Multimedia man

Sep 30, 2004

You know those music CDs and movie DVDs we all like (in part), well, you can thank Kettering University's Dr. Peter Stanchev, who does research in this field. He spent some of his summer conducting tutorials on the newest technology yet: the MPEG 7.

In a tech world where "multimedia" is now a chorus, Peter Stanchev has been tapped to help with the harmony. Kettering's associate professor of Computer Science recently returned from teaching tutorials in Spain and Hawaii on the world's most current digital audiovisual compression standards: the MPEG 7.

His qualifications as a multimedia tutor are superb. It was Stanchev's colleague Dionysios Tsichritzis in Italy who originally coined the phrase "multimedia" almost two decades ago. Multimedia was cutting-edge then; a new technology that placed entire movies or music albums on a small compact disc (CD). "Nineteen years ago, very few people were working in this area," Stanchev said. "I worked in the first European project where multimedia was introduced."

He also was around in 1988 when the International Standards Organization formed the Motion Picture Experts Group (MPEG) to develop coding techniques to achieve good quality audio and video. MPEG 1 and MPEG 2 introduced and upgraded CD movies and musical options. Stanchev and Fausto Rabitti coauthored the first image semantic model, which aided the experts in downloading and delivering the Hollywood classics on tiny 4 ?" pieces of plastic.

So it's not surprising that this expert who maintains faculty offices in Italy, Bulgaria, and at Kettering in Flint, Mich., was the specialist selected to teach the presentation on the "next generation" of multimedia: MPEG-7.

Stanchev was featured at the Fourth Annual International Association of Science and Technology for Development (IASTED). IASTED's International Conference on Visualization, Imaging and Image Processing was presented in Kauai, Hawaii, in August and Marbella, Spain, in September. His goal for his professional presentation - help create harmony among the confusion of elements and existing practices in a wide-open multimedia market.

"MPEG-7 seeks to shrink the gap in the information age," Stanchev said. "Very soon at your home, you will be able to see all movies, listen to all tunes. How are we to navigate in this ocean of all movies, all pictures, all music and so on?" he asked. "MPEG-7 allows image and music semantic searches. The search can be more difficult -- not a repetition of tones but those with the same feeling," he explained.

On the technical side, MPEG-7 uses systems tools to support binary coded representation for efficient storage and transmission, transmission mechanisms (both for textual and binary formats), multiplexing of descriptions, synchronization of descriptions with content, management and protection of intellectual property.

On the consumer side, it means MPEG-7 can search an ocean of information and "it should be simple, admissible for everyone," he said. "For instance, play a few notes on a keyboard and retrieve a list of musical pieces similar to the required tune or images matching the notes in terms of certain emotions. Draw a few lines on a screen and find a set of images containing similar graphics or logos... or include a color patch or texture, and retrieve examples to compose your design."

The application possibilities are as deep as the ocean of information. Industries such as architecture, real estate and interior design can search for ideas. Radio and television channels are scannable at the click of a button. Digital libraries can offer image catalogues, musical dictionaries, biomedical imaging, and the archives of film, video and broadcasting. And add e-commence possibilities: education, home entertainment, investigation services, journalism and multimedia directory services (yellow pages, tourist information, geographical data).

"I was happy if people learned something from the tutorial, but I will be happier if I can establish even more collaboration through this opportunity," he concluded. Stanchev said more information on MPEG-7 is available at The web page links to a wealth of information and many frequently asked questions, he added.

About Peter L. Stanchev
Peter L. Stanchev is currently a professor in the Institute of Mathematics and Computer Science at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences in Sofia, Bulgaria, and is an associate professor of Science and Mathematics at Kettering University in Flint, Mich. He has worked for the Institute of Information Science and Technologies, Italian National Research Council in Pisa, Italy. His other professional affiliations have been with the Polytechnic School at the University of Nantes, France; Wayne State University in Detroit, Mich.; University of Missouri at Columbia; the University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canada; and the University of Amsterdam in The Netherlands. He has held research grants in Bulgaria, Canada, Holland and the United States.

He has written two books and more than 100 research papers in the areas of image processing, medical informatics, analysis of magnetic resonance images, image database systems, multimedia systems, database management systems, information systems, expert systems, fuzzy sets and systems, and decision making theories and applications. He was the coauthor of the first image semantic model. His papers have more than 250 citations. He lectures on database systems, information retrieval, data mining, human-computer interaction, computing and algorithms, web technology, computer architecture, design of information systems, computer operating systems, and image databases, among others.

Readers may contact him at Visit his web page to read more.


MPEG-1became an international standard for video and audio compression in 1992. It produces video recorder-quality output that is transmittable over twisted pair transmission lines for modest distances. MPEG-1 is also used for storing movies on CD-ROMs.

MPEG-2 is targeted at broadcasting and CD-ROM applications, and supports high resolution and good quality, such as high-definition TV. It has improved error resilience from the MPEG-1, which was aimed at audiovisual applications with low error rates.

MPEG-4 was originally aimed at medium-resolution video conferencing over low bandwidths at low frame rates, but was later modified to define coding of audiovisual objects in applications such as Internet video, virtual reality games, interactive shopping and media databases.

MPEG-7 uses systems tools to support binary coded representation for efficient storage and transmission, transmission mechanisms (both for textual and binary formats), multiplexing of descriptions, synchronization of descriptions with content, management and protection of intellectual property.

Written by Patricia Mroczek
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