Interns at ATHENA (Summer 2022)

In July-August 2022, the ATHENA Christian Doppler Laboratory hosted four interns working on the following topics:

  • Fabio Zinner: A Study and Evaluation on HTTP Adaptive Video Streaming using Mininet
  • Moritz Pecher: Dataset Creation and HAS Basics
  • Per-Luca Thalmann: Codec-war: is it necessary? Welcome to the multi-codec world
  • Georg Kelih: Server Client Simulator for QoE with practical Implementation

At the end of their internships, they presented their works and achieved results, and received official certificates from the university. We believe the joint work with them was beneficial for both the laboratory and the interns. We would like to thank the interns for their genuine interest, productive work, and excellent feedback about our laboratory.

Fabio Zinner: In my four weeks, I had an amazingly practical and theoretical experience which is very important for my future practical and academic line of work! It was great and fascinating working with Python, Mininet, Linux, FFMpeg, Gpac, Iperf, etc. I really liked working with ATHENA, and the experience I gathered was exceptional. Also, I am very happy that I had Reza Farahani as my supervisor!

Per-Luca Thalmann:I really enjoyed my 4 weeks at ATHENA. At first, I had to read a lot of articles and papers to get a basic understanding of Video Codecs and encoding. As I started my Main Project, which evaluated the performance of modern codecs with different video complexities, I noticed that everything I had read before was useful to progress faster towards my end goal. After I got the results of my script, which ran for over a week, I also noticed some outcomes which were not expected. Basically, that older codecs get at some very specific settings higher Scores than their successor. Whenever I got stuck or had any questions, my supervisor, Vignesh, helped me. I did not only improve my technical knowledge, but I also got a lot of insights into how research works, what is the motivation of research and also about the process for scientific research.

Georg Kelih:I worked by Athena as an Intern for a month and got the tasks to build a simulator which simulates the server-client communication (ABR, bitrate ladder, resource allocation) and shows the results in a graph and a Server Client script where the server runs on the local host and the client requests segments and plays them using python-vlc
My daily routine was pretty chill, not only we had only 30 hours to work, but also the programming was quite fun and challenging. So my day looked something like this I stand up go to work play a game of round table soccer and then start to work start Visual Studio Code and write the code I thought about yesterday hope that it runs, but it shows you just a few error messages start debugging then notice that it’s already time to eat something and that I am hungry, eat something and find finally after your lunch the silly error I made think about the new implementation and better ways to solve something and then it is already time to go, so you go to the Strandbad to swim a round and then drive home. Something like this, my daily routine looked like. For me, I think it was a bit too chill for my taste because I like the stress of a 40-hour week especially when I only work during my holidays.
But the rest was absolutely nice, especially that here by Athena are so many people from different countries is pretty cool. For myself, I learned not many new skills, but I found out about many new Linux tools and how to find information even more efficiently.



Outstanding Reviewer Award at ACM ICMR 2022 for Klaus Schöffmann

For the quality and timeliness of his reviews, Klaus Schöffmann has been awarded with the Outstanding Reviewer Award at the ACM International Conference on Multimedia Retrieval (ICMR) 2022, which was held at Newark, NJ, USA in June 2022.



Coordination @ Horizon Europe “Massive Graph Processing of Extreme Data for a Sustainable Economy, Society, and Environment” (Graph-Massivizer) project accepted

Project lead/coordination: Radu Prodan
Project partners: IDC Italia, Peracton Limited, Institut Jozef Stefan, Sintef, Universiteit Twente, metaphacts GmbH, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Cineca, Event Registry, Università di Bologna, Robert Bosch GmbH

Abstract: Graph-Massivizer researches and develops a high-performance, scalable, and sustainable platform for information processing and reasoning based on the massive graph representation of extreme data. It delivers a toolkit of five open-source software tools and FAIR graph datasets covering the sustainable lifecycle of processing extreme data as massive graphs. The tools focus on holistic usability (from extreme data ingestion and massive graph creation), automated intelligence (through analytics and reasoning), performance modelling, and environmental sustainability tradeoffs, supported by credible data-driven evidence across the computing continuum. The automated operation based on the emerging serverless computing paradigm supports experienced and novice stakeholders from a broad group of large and small organisations to capitalise on extreme data through massive graph programming and processing. Graph Massivizer validates its innovation on four complementary use cases considering their extreme data properties and coverage of the three sustainability pillars (economy, society, and environment): sustainable green finance, global environment protection foresight, green AI for the sustainable automotive industry, and data centre digital twin for exascale computing. Graph Massivizer promises 70% more efficient analytics than AliGraph, and 30% improved energy awareness for ETL storage operations than Amazon Redshift. Furthermore, it aims to demonstrate a possible two-fold improvement in data centre energy efficiency and over 25% lower GHG emissions for basic graph operations. Graph-Massivizer gathers an interdisciplinary group of twelve partners from eight countries, covering four academic universities, two applied research centres, one HPC centre, two SMEs and two large enterprises. It leverages world-leading roles of European researchers in graph processing and serverless computing and uses leadership-class European infrastructure in the computing continuum.

PHD candidate Kevin Theuermann defended his theses on 12th of July 2022: Trustworthy Service Composition Systems for E-Government

Kevin Theuermann (TU Graz) defended his theses on July 12, 2022.
Title: Trustworthy Service Composition Systems for E-Government
Prof. Radu Prodan was integrated as an external expert to survey the thesis and discuss it with the candidate as part of the defense.


Paper accepted: Estimation of JND Step Sizes for VMAF-based Bitrate Laddering

Between Two and Six? Towards Correct Estimation of JND Step Sizes for VMAF-based Bitrate Laddering

14th International Conference on Quality of Multimedia Experience (QoMEX)
September 5-7, 2022 | Lippstadt, Germany

Hadi Amirpour (Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt)Raimund Schatz (AIT Austrian Institute of Technology, Austria)and Christian Timmerer (Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt)

Abstract: We currently witness the rapidly growing importance of intelligent video streaming quality optimization and reduction of video delivery costs. Per-Title encoding, in contrast to a fixed bitrate ladder, shows significant promise to deliver higher quality video streams by addressing the trade-off between compression efficiency and video characteristics such as resolution and frame rate. Selecting encodings with noticeable quality differences in between prevents the construction of an inefficient bitrate ladder that suffers from too similar quality representations. In this respect, the VMAF metric represents a promising foundation for bitrate laddering, as it currently yields the highest video quality prediction performance. However, the minimum noticeable quality difference, referred as to just-noticeable-difference (JND), has not been properly validated for VMAF yet, with existing sources proposing highly diverse ΔVMAF step sizes ranging from two to six.


Paper accepted: Fully Random Access Light Field Image Compression

FuRA: Fully Random Access Light Field Image Compression

10th European Workshop on Visual Information Processing (EUVIP)
September 11-14, 2022 | Lisbon, Portugal

Hadi Amirpour (Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt),  Christine Guillemot (INRIA, France)and Christian Timmerer (Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt)

Abstract: Light fields are typically represented by multi-view images and enable post-capture actions such as refocusing and perspective shift. To compress a light field image, its view images are typically converted into a pseudo video sequence (PVS) and the generated PVS is compressed using a video codec. However, when using the inter-coding tool of a video codec to exploit the redundancy among view images, the possibility to randomly access any view image is lost. On the other hand, when video codecs independently encode view images using the intra-coding tool, random access to view images is enabled, however, at the expense of a significant drop in the compression efficiency. To address this trade-off, we propose to use neural representations to represent 4D light fields. For each light field, a multi-layer perceptron (MLP) is trained to map the light field four dimensions to the color space, thus enabling random access even to pixels. To achieve higher compression efficiency, neural network compression techniques are deployed. The proposed method outperforms the compression efficiency of HEVC inter-coding, while providing random access to view images and even pixel values.

Fully Random Access Light Field Image Compression


Paper Accepted @ Journal of Ambient Intelligence and Humanized Computing

Title: MCred: Multi-Modal Message Credibility for Fake News Detection using BERT and CNN

Journal: Journal of Ambient Intelligence and Humanized Computing

Authors: Pawan Kumar Verma, Prateek Agrawal, Vishu Madaan, Radu Prodan


Online social media enables low cost, easy access, rapid propagation, and easy communication of information, including spreading low-quality fake news. Fake news has become a huge threat to every sector in society, and resulting in decrements in the trust quotient for media and leading the audience into bewilderment. In this paper, we proposed a new framework called Message Credibility (MCred) for fake news detection that utilizes the benefits of local and global text semantics. This framework is the fusion of Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT) using the relationship between words in sentences for global text semantics and Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN) using N-gram features for local text semantics. We demonstrate through experimental results a popular Kaggle dataset that MCred improves the accuracy over a state-of-the-art model by 1.10%, thanks to its combination of local and global text semantics.


A Webbing Journey @ Level Up 2022

On Friday and Saturday (July 1 and July 2, 2022), Sebastian Uitz presented his game “A Webbing Journey” with his partner Manuel Santner at the Level Up event in the Messezentrum Salzburg. This was the biggest event they presented their game at, with a 300m² area for indie games and over 20.000m² in total. Over 6.500 people visited the event, and 2 PCs were provided for their game. In the end, 6 PCs were running “A Webbing Journey” due to some game developers not making it or leaving the event early. All the PCs were in constant use, and all players had so much fun playing the game, especially kids. This event and the last two provided so much feedback in the form of player tests, which have helped progress the game. The next goal is to implement all the feedback and releasing the new demo version on Steam.


Paper accepted at IEEE Cluster 2022 Matching-based Scheduling of Asynchronous Data Processing Workflows on the Computing Continuum

Title: Matching-based Scheduling of Asynchronous Data Processing Workflows on the Computing Continuum

Heidelberg, Germany | September 6-9, 2022

Authors: Narges Mehran, Zahra Najafabadi Samani, Dragi Kimovski, Radu Prodan

Abstract: Today’s distributed computing infrastructures encompass complex workflows for real-time data gathering, transferring, storage, and processing, quickly overwhelming centralized cloud centers. Recently, the computing continuum that federates the Cloud services with emerging Fog and Edge devices represents a relevant alternative for supporting the next-generation data processing workflows. However, eminent challenges in automating data processing across the computing continuum still exist, such as scheduling heterogeneous devices across the Cloud, Fog, and Edge layers. We propose a new scheduling algorithm called C3-MATCH, based on matching theory principles, involving two sets of players negotiating different utility functions: 1) workflow microservices that prefer computing devices with lower data processing and queuing times; 2) computing continuum devices that prefer microservices with corresponding resource requirements and less data transmission time. We evaluate C3-MATCH using real-world road sign inspection and sentiment analysis workflows on a federated computing continuum across four Cloud, Fog, and Edge providers. Our combined simulation and real execution results reveal that C3-MATCH achieves up to 67% lower completion time compared to three state-of-the-art methods.


Paper accepted: Low Latency Live Streaming Implementation in DASH and HLS

Low Latency Live Streaming Implementation in DASH and HLS

ACM Multimedia Conference – OSS Track

Lisbon, Portugal | 10-14 October 2022

Abdelhak Bentaleb (National University of Singapore), Zhengdao Zhan (National University of Singapore), Farzad Tashtarian (Christian Doppler Laboratory ATHENA, Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt), May Lim (National University of Singapore), Saad Harous (University of Sharjah), Christian Timmerer (Christian Doppler Laboratory ATHENA, Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt), Hermann Hellwagner (Christian Doppler Laboratory ATHENA, Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt), and Roger Zimmermann (National University of Singapore)

Low latency live streaming over HTTP using Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (LL-DASH) and HTTP Live Streaming} (LL-HLS) has emerged as a new way to deliver live content with respectable video quality and short end-to-end latency. Satisfying these requirements while maintaining viewer experience in practice is challenging, and adopting conventional adaptive bitrate (ABR) schemes directly to do so will not work. Therefore, recent solutions including LoL$^+$, L2A, Stallion, and Llama re-think conventional ABR schemes to support low-latency scenarios. These solutions have been integrated with dash.js  that support LL-DASH. However, their performance in LL-HLS remains in question. To bridge this gap, we implement and integrate existing LL-DASH ABR schemes in the hls.js video player which supports LL-HLS.
Moreover, a series of real-world trace-driven experiments have been conducted to check their efficiency under various network conditions including a comparison with results achieved for LL-DASH in dash.js.