I’m currently in Singapore for the ACM Multimedia conference, presenting some of my work on anime music video editors (“Toward Emergent Representations for Video”) and Organum (“Individual Presence through Collaborative Play”). Today was the opening day of the conference, and already I’ve met enough interesting people to have made the trip worthwhile.
This morning was the Brave New Topics session on Multimedia Challenges for Planetary Scale Applications, which took a very broad view of the design space around multimedia sensor networks. Phil Gibbons of Intel Research kicked things off by discussing IrisNet, an open-source software infrastructure for turning ordinary networked webcams into global monitoring systems. Next a representative from Nottingham’s Mixed Reality Lab discussed the challenges raised by pervasive gaming.
What struck me about the these two presentations was how closely the IrisNet system architecture mirrored the social structure of pervasive gaming events proposed by the Mixed Reality Lab folks. IrisNet separates nodes into a large number of “sensors” and a smaller number of “organizers,” with the former gathering data at the edges of the network and passing it up to the latter for further processing. Similarly, the MRL designers see the roles of pervasive gamers as a pyramid structure, with wide but shallow public participation at the bottom, a smaller number of more engaged interest groups or enthusiasts in the middle, and a small number of experts at the top. Clearly this model applies to more than just pervasive games: similar patterns have been reported in open source software projects and Wikipedia. Even unmediated.org can be viewed in these terms: I am a del.icio.us-addicted “sensor” madly recording all that interests me, while Kenyatta is an “organizer” curating feeds for wider consumption.
The highlight of the afternoon was the presentation by Atau Tanaka of Sony CSL Paris, who talked about his work on Malleable Mobile Music and a web-based tool for collaboratively remixing Creative Commons-licensed audio. I had read about Tanaka’s work before, but he was even more interesting in person and seems to be deeply interested in the social dynamics of groups interacting with media–somewhat of a rarity at ACM Multimedia, unfortunately. Definitely one to watch.
Garage Cinema Research and Yahoo! Research Berkeley were well represented the first day as well: in addition to my posters, there were tech demos of PhotoRouter and Photo LOI and a video presentation of the MMM2 project. In the evening Yahoo! paid for beers at a poolside reception in which we madly tried to recruit the best and brightest of the ACM MM crowd, a shameless gambit which will hopefully pay off in a great crop of interns next summer.
I’ll be posting highlights from the remainder of the conference over the next few days. In the meantime you can check out the Flickr photostream for the conference, which is looking a bit anemic at the moment, but should fill out as people get some time to upload their photos.