This course covers basic and advanced topics related to using computers to support audio and video over a network. Topics related to multimedia will be selected from areas such as compression, network protocols, routing, operating systems and human computer interaction. Students will be expected to read assigned research papers and complete several programming intensive projects that illustrate different aspects of multimedia networking. (Prerequisites: CS 502 and CS 513 or the equivalent, and strong programming skills.)
There will be no formal text-book for the course. Instead, chapters selected from several text books and research papers will be made available. Details will be given in class.
For most of the papers, WPI provides access to the digital libraries of the professional societies (e.g., ACM and IEEE). This is most easily granted by accessing them from campus. Off campus access to these digital libraries can be obtained by using the WPI proxy server.
Course grades are based upon projects, exams and in-class participation. The projects are detailed below. Exams are at mid-way through the semester and at the end of the semester and are non-cumulative. Class participation is based upon contributions to class discussions and presentation of a multimedia networking paper.
Final grades will be computed as follows:
The grading policy for each project will be provided at the time of the assignment. In general, each assignment has a basic objective for the majority of the assignment points. There may be an extended objective for demonstrating additional work and understanding.
Final grades reflect the extent to which you have demonstrated understanding of the material, and completed the assigned projects. The base level grade is a "B" which indicates that the basic course objectives have been met. A grade of an "A" indicates significant achievement beyond the basic objectives and a grade of a "C" indicates not all basic objectives were met, but work was satisfactory for credit. No incomplete grades are assigned unless there exist exceptional, extenuating circumstances. Similarly, no makeup exams are given unless there exist exceptional, extenuating circumstances.
Late projects are penalized 10% of total assignment value per day (with the weekend counting as one day) or partial day, and no assignments accepted after seven days beyond the due date. All programs are due at 11:59pm on the due date. Programs turned in after that time are counted late. Projects are to be submitted as directed in class. Exceptions to these rules can be made only beforehand.
This course is intended for serious students. Participants will be expected to adhere to all rules of professional behavior. It is to be emphasized that knowledge of material and professional behavior are tied together; failure in one of them negates any excellence in the other.
All work is expected to be done individually, unless otherwise specified. As such, students are encouraged to discuss their work with each other, but are also expected to do the work by themselves.
Any breach of professional ethics as evidenced, for example, by copying exams or projects, downloading code from the Internet, cooperating more than just by discussions in study groups, misusing computer resources, or using outside help of any kind, will be considered adequate reason for an F in the course and a report to the Dean of Students. Refer to the official WPI statements on Academic Honesty for details. Remember this warning - any breach of ethics will earn you an F. When in doubt, ask!
The list of Multimedia topics in this course (some topics may be substituted for others, as time and flow permits):
Slides from the in-class lectures are available either immediately before or after class. See the Reading List for slides for the papers, and the Projects for slides on the projects.
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The projects are the independent implementation, evaluation and exploration parts of the course. The implementation part of the projects are to be done individually. For the evaluation parts, groups of 2 are encouraged, but if larger groups are really wanted, come talk to me. Working in groups provides valuable "real-world" experience as well as a built-in source for help. Do remember, however, that all exams will be taken alone. Make sure each group member understands the projects completely!
(These will be updated as the course progresses. If you know of any links you think should be included, please let me know.)
As of Febuary 6, paper presentations are as follows:
Tips on reading papers (read these before reading papers):
You might check out a comparison of Internet audio compression formats for some details on the various compression formats. The site includes some sound samples, too.
The SIGMM Home Page, the Special Interest Group for Multimedia from the ACM.
YouTube - one of several popular online video sites.
RealNetworks, makers of RealPlayer.
MPlayer - a movie player for Linux. It plays most MPEG videos, as well as Quicktime, Windows Media, and more.