Friday, January 22, 2010

Paper: Measuring Visual Consistency in 3D Rendering Systems

My PhD student, Alfredo Nantes, has published and presented a paper at ACSW 2010 in Brisbane last week - Measuring Visual Consistency in 3D Rendering Systems

It covers his approach to using reverse projections of pixels in 3D computer graphics images in order to create a ground truth sample cloud that can be queried to confirm the geometric correctness of the objects in a 3D scene.

Nice work Alfredo!


Paper: APCCM 2010 Modelling in 3D Virtual Worlds

I have uploaded to QUT eprints the paper I presented at APCCM 2010 this week - Conceptual Modelling in 3D Virtual Worlds for Process Communication.

In this paper, I go into a little more detail about the 3D BPMN Editor I am developing in Open Simulator. I also discuss how to annotate a Virtual World with a Business Process Model (BPMN) in order to provide a place for a business analyst and a domain expert to combine their information to develop the conceptual process model for the business.

One comment from the audience was quite profound. In my approach, the Business Analyst brings the conceptual process model, and the domain expert brings the model of reality - buildings, layout and other artifacts representing the business. Together, these can be used to validate the correctness of the presented process model. Indeed this is done every time a consultant talks to a domain specialist and builds a model. However, when using the virtual world as a modelling space, the domain specialist provides (virtually) tangible information about the Enterprise.


CFP: 6th International Symposium on Visual Computing (ISVC10)


6th International Symposium on Visual Computing (ISVC10)

Monte Carlo Resort & Casino
Las Vegas, Nevada
Nov 29 - Dec 1, 2010

The purpose of the International Symposium on Visual Computing (ISVC) is to
provide a common forum for researchers, scientists, engineers and practitioners
throughout the world to present their latest research findings, ideas,
developments and applications in the broader area of visual computing. ISCV
seeks papers describing contributions to the state of the art and state of the
practice in the four central areas of visual computing: (1) computer vision,
(2) computer graphics, (3) virtual reality, and (4) visualization. For a list
of specific topics, please visit the ISVC website. ISVC10 will consist of
invited and contributed presentations dealing with all aspects of visual
computing. In addition to the main technical program, the symposium will
include several keynote speakers, posters sessions, and special tracks.

*** Keynote Speakers ***
Ioannis Kakadiaris, Univ of Houston, USA
Marc Pollefeys, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
Steve Seitz, Univ of Washington, USA
John Stasko, Georgia Tech., USA
Tobias Hollerer, Univ of California at Santa Barbara, USA
Narendra Ahuja, Univ of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA (to be

(Area 1) Computer Vision Chairs
Ronald Chung, The Univ of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Riad Hammoud, DynaVox Systems, USA

(Area 2) Computer Graphics Chairs
Muhammad Hussain, KSU, Saudi Arabia
Kar-Han Tan, Hewlett Packard Labs, USA

(Area 3) Virtual Reality Chairs
Roger Crawfis, Ohio State University, USA
Daniel Thalman, EPFL, Switzerland

(Area 4) Visualization Chairs
David Kao, NASA Ames, USA
Lisa Avila, Kitware, USA

*** Important Dates ***

. Special track proposals: March 15, 2010
. Paper submissions July 12, 2010
. Notification of acceptance August 31, 2009
. Final camera ready paper September 15, 2010
. Advance Registration September 15, 2010
. ISVC10 Symposium Nov 29 - Dec 1, 2010

*** Submission Procedure ***

Papers submitted to ISVC10 must not have been previously published and must not
be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. A complete paper
should be submitted in camera-ready format. The length should match that
intended for final publication. The page limit is 12 pages. In submitting a
paper the author(s) agree that, upon acceptance, they will prepare the final
manuscript in time for inclusion into the proceedings and will present the
paper at the symposium.

*** Paper Publication ***

This is a fully refereed symposium. Papers will be reviewed with an emphasis on
potential to contribute to the state of the art in the field. Each paper will
receive two-three blind reviews and should not contain names or other
information revealing authors' identity. Selection criteria include accuracy
and originality of ideas, clarity and significance of results, and presentation
quality. All papers accepted will appear in the symposium proceedings which
will be published by Springer-Verlag in the Lecture Notes in Computer Science
(LNCS) series (pending approval).

*** Special Tracks ***

Proposals are invited for special tracks on any topic relevant to the
symposium. Special tracks are intended to stimulate in-depth discussions in
special areas relevant to the symposium theme. A special track may span
multiple sessions, depending on the quantity and quality of the papers
submitted. All papers accepted in a special track will be published in the
symposium proceedings. If you are interested in organizing a special track,
please email a special track proposal to by March 15, 2010. Each
special track proposal should include the following information:

2. Scope and Topics
3. Names of organizers and contact information
4. Initial special track committee
5. Anticipated number of papers

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

BPM Redux Predictions 2010

BPM Evangelist/Critique Theo Priestley has fired up a website called BPM Redux. He has a strong interest in my research regarding the use of Virtual Environments for BPM, and has mentioned my work in previous blog entries. His latest article is an interesting set of predictions for 2010. Well worth a read, and I sincerely hope his predictions for the uptake of 3D Virtual Worlds for BPM comes to pass. Though I have to laugh at his statement about AR for BPM as "We're still ironing out the kinks on this one…..," as I hope to run an Honours project on AR for BPM this year. Should get some kinks out real soon. :-)

I'll keep you all posted on the results as usual.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

BPM Book: Modern Business Process Automation

My colleagues in the YAWL project at QUT have released a new book entitled, "Modern Business Process Automation: YAWL and its Support Environment" via Springer Verlag. YAWL is the workflow tool I have been using in my research in Open Simulator. The book web site information now follows.

This book provides a comprehensive treatment of the field of Business Process Management (BPM) with a focus on Business Process Automation. It achieves this by covering a wide range of topics, both introductory and advanced, illustrated through and grounded in the YAWL (Yet Another Workflow Language) language and corresponding open-source support environment. In doing so it provides the reader with a deep, timeless, and vendor-independent understanding of the essential ingredients of business process automation.

The BPM field is in a continual state of flux and is subject to both the ongoing proposal of new standards and the introduction of new tools and technology. Its fundamentals however are relatively stable and this book aims to equip the reader with both a thorough understanding of them and the ability to apply them to better understand, assess and utilize new developments in the BPM field.

As a consequence of its topic-based format and the inclusion of a broad range of exercises, the book is eminently suitable for use in tertiary education, both at the undergraduate and the postgraduate level, for students of computer science and information systems. BPM researchers and practitioners will also find it a valuable resource. The book serves as a unique reference to a varied and comprehensive collection of topics that are relevant to the business process life-cycle.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Think Balm Immersive Software Analysis

Interesting article at ThinkBalm on some predictions for Immersive Software in 2010.

It is a worthwhile read with some good insights. However, the article seems to focus in on the collaboration and meeting capabilities of such spaces. While this is a rational argument, due to the quick return on investment, and the ability to easily use the spaces for communication work, I can't help thinking that there needs to be more exploitation of the design and prototyping capabilities of such immersive environments.

The same modelling capabilities that give you rooms, avatars and other devices in world, can give you very powerful tools for actual prototyping of products, both at the artifact and service level. My research seeks to leverage such environments for process modelling, in order to aid the process of validating the "prototype processes" with clients, via as-is and to-be model visualisation. Again, the tools will have to approach high levels of maturity in order to be useful to analysts, and to give a good return on investment.

My prediction is that such collaborative environments will be more and more used for product development, by geographically distant teams. Maybe not this year, but I expect that the ability to remotely develop artifacts collaboratively, in addition to remote conferencing, will be very useful to companies wanting to cut down on travel expenses, and to effectively utilise distributed expertise in their businesses.


Conference: GameDays 2010

Serious Games for Sports and Health
GameDays 2010

March 25/26 2010, TU Darmstadt, Germany

Call for papers

We invite you to participate in the GameDays 2010. The GameDays,
established in 2005 as annual "Science meets Business" event series,
aim to provide an information and cooperation platform bringing
together academia and industry and discussing latest trends,
challenges and potentials of serious games. Research papers, case
studies and demonstrations are invited that present novel scientific
results, best practice showcases, or improvements to existing
technology, methods, concepts and approaches in the multidisciplinary
field of serious games, applied in a broad spectrum of application

Suggested research topics include, but are not limited to:

- Theory: Scientific models, methods and concepts for game-based
prevention and rehabilitation
- Game Design: Sustainable concepts and methods for cooperative and
competitive application scenarios
- Technology: Interfaces, Sensors, Authoring Tools, Information and
Communication, AI
- Business: Sustainable Business Models and Market Studies
- Practice: Field Reports and Evaluation Studies, Demonstrations,
Commercial Games and Research Prototypes

Important Dates (Deadline Extended)

February 1st, 2010: Submission Deadline
- Full papers: 8 - 12 pages
- Short and demonstration papers: 4 - 6 pages

February 10th, 2010: Notification of Acceptance
- February 28th, 2010: Camera Ready Version
- March 25-26th, 2010: GameDays 2010

Paper Submission

All submissions should use the format of the International Journal of
Computer Science in Sport (IJCSS template: available at Please submit your papers via
email to

Template File:

Paper submissions will be accepted via email only and should be both
in Word and Adobe pdf format. All papers will be reviewed by the
scientific committee. Accepted papers will be published as a Special
Issue "Serious Games for Sports and Health" in the International
Journal of Computer Science in Sport.


Prof. Dr. Josef Wiemeyer
TU Darmstadt, Institute for Sport Science
Phone +49 (0) 6151 16-2861

Dr. Stefan Göbel
TU Darmstadt, Multimedia Communications
Lab – KOM, Serious Gaming
Phone +49 (0) 6151 16-6149

Further information (e.g., registration, program and conference venue)
is available at the GameDays website:

Monday, January 11, 2010

(Semi) Virtual Goods

Have just read this set of slides on the Asian economy in Virtual Goods by Benjamin Joffe. It seems there is a $7 Billion business in the area of selling things via virtual environments, ranging from Online Game Gold, to Mobile Apps. and all Avatars in between. The US market is hitting $1 billion, so this is a world wide phenomenon reputedly at $52 Billion in value.

This gets me thinking about the nature of virtual goods, and their value to a consumer. I buy virtual goods in a form, they are iPhone apps., iTune songs and movies. In my research, I also buy the odd virtual product in Second Life, as I am not prepared to spend time modelling chairs and desks for my business process demonstrations.

While this virtual goods economy is growing, it is also bounded somewhat by the usage of such goods in virtual environments, and a lot of people don't spend that much time in such spaces. What will be interesting is the merging of such worlds via forms of augmented reality and newer display systems that are emerging, including forms of paper-like electronic displays. Thus virtual goods become more and more integrated with actual physical environments. I would then upgrade the walls of my home with a downloaded purchase.

The logical extreme is the extension to 3D printers. Thus you will buy the virtual product (eg. a cup) and print it out for use in the real world. In fact, I wonder if such integration might indeed decrease the popularity of pure virtual worlds, as the integration of real and virtual opens up much more exciting possibilities.

New iPhone/Android Augmented Reality applications, such as Layor, are appearing in a viable commercial form, and so I expect to see a maturation of the integration between real and virtual both in representation, and economies.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

TechTip: CutyCapt for Rendering Web Pages in OpenSim

Our projects are about visualising the operation of Information Systems within a 3D virtual model of a business. Part of this is integrating workflow systems, like YAWL, into the virtual environment.

YAWL runs using web services to render its custom workflow forms, which means if we wish to display the data perspective in-world, then we need a webpage rendering tool, to be able to generate a texture to be placed on a prim.

One currently used method is to use a web service like to render the page, and then retrieve it for placing on a primitive. Unfortunately, this is prohibitively slow. Erik Poppe, our research assistant, has come across a command line web rendering tool called CutyCapt. A related Internet Explorer version is available as well.

It uses webkit to render the pages, and looks like being a useful solution for efficiently making web page snapshots available on OpenSim primitives for our purposes - ie. PC Terminals in world with web apps. shown on the screen.


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Political Statement from the BPMVE

I have a really big problem with Internet Censorship, or censorship of any kind full stop. Government control of information sources is a feature of Autocracy in my mind, and sets off my paranoia detectors.

A colleague of mine at QUT, Axel Bruns, has placed on his blog some pertinent research performed by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation in Australia. This presents, in my opinion, a balanced view providing appropriate regulation measures as a part of public policy formation by government.

Of course, some Internet content is socially offensive and inappropriate, that is regarded as a given by educated members of society. Regulation is thus a part of a complex society such as ours. However, the amount of control, and how it is implemented, should not be via a knee-jerk political response to certain sectors of the community, who wish to prohibit informed public discourse on such subjects.

As Axel suggests, feel free to link, embed etc. through appropriate channels.


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Avatar, the Program

Graphics is about as sexy as IT can get; and that is saying something, because IT is NOT a sexy area. Even a geek like me can pick-up at a club if I mention that I do 3D graphics like those in games and motion pictures. Maybe.

Back on topic. Some serious technology is coming around the corner which will influence the realism of games and simulations by an order of magnitude.

First of all, Mach Studio Pro, a cinematic rendering system that utilises a GPU to generate high-quality, anti-aliased graphics in interactive time-frames. Typically, cinematic graphics has meant render times of days at a time for high quality scenes, such as those used in movies like Avatar. Now it only takes seconds or minutes at most using this GPU assisted technology. Previously, the high quality rendering systems have not used the GPU to such good effect, until now. So we are at the point that cinematic graphics will soon appear in games and simulations, not just the blocky "cinematic" work that we see presently, but REAL cinematic graphics. By this I mean graphics that uses millions of polygons (not low res normal mapped objects), large resolutions (HD is small by cinema standards), high quality lighting models (photon mapping, ray tracing) and texture maps large enough to prevent any distortion via magnification or minification.

Have a look at the quality of the images in the above Mach Studio Pro web site, and see how these images are a jump ahead in quality. While Crysis/Metal Gear Solid/Gears of War 2 et al have all been major moves forward, this next phase could seriously improve the sense of immersion in these games, bringing about clear, crisp artifact free graphics in real time.

This new approach is going to be powered by into the future by GPU/CPU hybrids with 40+ cores on the chips, all providing Terraflops of performance (Intel, AMD results listed), and all with the power requirements of a standard desktop - am a little skeptical here on the power needs, but we will see what happens. Intel, nVidia and AMD are going head to head with their GPU/CPU approaches to processor construction, and this is now bringing about huge competition in this arena, with large amounts of capital invested in what is perceived as disruptive GPU processing technology.

So, you will get Avatar quality graphics in real time, all ready to role on a standard desktop. For a simulation engineer like me, I can't wait. Any hospital, emergency service and environmental process simulations will have much more emotional import due to the CPU/GPU power to give immersive graphics, and then have the power besides for quality Physics, AI and Motion Capture Animation. All the nuances of a scene can be captured and simulated, ready for education and communication purposes, giving much more engaging and rigorous training exercises for students and business stakeholders alike.

Problems will occur with content production being even more difficult with the extra capabilities of the hardware and software combinations, but that will keep researchers like me in the business of providing tools to support the use of such environments by non-IT domain specialists. :-)

In the end, movies like Avatar will become programs that you download and run on your PC. To an extent this is already happening, with game tie-ins to major movies. Only in the future, the games will become more important than the movies. In effect, the movie will be the trailer to the interactive game environment they are actually trying to sell to you.