A number of research and development groups, distinct but overlapping, feed into the realization of the distributed multimedia platform. They are (in parenthesis are the leaders of each group):
This group carries the core activity of the Centre of Excellence, working at the provision for specific support for mobile devices in the previously developed distributed media-service platform. This is done through the investigation of available architectures to specialize appropriately, and the creation of suitable toolkits for the fast creation and deployment of services on the platform. Naturally, particular attention is given to services that integrate audio, video and location information.
Security and Networks (SNRG)
The Security and Networks Research Group (SNRG) efforts are concentrated in the areas of Information Security and Computer Networks. Members of the group are currently involved in a variety of projects, including a selection of visualisation techniques for security metrics, network traffic classification and monitoring, intrusion detection and hardware acceleration of these and other network and security centric tasks using commodity graphics cards.
This new group will concentrate on the device side of the "mobile equation". (The Convergence group concentrates more on the infrastructure side.) Work on mobility is growing fast, benefitting from strong expertise in the department on mobile devices and Human Computer Interaction.
Distributed Audio Engineering
Over the past 3 years, the Audio Engineering group has been involved in the conceptualization and implementation of a connection management and control protocol known as XFN (Cross Fire Network). This protocol is aimed at allowing for comprehensive control over the routing of audio within large sound installations such as stadiums, studios, convention centres, law courts, and live concerts. The project has involved embedded firmware programming of nodes for amplifiers and other professional audio devices, the construction and programming of special purpose routers, and the creation of graphical control software.
Parallel and Distributed Computing
This group has a long history in the department, going back to the origins of the paradigm in the 1980's when transputers were the main focus. More recently, the group's research efforts have focused on various aspects of Linda, a coordination language for parallel/distributed programming, grid computing and incorporating parallel constructs into the Python language, with the aim of making concurrent programming more readily accessible to non-computer scientists.
In the last few years, the Centre has started a large, long-term multidisciplinary effort focused on the introduction of ICT in a deep rural area in the Mbashe area, on the Wild Coast in Transkei, in collaboration with the University of Fort Hare. There, technological solutions developed by both Universities are tested in the field, in rather harsh conditions. This research effort, connected closely to the other research pursuits in the department, situates itself in the growing area of ICT for Development. The field work is being structured as a living lab (Siyakhula Living Lab), a vehicle which permits the use of a new research methodology, whereby the services needed by a community are co-created with the community. (The Siyakhula Living Lab is expected to expand into the township of Grahamstown during 2011.) An important spin-off of this activity was the starting, in 2010, of a project, ESTIMA, for the construction of a software factory, Reed House Systems, hosted for its first two years of existence by Rhodes University and funded by SAFIPA.
You can browse our gallery for photos of our research activities