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Title: Scaleable audio for collaborative environments
Author: Radenkovic, Milena
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2002
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This thesis is concerned with supporting natural audio communication in collaborative environments across the Internet. Recent experience with Collaborative Virtual Environments, for example, to support large on-line communities and highly interactive social events, suggest that in the future there will be applications in which many users speak at the same time. Such applications will generate large and dynamically changing volumes of audio traffic that can cause congestion and hence packet loss in the network and so seriously impair audio quality. This thesis reveals that no current approach to audio distribution can combine support for large number of simultaneous speakers with TCP-fair responsiveness to congestion. A model for audio distribution called Distributed Partial Mixing (DPM) is proposed that dynamically adapts both to varying numbers of active audio streams in collaborative environments and to congestion in the network. Each DPM component adaptively mixes subsets of its input audio streams into one or more mixed streams, which it then forwards to the other components along with any unmixed streams. DPM minimises the amount of mixing performed so that end users receive as many separate audio streams as possible within prevailing network resource constraints. This is important in order to allow maximum flexibility of audio presentation (especially spatialisation) to the end user. A distributed partial mixing prototype is realised as part of the audio service in MASSIVE-3. A series of experiments over a single network link demonstrate that DPM gracefully manages the tradeoff between preserving stable audio quality and being responsive to congestion and achieving fairness towards competing TCP traffic. The problem of large scale deployment of DPM over heterogeneous networks is also addressed. The thesis proposes that a shared tree of DPM servers and clients, where the nodes of the tree can perform distributed partial mixing, is an effective basis for wide area deployment. Two models for realising this in two contrasting situations are then explored in more detail: a static, centralised, subscription-based DPM service suitable for fully managed networks, and a fully distributed self-organising DPM service suitable for unmanaged networks (such as the current Internet).
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QA 75 Electronic computers. Computer science