International multimedia experts gather in Austin

     The International Conference on Multimedia and Computing Systems will be held in Austin, Texas from June 28 - July 1, 1998, at the Renaissance Austin Hotel. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) sponsors the conference.

     Approximately 250 multimedia experts representing 14 countries from Europe, Asia, Australia, and North America will attend the conference. Worldwide attention focuses on Austin's multimedia software companies and research groups in a two-day showcase June 29 and 30. Austin will display its work at exhibits of commercial products as well as demonstrations of non-commercial works by companies and academic research groups.

     The meeting brings together researchers, developers, and practitioners from academia and industry working in all facets of multimedia such as content authoring, processor technology, and systems design. The conference serves as a forum for the dissemination of state-of-the-art research, development, and implementations of multimedia systems, technologies, and applications. The conference also features many exhibits, tutorials and workshops.

     Electronic Arts' Origin Systems, Austin's leading game company, will make its internet -based game Ultima Online available for participants to play. Origin's demonstration is open to the public from 7 - 10 p.m., June 29 in the ballroom of the hotel. Richard Garriott, CEO of Origin Systems, will also have a presentation on how games are developed.

     Austin's growing prominence as a center for multimedia software companies and research makes it a natural site for this prestigious conference, said Gary Cobb, conference co-chairman, describing how IEEE selected Austin to host the conference.

     “Of the approximately 588 companies in Austin that develop software, almost one-third of them develop or use multimedia in their delivered products. Many of these companies have international branches and connections. Also, there is great interest in Austin's multimedia companies in Malaysia's `Multimedia Super Corridor',” Cobb said. He is manager of the Millennium Program Office for Compliance/Certification at Dell Computers and an assistant professor at Southwest Texas State University.

     “A key objective of the conference is to create a program that achieves a balance between theory and practice, academia and industry, systems/tools-oriented research and content creation,” Cobb said.

     Dr. Harrick Vin, professor of Computer Sciences at UT Austin, is the conference program chairman. Both technical subjects and topics of a more general appeal, such as the virtual recovery of excavated archaeological finds at China's Museum of Terra-Cotta Warriors and Horses, will be presented. Other exhibitions will include web page caricatures, the construction of an interactive movie system for multi-person participation, and the design of MiMaze, a multi-player game on the internet.

     The University of Texas at Austin's Software Quality Institute is managing the conference on behalf of IEEE. The Software Quality Institute (SQI) mission is to inform and educate software producers and software users at the local, state and national levels about issues vital to the production and application of high-quality software. SQI draws upon the wealth of research and expertise available at UT Austin as well as a large pool of outstanding talent from industry and government. SQI is a unit within the College of Engineering.

     Ottawa, Canada hosted the conference last year and it will be in Florence, Italy in 1999.

Keynote speaker at the conference:

Dr. Jim Foley
Chairman and CEO of Mitsubishi Electric Information Technology Center in Boston

8:30 a.m., June 29. In his talk, "User Interfaces of the Future" Dr. Foley will address new developments in computing – vision, user interfaces, and lower costs – that allow computers to be used in new, non-traditional ways. For example, computer vision can control computer games and home appliances, freeing users from joysticks or hand-held TV remotes. Computer vision can also be used for security applications based on face recognition.

For more information, contact:

Multimedia Conference Office The University of Texas at Austin Tel. (512) 471-4875 or (800) 687-8012