a Kernel Principal Component Analysis for new transform coding and texture synthesis methods in WP3, perceptual distortion measures, including just noticeable difference in encoder optimization and assessment of perceptual quality in WP4, as well as the creation of an HM-based reference model and specification of common test conditions in WP5. The novelty of the scientific work has been proven through a number of scientific publications. A more in-depth scientific overview can be found in chapter 3.2 of the attached report.

Each ESR or ER employed by the network is appointed to at least one supervisor from every host institution, mostly two. On the basis of the fellows' qualifications, interests, work packages and projects a career development plan for every single researcher has been established between the supervisors and the fellows.
Due to the delay in the recruitment the training planned for the first reporting period of the project has been delayed as well. During the Kick Off Meeting in Berlin in M6 three fellows were able to attend and received training in the form of a lecture. The second project wide training event took place in Nantes, France in M13 and in Aachen in M 18. These included practical sessions and group work activities. Furthermore the researchers received training of transferable skills such as presentation skills and how to pitch ideas and were asked to create video material that can be used to explain video compression to the public and introduce the PROVISION ITN and its researchers as well as training them in handling media and journalists. Overall they received training in the following scientific topics:
• HEVC Overview by Jens Ohm
• Overview, Perspectives and Principles in Standardization by Jens Ohm
• HEVC overview by Mathias Wien
• HM reference software overview by Karsten Sühring
• Texture Analysis and Synthesis for Coding by Dave Bull
• Texture and Motion Models by Jens Ohm
• Visual Quality Assessment by Philippe Guillotel
• The Machine Learning way to Video Analysis and Compression by Wojciech Samek
• Current Developments in Motion Tracking by Bastian Leibe
• Visual neuroscience: An Overview by Jenny Read
• Ultra High Definition TV by Richard Salmon
• Over the Top Content Delivery: State of the Art and Challenges Ahead by Christian Timmerer
• Developments in Video Coding Standardization by Gary Sullivan
• Compressive Sensing by Marius Geis
• Patents and IPR in Video Compression by Tobias Oelbaum
• Video coding in TV production, Andy Quested (Head of HD and UHD, BBC Engineering)
• Video coding in TV transmission, Christoph Fingerhut (Technologist, BBC R&D)
• Video coding in broadband delivery, Paul Gorley (BBC R&D)
• Ultra-High Definition Television Formats: Why we need "better pixels”, Katy Noland (Technologist, BBC R&D)
• Core Validation Session: HM Workshop: HM reference software from the coding and implementation perspectives, Karsten Sühring (Researcher, HHI)

and transferable skills:
• Presentation Skills by BBC Academy
• How to pitch ideas by BBC Academy
• New Broadcast Technologies by BBC Academy
• Video Making Session and Interviews by Olivier Rétif, Patrick Le Callet and Antje Nestler
• Positive Psychology in Project Management by Randall Birnberg
• How to "ride" your PhD by Eva Reichmann

During the reporting periods, only a few secondments were originally planned, since the individual work of the Fellows at the recruiting partner had to start before sending them to a hosting institution. Further, due to delays in the recruitment process, as well as limitations in the facilities that could be provided by hosting institutions, it was necessary to further update secondment plans. Usually, each full-period Fellow will do two secondments (one with a full partner, one with an Associated Partner), while for reduced-period Fellows, one secondment is planned. So far, two secondments with full partners as hosts (ER3 and ESR5) have been finalised. Basically, except for scheduling updates, no change was made with regard to the host as far as full partner secondments are concerned. For the secondments with Associated Partners, since some of them have withdrawn their willingness to host Fellows, various updates are necessary. At the current time, some of these cannot be confirmed yet, since new Associated Partners have to be taken on board, and negotiations have to be finalized in the second reporting period. Details for the planned secondments can be found in Table 4, section 3.5 of the attached detailed report.

The project website can be found under or The website hosts an intranet for everyone participating in the project that contains a wiki and discussion platform. The public part of PROVISION’s website promotes the project, presents the team and shows the main goals for research. Web technologies like image galleries, news and event managers are integrated to support an attractive appearance of the project’s website. For internal and external communication the following tools have been implemented: project logo, e-mail reflectors, svn repositories, ftp server, Yammer, Facebook and Linkedin, Leaflets, a newsletter and project videos.
The PROVISION fellows performed 14 outreach activities in the first reporting period of the project. Another 6 outreach activities are planned until November 2015, as also shown in detail in section 3.6 of the attached in-depth document.

There have been several changes to the industrial participants in the project:
• Netflix and YouTube have become Associated Partners;
• Technicolor and Vitec are the other two Associated Partners;
• Ericsson and Orange are members of the Advisory Board;
• Cisco have moved from an Associated Partner to the Advisory Board due to a problem in that they can’t accept Fellows on Secondment due to company-internal rules;
• Microsoft Research Asia has become inactive as an Associated Partner. This seems to be due to staff changes within the company not allowing enough time for them to participate in the project;
• ST Microelectronics has withdrawn due to changes within the company mean that they no longer focus on digital video.
Fellow ER3 created an on-line survey to obtain the opinions of industry on the future developments in video coding and on the qualities needed from young researchers entering the field. Questions on the latter aspects are of particular interest to Provision, it being an ITN. An internal project report has been produced called ‘Industry Survey Report 2014 - Provision ITN’. Amongst its conclusions are that Ultra High Definition, High Dynamic range and other immersive video formats will become increasingly important, as the public demand ever higher video quality. In parallel, mobile delivery of video content will continue to become more widespread, which puts limits on codec size, complexity and power consumption for mobile applications. Regarding researcher qualities, it is no surprise to see that potential employers are looking for excellent technical competence and creative problem solving skills when they recruit.
The industrial participants that attended the Aachen project meeting in February 2015 were shown the work of the Fellows in a poster session. They were very pleased with the technical process of the Fellows, but would like to have more regular information from the project about progress. It is only to be expected that that project information is slow initially until the Fellows start to produce results for dissemination.
The industrial Associated Partners (APs) and two members of the Advisory Board (Cisco and Ericsson) attended the latest project meetings in London in August and took a great interest in the research progress of the Fellows. They appreciated the recent increase in the number of published papers by the Fellows and expressed their appreciation for the increase in information from the project.
In order to allow technical information flow during advisory and supervisory board meetings, two NDAs between full and associated partners, as well as full partners and advisory board members will be finalized at the end of this year. Here, delays occurred due to the change in associated partners and advisory board members. Also, these NDA become necessary in addition to the grant and consortium agreement due to the high industrial relevance of the PROVISION topic and the associated intellectual property protection.

A project management team has been formed and the steering boards planned in Annex I established in this reporting period. A consortium agreement was drafted and signed by all involved full partners. The project management provided a project handbook that serves as a guide for all important information regarding the PROVISION project. All deliverables planned in Annex I until M24 were delivered. The project also reached all planned milestones up to this point. An overview of the management meetings that took place can be found in the attachment as well at the project handbook. The project management team also took care of the installation of a website with an intranet, an internal document store and necessary communication tools. Further information about the management activities in PROVISION can be found in section 3.8. Management Report of the full length report attached.

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