20th Anniversary Panel

Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda: 20 Years of Multimedia Opportunities

Klara Nahrstedt (Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, US)
Malcolm Slaney (Microsoft, US)

Dick Bulterman (CWI/Vrije Univ., NL)
Ramesh Jain (Univ. of California, Irvine, US)
Larry Rowe (Univ. of California, Berkeley/FXPAL, US)
Ralf Steinmetz (Darmstadt Univ. of Technology, DE)


In August 1-6, 1993, the ACM Special Interest Group in Multimedia (SIGMM) came together in Anaheim, California, to talk about challenges, solutions, and results related to digital images, audio, video, graphics, and multimedia. The initial Anaheim conference, chaired by  the General Chair J.J. Garcia-Luna-Aceves, started a strong tradition of annual conference meetings for the SIGMM community and this became the SIGMM’s premier multimedia conference event, the ACM International Conference on Multimedia (ACM Multimedia).

The last 20 years has seen numerous interesting, innovative, engineering multimedia challenges, solutions, results, opportunities, failures and successes. The agenda of the annual meetings include problems in multimedia synchronization, multicasting, streaming, peer-to-peer, storage, multimedia scheduling, quality of service, content analysis, human interfaces quality of experiences, applications such as video conferencing, authoring, tele-presence, video-on-demand, games, and many others.

We have seen many generations of multimedia researchers, from industry and academia, bring to the conference new and different insights to problems of the time. We have seen new multimedia companies start and grow in the multimedia area, including Google, Yahoo!, YouTube, Akamai and Facebook. We have seen existing companies — such as Sony, Toshiba, Philips, IBM, Microsoft, HP, Apple — change their focus to include digital media including. We have seen multimedia companies merge including AltaVista, Inktomi and others. The bottom line is that the ACM Multimedia conference venue has seen many multimedia opportunities over the 20 years.

The aim of this panel is to look back at the various multimedia opportunities over the 20 years, and encourage a discussion what did we do, what could we have done, and what should we have done with the multimedia opportunities.


klaranahrstedtDr. Klara Nahrstedt is a full professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,  Computer Science Department. Her research interests are directed   toward multimedia systems, quality of service (QoS) management in mobile wireless networks, QoS-aware resource management, 3D tele-immersive systems and networks, and real-time security in mission-critical systems. She is the co-author of `Multimedia: Computing, Communications and Applications’ published by Prentice Hall 1995,  ‘Multimedia Systems’ published by Springer Verlag 2004, and the author of ‘QoS in Wireless Networks over Unlicensed Spectrum’, published Morgan & Claypool Publisher 2012 She is the recipient of the IEEE Communication Society Leonard Abraham Award for Research Achievements, Ralph and Catherine Fisher Professor chair, University Scholar, Humboldt Awardee, IEEE Technical Achievement Award, and the Chair of SIG Multimedia. She was the general chair of ACM Multimedia 2006, general chair of ACM NOSSDAV 2007 and the general chair of IEEE Percom 2009.

Dr. Nahrstedt received her Diploma in Mathematics from Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany in numerical analysis in 1985. In 1995 she received her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in the Department of Computer and Information Science. She is the member of ACM and IEEE Fellow.

malcolmDr. Malcolm Slaney is a principal scientist in the Conversational Systems Laboratory at Microsoft in Mountain View, CA.  He is interested in building computational models of users, sounds, images, and video in order to better connect users and signals. For the last 20 years he has organized the Stanford CCRMA Hearing Seminar, where he is a (Consulting) Professor. Before joining Microsoft he was a researcher at Yahoo and  IBM’s Almaden Research Center, working on multimedia analysis and user models. He has also been employed by Interval Research, Apple’s Advanced Technology Group, Schlumberger’s Palo Alto Research Laboratory, and Bell Labs. He is the coauthor of the book “Principles of Computerized Tomographic Imaging,” which was recently republished by SIAM as a “Classics in Applied Mathematics.” He is coeditor of the book “Computational Models of Auditory Function.” He has served as an associate editor for IEEE Transactions on Audio, Speech and Language Processing, IEEE Multimedia Magazine, and the Proceedings of the IEEE. He is a Fellow of the IEEE.


dickbultermanDr. Dick Bulterman is a senior researcher at CWI in Amsterdam, where since 2004 he heads the Distributed and Interactive Systems group. He is also holds the professorship of Distributed Multimedia Languages and Interfaces with the department of computer science at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, where he teaches and does research within the Computer Systems and Web and Media groups.  In 1999, he started Oratrix Development BV, a CWI spin-off company that productized the group’s SMIL-based GRiNS software.

Prior to joing CWI in 1988, he was on the faculty of the Division of Engineering at Brown, where he was part of the Laboratory for Engineering Man/Machine Systems. Other academic appointments include visiting professorships in computer science at Brown (1993-94) and in the information theory group at TU Delft (1985) and a part-time appointment in computer science at the Univeristy of Utrecht (1989-1991).

Dr. Bulterman received a Ph.D. in computer science from Brown University (USA) in 1982. He also holds a Sc.M. in applied mathematics and computer science from Brown (1977) and a B.A. in political economics (with a minor in mathematics) from Hope College (1973). He was born in Amstelveen (The Netherlands); after 35 years in the USA, he now resides with his family in Amsterdam. Dr. Bulterman is the chair of the W3C Synchronized Multimedia working group and is a member of various conference steering committees. He is on the editorial board of the ACM/Springer Multimedia Systems Journal. He is a member of Sigma Xi, the ACM and the IEEE.

rameshjainDr. Ramesh Jain is an entrepreneur, researcher, and educator.    He is a Donald Bren Professor in Information & Computer Sciences at University of California, Irvine where he is doing research in EventWeb and Experiential Computing for developing and building Social Life Networks.  Earlier he served on faculty of Georgia Tech, University of California at San Diego, The university of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Wayne State University, and Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. He has been an active member of professional community serving in various positions and contributing more than 350 research papers.  He is the recipient of several awards including the ACM SIGMM Technical Achievement Award 2010.  He is a Fellow of ACM, IEEE, AAAI, IAPR, and SPIE. 

Dr. Jain co-founded several companies, managed them in initial stages, and then turned them over to professional management.  These included PRAJA in event-based business activity monitoring (acquired by Tibco); Virage for visual information management (a NASDAQ company acquired by Autonomy); and ImageWare for surface modeling (acquired by SDRC).  Currently he is involved in two start-ups as cofounder and advisor: Optality and Stikco Labs.  He has also been advisor to several other companies including some of the largest companies in media and search space. 

larryroweDr. Lawrence A. Rowe has been President of FX Palo Alto Laboratory (FXPAL) since April 2007. Prior to that, he was a Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley (1976-2003). Dr. Rowe’s research interests are in multimedia systems and applications, application development tools, and database management systems. He has been involved with several start-up companies as an angel investor, advisor, or active participant including the original Ingres Corporation, Inktomi, Dust, and NCast. Dr. Rowe is an ACM Fellow, recipient of the SIGMM Technical Achievement Award in 2009, past chair of ACM SIG Multimedia (1998-2003), recipient of the 2002 U.C. Technology Leadership Council Award for his development of the Berkeley Lecture Webcasting System, and U.C. Irvine Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Science Distinguished Alumni Award in 2007. Larry’s interests outside work include wine making, golfing, reading, and traveling.

ralfsteinmetzProf. Dr.-Ing. Ralf Steinmetz is a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology as well as in the Department of Computer Science at the Technische Universität Darmstadt, Germany. From 2002 to 2004, he managed the department as dean. Since 1996, he is managing director of the “Multimedia Communications Lab” and until end of 2001, he directed a Fraunhofer Institute. In 1999, he founded the Hessian Telemedia Technology Competence Center and holds a chair position.

He is the author and co-author of more than 550 publications. He has edited and co-written a multimedia course which reflects the major issues of the first in-depth technical book on multimedia technology. He has served as editor of various IEEE, ACM and other journals. He was awarded as Fellow of both, the IEEE and the ACM. He is a member of the Scientific Council and president of the Board of Trustees of the international research institute IMDEA Networks, Madrid, Spain. In 2005, he became a member of the Technology Advisory Board of Hessen and serves as Hessen’s Advisor for Information and Communications Technology (ICT).