Computing Community Consortium Blog

The goal of the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is to catalyze the computing research community to debate longer range, more audacious research challenges; to build consensus around research visions; to evolve the most promising visions toward clearly defined initiatives; and to work with the funding organizations to move challenges and visions toward funding initiatives. The purpose of this blog is to provide a more immediate, online mechanism for dissemination of visioning concepts and community discussion/debate about them.


Computing Research Initiatives for the 21st Century

December 19th, 2008 / in research horizons / by Peter Lee

Today’s main message is: Check out http://www.cra.org/ccc/initiatives. Please! And tell your friends and colleagues! (Any reactions or suggestions can be posted here as comments on this article.)

Now, the full story:

The CCC’s mission is “to foster exciting new research visions in the computing community which attract support.” Looking back at what has transpired over the past year, community participation has been tremendous. Many dozens of people have stepped up to propose workshops, make presentations, write articles for this blog, and chip in with thoughtful feedback and ideas. It’s been productive and, well, fun.

Of course, the name of the game is to turn research visions into reality, and one of the core strategies for doing this is to “improve public and policymaker understanding of the importance of computing and computing research in our society”. This seems particularly important right now, as our nation makes a historic transition, hopefully ushering in a new era in the government’s approach to research support.

Without really knowing what kinds of results we would get, we put out a challenge to a small number of people to write very briefly (we asked for two pages) on “computing research initiatives for the 21st century.” What does the new government need to know about the value of computing research? What are some of the most promising and exciting research opportunities in the field? What computing capabilities are critical for the nation today and into the future?

Well, the response has been tremendous. A sample of what we received is now posted on the CCC web site at http://www.cra.org/ccc/initiatives. There are essays on the central role that computing research has in our economy, ideas for research/education infrastructure, “re-envisioning DARPA”, and proposals for research initiatives in personalized medicine, transportation, “big data” computing, computer architecture, networking, cyber-physical systems, and more. WIth this treasure trove of thoughtful inputs, we are now using available channels and the CRA and CCC’s resources to get these noticed by as many policymakers as possible.

We have been so heartened by the response that we are now talking about having a more organized process for soliciting and publishing these sorts of idea-pieces. Stay tuned here and on the CCC web site for more details, some time early in 2009. We’ll also be asking some of the authors of these writeups to post followup discussion pieces on this blog.

Again, thanks for all of your support and participation. 2009 is looking like a truly exciting year.

Peter Lee and Ed Lazowska

Computing Research Initiatives for the 21st Century
  • Creating a USA-wide (and eventually internationally-wide) Cyber Infrastructure for True Immersive Collaboration among Geographically Distributed Sites.

    By Ruzena Bajcsy (UCB) and Klara Nahrstedt (UIUC)

    Geographically Distributed Tele-immersive Applications (TI) represent a new class of collaborative systems that allow for direct interaction in a shared visual space .

    Current Status: The current collaborative geographically distributed multi-party technologies can share via video conferencing (tele-presence) only independent views, but there exists no shared visual space for all participants with direct interaction among them. The only interaction available in current collaborative technologies is via shared slides (e.g., WebEx), text (e.g., InstantMessaging), audio (e.g., Free Conference Call service) and individual video feeds in separate windows (e.g., AccessGrid, Polycom).
    The 3D camera and display technologies in conjunction with Computer Vision and Graphics software are quite advanced so that they can provide the necessary information to create locally acceptable, real-time shared, immersive visual environments for physical interactions. Network technologies for LAN-based real-time interactivity are available and enable LAN-based shared visual environments. Many applications of shared visual and immersive environments exist in military, civilian domains such as health care (physiotherapy, collaborating on planning surgery), manufacturing to facilitate different designs, education of physical activities (e.g., tai-chi, dance, wheel-chair basketball) and entertainment (e.g., Wii-fit games).

    Future Vision and Challenges: We need investment into the distributed immersive infrastructure to connect at least 5 to 10 sites and the corresponding research. With this investment we will be able to gain insights and understanding of the following problems:
    – 3D Data compression for multi-view video, i.e., what and how much information and in what format should be extracted and transmitted so that for given application the RIGHT Information is available at the RIGHT time.
    – End-to-End resource allocation approaches, efficient distributed algorithms and sound network architectures and protocols for diverse computing and networking infrastructures residing between the multi-sensory (multimedia) 3D data acquisition (TI site) and data display (TI site) to achieve efficacy in power and bandwidth consumptions, while yielding interactive delays and latency capabilities for immersive data dissemination and view changes.

    The main challenges for the above research are that the end performance of all involved components must yield REAL TIME experience for end users to give them interactivity capabilities! This means, e.g. at least 30-100 fps for immersive 3D HDTV-size data acquisition and 80-100 ms user end-to-end delays for TI computational and networking algorithms.

  • About six months I witness the wonder of videoconferencing when I was asked to deliver my lecture from my university to a high school via video conferencing. First I was thinking it was just a camera recording my lecture and will make the necessary editing to show the high school students but later I realized that I was interacting with the students live. Great technology