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TECHNICAL TRACK

Exploiting an Evolutionary Accident in Web3D Communications to Integrate Application Components


Thursday, 4 August
8:30 - 8:55 am
Room 501AB
Technical Track
Session Chair: Ying Zhu, Georgia State University

The Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) ushered in a new era in computer graphics by providing the first international standard 3D format for the web (web3D). Unfortunately, some who tried VRML applications found they did not work and naturally blamed the language. However, the problem often lay in the sensitivity to different client software environments of the programming interfaces used to extend VRML. In many cases, VRML applications had to be extended to include things VRML lacked, such as sophisticated user interface and interactivity, database access, multiuser support, security, and system-integration support. These important aspects of modern systems were added via a programming interface called the External Authoring Interface (EAI). The problem was that applications based on the EAI would not work reliably due to changes in the client environment by competitive commercial stakeholders, which affected things like support for a required third party programming language. It is this problem that often lead to unsatisfactory user experiences, not VRML itself.

Below the client battlefield radar, three small web3D functions accidentally evolved, in symbiosis with the web, to provide an alternative integration method built on a simple but solid foundation: the Hypertext Transport Protocol (HTTP). HTTP is the protocol from which the very fabric of the web was woven. This paper presents methods to integrate web3D application components directly via HTTP. The three web3D functions are used in combination to implement a communication cycle that makes use of persistent state stored in web services. The approach uses open standards, is portable across platforms, and resilient to changes in client environment. Applications based on this approach will work more reliably on disparate end-user systems and enable developers to leverage increasingly sophisticated web advances.
Additional information

Chris Thorne
University of Western Australia and Ping Interactive Broadband
dragonmagi (at) gmail.com

Web-Based Molecular Visualization Using Procedural Shaders in X3D


Thursday, 4 August
9:10 - 9:35 am
Room 501AB
Technical Track
Session Chair: Ying Zhu, Georgia State University

The introduction of programmable graphics processing units (GPUs) and the addition of procedural shaders to the web3D standard X3D provide new techniques to develop real-time web-based visualization. This paper discusses the applications of these techniques to bioinformatics and chemistry visualization, specifically the visualization of large biomolecules. By using procedural shaders, we are able to produce higher quality visualizations with minimal performance penalty. We have developed methods to automatically convert from the standard bioinformatics PDB format to CML and then to X3D. The procedural shaders are automatically inserted during the CML-to-X3D conversion. This provides higher quality images and leads to future possibilities of more flexible and enhanced visualizations.
Additional information

Feng Liu
Georgia State University
fliu1 (at) student.gsu.edu

G. Scott Owen
Georgia State University
owen (at) siggraph.org

Ying Zhu
Irene Weber
Robert Harrison
Georgia State University

Perceptually Optimized 3D Transmission Over Wireless Networks


Thursday, 4 August
9:50 - 10:15 am
Room 501AB
Technical Track
Session Chair: Ying Zhu, Georgia State University

Many protocols optimized for transmission over wireless networks have been proposed. However, these protocols do not consider human perception in deciding a transmission strategy for 3D objects. Many factors, such as the number of vertices and the resolution of texture, can affect the display quality of 3D objects. When the resources of a graphics system are not sufficient to render the ideal image, degradation is inevitable. It is therefore important to study how individual factors will affect the overall quality, and how the degradation can be controlled given limited bandwidth resources and possibility of data loss.

This paper reviews the essential factors that determine display quality. It provides an overview of our research on designing a 3D perceptual-quality metric integrating two important factors, resolution of texture and resolution of mesh, that control the transmission bandwidth. It then suggests alternative strategies for packet 3D transmission of both texture and mesh. These strategies are compared with respect to preserving 3D perceptual quality under packet loss.
Additional information

Irene Cheng
Anup Basu
University of Alberta
anup (at) cs.ualberta.ca

The Fourth Party in Online Arbitration as a Shared Virtual Workspace


Thursday, 4 August
10:30 - 10:55 am
Room 501AB
Technical Track
Session Chair: Ying Zhu, Georgia State University

This paper considers collaboration, implementation, and legal issues that arise from using a shared virtual workspace during online arbitration. Based on the concept of the fourth party, the authors developed an interface that influences the process of communication and negotiation, something that adds decision-making value to an arbitrator. The paper begins with a discussion of the legal arbitration issues that will influence our design methodology. We analyze the group dynamics and how a virtual workspace may work toward improving some of the human interactions that take place during an arbitration proceeding. We then describe the design methodology of the shared virtual workspace and consider some implementation results.

Dimitrios Protopsaltou
Université de Genève, MIRALab
dimitris (at) miralab.unige.ch

Nadia Magenat-Thalmann
Université de Genève
acm.org siggraph.org