UltraGrid - A High Definition Collaboratory
The goals of the NSF-funded UltraGrid project were to enhance the state of the art in high quality, large scale, telepresence systems and to enable flexible and ad-hoc remote collaboration.
The UltraGrid video conferencing system was the first to support high definition interactive video conferencing with low latency. Using its highest quality mode, UltraGrid supports uncompressed high definition video (720p/60) at approximately 1.2 Gbps; it also supports standard definition video formats and a range of compression algorithms. When used with the AccessGrid venue server infrastructure and audio service, UltraGrid forms a complete high definition video conferencing system.
UltraGrid is primarily intended as a platform for research into real-time network transport protocols and novel video coding algorithms. Key innovations include integration with custom IPsec acceleration hardware to provide secure interactive conferencing at gigabit rates, and the incorporation of TCP-Friendly Rate Control to adapt the video quality to variations in network capacity.
Publications and Standards Contributions
- Ladan Gharai, Tom Lehman, Alvaro Saurin and Colin Perkins, Experiences with High Definition Interactive Video Conferencing, Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Multimedia and Expo, Toronto, Canada, July 2006. DOI:10.1109/ICME.2006.262565
- Colin Perkins and Ladan Gharai, RTP and the Datagram Congestion Control Protocol, Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Multimedia and Expo, Toronto, Canada, July 2006. DOI:10.1109/ICME.2006.262832
- Ladan Gharai and Colin Perkins, Holographic and 3D Teleconferencing and Visualization: Implications for Terabit Networked Applications, Proceedings of the IEEE Infocom 2006 High-Speed Networking Workshop, Barcelona, Spain, April 2006. DOI:10.1109/INFOCOM.2006.29
- Colin Perkins, RTP Payload Format for Uncompressed Video: Additional Colour Sampling Modes, Internet Engineering Task Force, RFC 4421, February 2006. DOI:10.17487/RFC4421
- Ladan Gharai and Colin Perkins, RTP Payload Format for Uncompressed Video, Internet Engineering Task Force, RFC 4175, September 2005. DOI:10.17487/RFC4175
- Colin Perkins, Building Adaptive Applications: On The Need For Congestion Control, Invited paper presented at the 17th SPIE/IS&T International Symposium on Electronic Imaging, San Jose, CA, USA, January 2005. DOI:10.1117/12.592797
- Ladan Gharai, Colin Perkins and Tom Lehman, Packet Reordering, High Speed Networks and Transport Protocol Performance, Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Computer Communications and Networks (ICCCN'04), Chicago, IL, USA, October 2004. DOI:10.1109/ICCCN.2004.1401591
- Colin Perkins and Ladan Gharai, Real-time Collaborative Environments and the Grid, Proceedings of the Workshop on Advanced Collaborative Environments (WACE'04), Nice, France, September 2004.
- Peter Bellows, Jaroslav Flidr, Ladan Gharai, Colin Perkins, Pawel Chodowiec and Kris Gaj, IPsec-Protected Transport of HDTV over IP, Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Field Programmable Logic and Applications (LNCS 2778), Lisbon, Portugal, September 2003. DOI:10.1007/978-3-540-45234-8_84
- Ladan Gharai, Colin Perkins, Gary Goncher, and Allison Mankin, RTP Payload Format for Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) 292M Video, Internet Engineering Task Force, RFC 3497, March 2003. DOI:10.17487/RFC3497
- Ladan Gharai and Colin Perkins, Implementing Congestion Control in the Real World, Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Multimedia and Expo, Lausanne, Switzerland, August 2002. DOI:10.1109/ICME.2002.1035802
- Ladan Gharai, Colin Perkins and Allison Mankin, Large Group Teleconferencing: Techniques and Considerations, Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Internet Computing, Las Vegas, NV, USA, June 2002.
- Colin Perkins, Ladan Gharai, Tom Lehman and Allison Mankin, Experiments with Delivery of HDTV over IP Networks, Proceedings of the 12th International Packet Video Workshop, Pittsburgh, PA, USA, April 2002.
- Petr Holub, Ludek Matyska, Milos Liska, Lukas Hejtmanek, Jiri Denemark, Tomas Rebok, Ravi Paruchuri, Jan Radil and Eva Hladka, High-definition multimedia for multiparty low-latency interactive communication, Future Generation Computer Systems, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Elsevier Science, The Nederlands. ISSN 0167-739X, 2006, vol. 22, no. 8, pp. 856-861.
- Andrei Hutanu, Gabrielle Allen, Stephen D. Beck, Petr Holub, Hartmut Kaiser, Archit Kulshrestha, Milos Liska, Jon MacLaren, Ludek Matyska, Ravi Paruchuri, Steffen Prohaska, Ed Seidel, Brygg Ullmer and Shalini Venkataraman, Distributed and collaborative visualization of large data sets using high-speed networks, Future Generation Computer Systems, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Elsevier Science, The Nederlands. ISSN 0167-739X, 2006, vol. 22, no. 8, pp. 1004-1010.
Talks and Demonstrations
- Photographs from a Demonstration at the SuperComputing 2005 conference in Seattle, November 2005.
- Ladan Gharai, “Putting the “Ultra” in UltraGrid: Full rate Uncompressed HDTV Video Conferencing”, Presentation to the 20th Asia-Pacific Advanced Network meeting, Taipei, Taiwan, August 2005.
- Ladan Gharai, “Full rate Uncompressed HDTV Transport: Experiences and Implementation”, Presentation to the 19th Asia-Pacific Advanced Network meeting, Bangkok, Thailand, February 2005.
- Demonstration at the SuperComputing 2004 conference in Pittsburgh, November 2004.
- Ladan Gharai, “Uncompressed HD Video Streaming with Congestion Control”, Presentation to the 18th Asia-Pacific Advanced Network meeting, Cairns, Australia, July 2004.
- Colin Perkins, “Congestion Control for High Performance Networked Multimedia”, Seminar at the Hamilton Institute, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Ireland, January 2004.
- Presentation and demonstration for PBS, ISI East, November 2002.
- Demonstration at the SuperComputing 2002 conference in Baltimore, November 2002.
UltraGrid's technology had been adopted by other HDTV enthusiasts. This includes the CESNET group at the Masaryk University in Brno and the HDTV group at KAIST.
The CESNET group demonstrated HD Multipoint Conferencing with UltraGrid at iGrid 2005. In this demonstration, low latency high-definition video and audio were used to create a "near to immersive" environment across continents over optical networks.
Source code for the UltraGrid system is available for download under a BSD-style license, and should run on recent Linux, FreeBSD and MacOS X systems with supported video capture and display hardware, and appropriate network connection.
|Description||Release Date||Source Code|
|UltraGrid v0.1.1 (SC2002 demonstration)||28-Nov-2002||uv-0.1.1.tar.gz|
UltraGrid is primarily an HDTV video conferencing system, although starting with v0.4 we also support DV video. To use the HDTV conferencing features of UltraGrid, you need an HDTV camera with SMPTE-292M output (we use a Philips LDK-6000), an HDTV video capture card (DVS HDstationOEM or Centaurus), an HDTV capable display, and high performance hosts to act as sender and receiver connected by a network supporting at least one gigabit per second sustained transfer rates (1.5Gbps preferred). To sustain video capture and network transmission at HDTV rates sender and receiver hosts should have a dual 64 bit/66 MHz PCI bus architecture (or better) with gigabit or ten gigabit Ethernet. Performance is very sensitive to details of the motherboard and PCI configuration; please ask on our mailing list for advice.
Starting with version v0.4, UltraGrid also supports DV cameras attached via FireWire connections, as a lower quality alternative. There are no special system requirements for DV conferencing, other than a consumer DV camcorder connected by FireWire.
Contacts and Mailing List
The UltraGrid project is a collaboration between the Information Sciences Institute at the University of Southern California (Dr Ladan Gharai) and the Department of Computing Science at the University of Glasgow (Dr Colin Perkins and Alvaro Saurin).
The UltraGrid users mailing list exists as a forum for discussion of the UltraGrid system. This is a public mailing list, and anyone with an interest is encouraged to subscribe.
This work was supported by the National Science Foundation under grant No. 0230738. The UltraGrid software is based on earlier work funded by DARPA IPTO under contract #MDA972-99-C-0022. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or the United States Government.
This product includes software developed by the Computer Science Department at University College London, by the Computer Systems Engineering Group at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, and by Akimichi Ogawa. This product uses the RSA Data Security, Inc. MD5 Message Digest Algorithm.