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Image Essence will collaborate on advanced codec research with Calit2.

San Diego, CA, April 9, 2008 -- Image Essence, LLC will collaborate on advanced codec research with the University of California, San Diego division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2). Image Essence and its chief executive officer, Gary Demos, will work with UC San Diego researchers in the Calit2 Microelectronic Embedded Systems Laboratory to explore acceleration of the Image Essence codec on graphics and other processors, as well as to develop advanced codec features enabled by the codec's internal structure.

Computer graphics innovator"I have known Gary Demos as a pioneer in computer graphics for California's entertainment industry for over 25 years," said Calit2 Director Larry Smarr, also the Harry E. Gruber Professor in the Computer Science and Engineering Department of UCSD's Jacob School of Engineering. "It is exciting to have such a gifted, private-sector innovator working with Calit2 as part of our CineGrid initiative."

One of the challenges of moving from an analog film and video-based industry to an all-digital industry is that compression techniques should strive to preserve the image quality of the full range of new cameras (even of film negatives), as well as of new displays and projectors. "We were attracted to Gary's company Image Essence because his codec does such a good job in terms of both quality and efficiency.," said Calit2 Research Scientist Tom DeFanti, CineGrid lead for Calit2.

UCSD participants in the project with Image Essence include: (l-r) Calit2's Tom DeFanti, computer engineering professor Rajesh Gupta, and electrical engineering professor Truong Nguyen.The Calit2 project with Image Essence will explore the use of a variety of multi-core PC processors, Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) and Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) to enable the encoding and decoding of standard definition, high definition, and digital-cinema video streams in real time using the Image Essence codec software.

The FPGA and GPU acceleration work will be directed by UCSD Professor Rajesh Gupta, director of the Calit2 Microelectronic Embedded Systems Laboratory. "The challenges that Gary's codec brings to Calit2 are just the sort of difficult application drivers that we look for in our laboratory's research," said Gupta, who holds the Qualcomm Chair in Embedded Microsystems in the Jacobs School's Department of Computer Science and Engineering. "His novel wavelet-based compression algorithms and video analytics provide an excellent vehicle for us to explore the limits of architectural efficiencies and their potential for on-chip implementation."

The exploration of advanced codec features will be led by Truong Nguyen, a noted expert in wavelets and filter design and professor in the Jacob School's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Nguyen will collaborate with Demos to explore issues such as super-resolution and temporal enhancement. Gary Demos is a well-known Hollywood technologist and he was the recipient of the 2005 Gordon E. Sawyer Academy Award for lifetime technical achievement. He has received three technical achievement Oscars during his career. In the early 1980s, his Cray supercomputer at Digital Productions was used by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to provide high-performance computing to U.S. university researchers before the current NSF supercomputer centers were opened in 1985.

"The Calit2 CineGrid infrastructure provides an excellent testbed for high-quality codecs," said Demos. "As networks increase in streaming capacity and as digital cameras, displays, and projectors improve their range, there is a need for high-efficiency codec technology which can preserve that full range yet be efficient enough to fit within the developing network infrastructure. It is a tribute to the University of California ’s commitment to industrial competitiveness that Calit2 can enable this unique opportunity for public-private collaboration.”

About Image Essence LLC
The Image Essence codec extends the range and efficiency of high-quality codecs through the use of 32-bit floating-point-processing, applied to a combination of flowfields, wavelets, and optimal filters. Gary Demos is CEO.

About the Calit2 Microelectronic Embedded Systems Laboratory
The Laboratory builds and provides a range of architectural alternatives from ALU-arrays, multi-core processors, coherent coprocessors to custom processing architectures built using reconfigurable circuits; their programming, synthesis and mapping tools for coming generations of silicon and power-efficient computing fabrics. Available software includes compilation and synthesis tools as a part of the parallelizing high-level synthesis framework, SPARK, as well as novel operation-centric and transactional modeling frameworks such as Bluespec. The Microelectronic Embedded Systems Laboratory hosts a number of projects for Calit2 industry partners and supports diverse research groups across the campus to provide platforms for application acceleration and their potential siliconization in custom ASIC or FPGA circuits.

About CineGrid
CineGrid is an interdisciplinary international membership organization dedicated to building a community focused on the research, development and demonstration of networked collaborative tools, enabling the production, use, and exchange of very high-quality digital media over high-speed photonic networks. CineGrid activities at UCSD emerged from Calit2’s early development and support of unique facilities in digital media, visualization, StarCAVE and Varrier virtual reality, and new and advanced networking initiatives. Calit2 provided technical and institutional leadership in hosting hundreds of colleagues at iGrid2005, and hosted two subsequent major CineGrid workshops in December 2006 and December 2007. CineGrid is a public-private partnership which currently has eleven corporate members, twelve participating network organizations, and fifteen university-educational members, including UCSD and USC in California, the University of Illinois at Chicago, the University of Washington in Seattle, Keio University in Tokyo, Ryerson University in Toronto, and the University of Amsterdam/SARA. CineGrid helps make available 1 and 10 gigabit/sec bandwidth between cities for CineGrid member experiments; in the U.S., this bandwidth is supplied by Cisco Systems, Inc., the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC), the National LambdaRail (NLR) and other international research and education networks supported in part by the National Science Foundation.

About Calit2
Founded in 2000, the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), a partnership between UC San Diego and UC Irvine, houses over 1,000 researchers organized around more than 50 projects on the future of telecommunications and information technology and how these technologies will transform a range of applications important to the economy and citizens' quality of life. Calit2 brings together teams of faculty, student and staff researchers on both campuses with leading California telecommunications, computer, software, and applications companies. They conduct studies in “living laboratories” to investigate how the future Internet will accelerate advances in areas such as environmental science, civil infrastructure, intelligent transportation and telematics, genomic medicine, new media arts and digital cinema.

Related Links
CineGrid  
Microelectronic Embedded Systems Laboratory
Calit2

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