ERCIM had a major presence at ICT 2008 in Lyon, France, on 25-27 November. This bi-annual event, organised by the European Commission Information Society and Media Directorate General, attracted over 4,500 delegates and presented Europe's priorities for information and communication technologies (ICT) research, development and funding.
Through stands and networking sessions related to ERCIM itself or to European projects in which ERCIM is participating, the consortium had its highest exposure ever at "Europe's biggest research event for ICT".
ERCIM was present on its own booth and on the stands of the European projects VITALAS (Video & image Indexing and Retrieval in the Large Scale), EchoGRID (European and Chinese cooperation on Grid), GridCOMP (Grids Programming with Components: an advanced Component Platform for an effective invisible Grid), EuroIndia (Euro-India ICT Co-operation Initiative), and Digital World Forum on Accessible and Inclusive ICT. Networking sessions were held for InterLink (International Cooperation Activities in Future And Emerging ICTs), EchoGRID and EuroIndia.
As a coordination action supported by the EC IST Programme, InterLink held a networking Session entitled 'International Cooperation Activities in Future and Emerging ICTs'. The aims and results of InterLink were presented along with an outlook on opportunities for future international collaboration. The results presented were the new research proposals that came out of the InterLink consolidation workshop held in Cannes in November (see article in this issue).
The Euro-India (Bringing European & Indian Perspectives for future ICT Co-operation) played a central role at ICT 2008 by holding a networking session entitled "Euro-Indian ICT Cooperation Gateway". Chaired by Hilary Hanahoe, Trust-IT Services, and opened by Alvis Ancans, European Commission, International Relations Unit, DG Information Society & Media who illustrated the EU-India ICT R&D cooperation, the session attracted more than 50 participants.
After a brief presentation of the India Mentor project (Mentoring Indian IT organisations in the participation in the ICT programme of FP7) by Mauro Bianchi (Teseo Sprl, India Mentor project coordinator) and the EuroIndia initiative by Mogens Kuehn Pedersen (Copenhagen Business School, EuroIndia Project Coordinator), the session continued with keynote speakers on different topics. Manesh Kulkarni, from CDAC Pune (India) presented the Digital Libraries projects in India. Prof. Dilip Kanhere from the centre for modelling and simulation, Pune University (India) explored distributed computing. A. Prabaharan from Jawaharlal Nehru University; New Delhi (India) gave an overview on ICT for learning. IPv6, a topic of huge interest was tackled by T R G Nair, director of research and industry from the Dayanand Sagar Institution (India), while software and services in India were presented by Prashant Shukla, COO from CMC Ltd (a TATA enterprise). Finally, Krishna Lakshmi Narasimhan, vice president of Cranes Softwares (India) gave an insight into the successful Indian experience of the AEE (acquire-enhance-expand) model for intellectual property identification, development and commercialisation.
The session ended with intensive discussions between the participants interested in developing or increasing cooperation with India and interested in understanding more about EU-Indian ICT collaboration. The participants had the opportunity to continue their discussion and to learn more about the India Mentor and EuroIndia projects visiting the joint booth located in the 'international village'. Visitors viewed a rolling presentation with quotes on innovation by a select group of experts from India. The presentation highlighted India's leadership in specific ICT areas, and its potential to invent, innovate and make an impact through collaborative developments with Europe.
Delegates were also invited to participate in the series of events which will be held in India in January, such as 'Information Days' (Mumbai, 20 January 2009; New Delhi, 21 January 2009) and the First EuroIndia international conference in New Delhi, 22-23 January 2009. The conference will take place during the 'Indian R&D 2009: ICT Innovation' event, organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI). This multi-faceted event featured keynote talks, parallel sessions on ICT topics of interest to Europe and India, and an exhibition showcasing technological achievements in both India and Europe. EuroIndia conference will include a session presenting the main outcomes of EuroIndia's initial technology road-mapping and a guide on how to get involved in European Commission-funded projects as well as presentations in all sessions.
EchoGRID and GridCOMP
ICT 2008 offered a prime opportunity for EchoGRID and GridCOMP projects to build on their achievements and spearhead synergies with a number of EC-funded projects and technology platforms. The joint booth of EchoGRID, GridCOMP and BRIDGE (Cooperation between Europe and China to Develop Grid Application) on "EU & Chinese Co-operation on Grids, and ProActive/GCM Demonstration", at the 'International Village', demonstrated the benefits of Grids across a range of commercial and public sectors with live demos from Bridge and GridCOMP showcasing cutting-edge technologies developed with partners from China and other world regions, BRIDGE presented three application scenarios designed to demonstrate co-operative design, simulation and data access between European and Chinese partners, with special emphasis on the interoperability approach to combine heterogeneous Grid infrastructures, as well as the workflows in the Bridge application domains. The networking session on Thursday 27 November highlighted current and future developments and areas for future cooperation of interest to both Europe and China.
The GridCOMP ProActive/GCM (Grid Component Model) demonstration tackled the increasing need for both improved business performance and optimal energy efficiency now facing enterprise IT. GridCOMP has developed an open-source reference implementation in the ProActive parallel suite library that enables businesses to globalise their IT infrastructure while lowering costs and accelerating applications.
Business intelligence often involves data mining and ETL (Extract Transform Load): relevant information from enormous files are analysed, extracted, transformed and loaded into data warehouses in order to support decision making processes. GridCOMP has enhanced these data-mining and ETL processes and has delivered a faster response-time capability for different departments in a Telco-company scenario.
The demonstration showed how the GCM provides an easy way to use deployment framework providing interoperability with a large set of Grid schedulers and middleware. This is one of the industrial use cases developed within GridCOMP by GridSystems (http://www.gridsystems.com/).
Visitors also learnt about the achievements of EchoGRID in connecting actors from EU and China through a series of events in both regions to deliberate top-level challenges for new computing paradigms and define research priorities moving forward. In particular, the EU-China cooperation workshop on 28 October 2008 in Beijing, showcased successful partnerships between China and Europe in Grids, software and services, and e-infrastructures, with the aim of fostering future collaborative developments to address new challenges. The workshop brought together around one hundred European and Chinese representatives, including the European Commission and Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology officials.
The networking session held on Thursday 27 November 2008, was entitled Priorities for Future Research on Grids: EU & International Perspectives. This Session looked at different research agendas around Grid from multiple yet complementary perspectives, with the future evolution of distributed computing and software and services firmly in mind. Each of the hosting projects, EchoGRID, NESSI-GRID (Network European Software and Services Initiative - GRID), CHALLENGERS and 3S (European Community for Software & Software Services), gave a brief talk on the main outcome of their road-mapping activities and white papers. BRIDGE then took the floor to present current achievements in Grid developments, paving the way for discussion.
The session brought into focus future research priorities for distributed computing and software and services defined by EU road-mapping projects both at a European and international level, featuring success stories on EU and Chinese co-operation on grids.
Digital World Forum
The Digital World Forum EU project staffed a booth in the 'International Village' of ICT 2008 and issued a press release announcing a public workshop on the role of mobile technologies in fostering social and economic development in Africa in Maputo, Mozambique, on 1-2 April 2009. In this workshop, participants will explore ways to fulfill the potential of mobile phones as a platform for deploying development-oriented ICT services towards the poorest segments of populations in developing countries, with an emphasis on the African context. DWF also participated in the networking session on "Strategic cooperation opportunities with sub-Saharan Africa".
DWF is an FP7-funded project focusing on the use of ICT to leverage economic development in Africa and Latin America. The project explores ways in which advantage can be taken of the new model of low-cost technologies in broadband infrastructure and devices, as well as the explosion of mobile telephony to bridge the digital divide and help connect the hitherto unconnected.
The VITALAS project (Video and image Indexing and reTrievAl in the LArge Scale) project demonstrated at ICT'08 the first release of its cross-media search system which combines semantic search, textual and visual concepts search, and visual similarity search on a corpus of 10,000 annotated images provided by the Belgian news agency Belga. The system was previously presented to a large audience during the the Networked and Electronic Media Summit in St Malo, France, 13-15 October 2008
The next release of the prototype, VITALAS V2, available in February 2009, will integrate text, video and audio modules. This version will enable audio queries and visual queries, analyse of non-textual content in such a manner that textual annotation from audio and visual content analysis can be automatically predicted and generated.
Launch of ERCIM Innovation
The first edition of 'ERCIM Innovation' was successfully launched during the ERCIM cocktail reception attended by some 200 people, including 30 representatives from the European Commission. This brand new magazine aims at communicating ideas and innovations from ERCIM members in order to facilitate their uptake by business and industry. In short, the purpose of this magazine is to foster innovation in Europe thanks to closer relationships between research, academia, standardisation, industry, and investment. This kind of activity demonstrates that ERCIM is not only the European network of research but also a unique European network of innovation. The content for ERCIM Innovation is provided by our new network of technology/knowledge transfer & innovation experts working in our member institutes, with additional articles of interest contributed by external innovation experts. The magazine is available for download from the ERCIM Web site. Printed copies are being distributed to 9,000 people throughout Europe.