LIACS Media Lab Overview

Michael S. Lew and Erwin M. Bakker (co-directors)

The goal of the LIACS Media Lab (LML) at Leiden University is to unify education and scientific research in the areas of multimedia analysis/understanding, artificial intelligence, databases/mining and internet technologies.  It is regularly used in a wide variety of university courses, by at least 30 student research projects per year, and is directly tied to tasks in numerous ongoing national and international research grants.

Specifically, the LIACS Media Lab provides three important aspects which are not available in any other lab or facility in LIACS.  These are (1) Light-controlled facilities to perform controlled scientific experiments (in computer vision and human-computer interaction) and development of virtual studio technologies; (2) facilities (space, hardware, software, etc.) for university courses to perform multimedia/internet related workshops including special very high electrical current power for special purpose multimedia equipment, and (3) most importantly, the lab provides the scientific and technical expertise to support the courses, student projects, and external research projects (many thanks to Ernst Lindoorn, the multimedia expert).

This has resulted in over 100 peer-reviewed scientific publications and exceptional student enthusiasm for multimedia research.  Moreover, the existence of the lab has assisted in helping us get research funding from Dutch government organizations, world-class research organizations such as Philips Research Labs, and the European Union.


- MediaTechnology courses and student research
    Role: LML provides both facilities and expertise and guides research publications
         - approx. 7 courses use the facilities and 80% of the Master's projects are published

- Multimedia research publications
    Role: LML provides the main source for multimedia and bio-image pattern recognition publications
         - Over 100 peer-reviewed scientific publications mostly in ACM, IEEE and LNCS.

- International Research Journals and Conferences
    Role: LML provides websites, paper reviewer systems, and central scientific leadership
         - ACM Multimedia 2005, ACM MIR 2004, IEEE HCI 2005, ACM Trans. Multimedia,

- LIACS infrastructure
    Role: LML provides a wide variety of web and information services
         - lobby/plasma screen wall system, LIACS webpages and courses

- Multimedia Helpdesk
    Role: LML members provides multimedia help and expertise to students and staff
         - student projects, special purpose hardware, LIACS open days, demonstrations

Grant Funding Support (External)

- DIAL - Data Integration, Analysis and Logistics
    Funding: ~56M Euros, ~16M Dutch gov., ~40M University and third parties, 2004-2008
    LIACS Project Manager: Erwin Bakker

- Relevance Feedback for Content Based Retrieval
    Funding: ~150K Euros, NWO (Dutch NSF), 1999-2004
    LIACS Project Leader: Michael Lew

- Advanced Information Processing in Bioinformatics: Data Interlinking and Integration (Sub-proj)
    Funding: ~5.8M Euros, NBIC Biorange IV – VL-e, 2005-2009
    LIACS Investigators or Participants: (project is starting) Joost Kok, Erwin Bakker, Michael Lew

- NODES - Novel Techniques for Describing Shapes in Computer Graphics and Image Processing
    Funding: ~100K Euros, European Union Research Framework, 2000-2001,
    LIACS Project Investigators: Michael Lew and Frans Peters

- Cyttron - Virtual multi-modal microscope and visualization platform
    Funding: ~9M Euros for entire project, Bsik, Dutch Government,2004-2008
    LIACS Bio-Search Project Leaders: Michael Lew and Erwin Bakker

- Data Integratie en Data Mining
    Funding: ~1.7M Euros, BTS/Senter, BTS-Project BTS98040, Economics Affairs, Dutch Government, 1997-2002
    LIACS Project Leader: Erwin Bakker

- Content-based Searching of Very Large Multimedia Databases
    Funding: ~200K Euros, Philips Research Labs, 1996-2000
    LIACS Project Leaders: Nies Huijsmans and Michael Lew

- MMIPPS - Multispectral and Multitemporal Image Processing on Parallel Systems
    Funding: ~100K Euros ESPRIT HPCN Project No. 20970, European Union Research Framework, 1996-1997
    LIACS Project Manager: Erwin Bakker

- WEPTEL - Innovative Weather Presentations on TELevision
    Funding: ~500K Euros, European Union Research Framework, 1996-2000,
    LIACS Investigators or Participants: Harry Wijshoff (P.I.), Lex Wolters (P.M.), Ernst Lindoorn, Michael Lew

Involvement in University Courses

- Artificial Intelligence
- Computer Graphics
- Interfaces
- Internet Systems
- Multimedia Systems
- Speech Recognition and Understanding
- Web Technology

Examples of Other Involvement

- DIAL Project group development server
- Cyttron Project Virtual Studio Task/responsibility
- Cyttron Bio-Image Search
- LIACS Web Pages - Design and Implementation - Ernst Lindoorn
- LTEC Seminar 2000-2002 - Organization: Ernst Lindoorn with Herbert Bos
- Challenges in Computer Science Seminar 2003-2004 - Organization: Michael Lew, Ernst Lindoorn and Nicu Sebe
- Demonstrations of LIACS research: Ernst Lindoorn, Erwin Bakker, Michael Lew

Unique Features of the LML (in its current state)

- Light control: both creating completely dark and creating extra bright well lit environments.  This is necessary for both workshops and creating controlled scientific test sets.

- Power: Very high current electrical power and our own circuit-breakers for special multimedia equipment and computers

- Cooling: Air-conditioner for high-heat generating equipment and computers

- Internet: Direct internet access for internet research, project servers, video teleconferencing, etc.  It is noteworthy that many internet technologies have been proven not to work behind the LIACS firewall.

- Security:  From past breakins, only a locked door is not sufficient. Thus, now we have higher security both inside and outside the lab