Lawrence A. Rowe, Ph.D.

Executive Consultant

Lawrence A. Rowe

Dr. Lawrence A. Rowe is the past Chairman and CEO of FX Palo Alto Laboratory (FXPAL). FXPAL is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fuji Xerox, Ltd. The mission of FXPAL is to produce outstanding research and transfer technology to new products. Under Dr. Rowe’s leadership, FXPAL continues research on distributed collaboration, mixed and immersive realities, usable smart environments, ubiquitous documents, and interactive media.

Prior to joining FXPAL in 2007, Dr. Rowe was a Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley (1976-2003). He was the founding director of the Berkeley Multimedia Research Center that applied multimedia technology to research and education (1995-2002).

Dr. Rowe is recognized for his research in software-only MPEG-1 video encoding, decoding, and streaming, Internet webcasting, distributed collaboration, database management systems, and database application development tools. His research group developed the Berkeley Lecture Webcasting System, which today produces over 30 course lecture webcasts and podcasts each week viewed world-wide by over 500,000 people per month. Dr. Rowe has published extensively and contributed to several important open source software systems (e.g., Berkeley MPEG-1 Tools, Postgres, Open Mash, etc.). He received several “Best Paper” awards. And, a paper he co-authored with Dr. Michael Stonebraker titled “Design of POSTGRES” published in 1986 received the “1996 ACM SIGMOD Test of Time Award” for a paper that had the most impact over the decade after which it first appeared.

Dr. Rowe co-founded several companies including the original Ingres Corporation that went public in the 1980’s. He is an active angel investor, a founding Board member for the corporate incubator Siemens Technology-to-Business, and served on the Board of Directors and Technical Advisory Boards for several high-tech companies including NCast, Inktomi and Dust Inc.

Dr. Rowe received a B.A. in Mathematics and a Ph.D. in Information and Computer Science from U.C. Irvine in 1970 and 1976, respectively. He is an ACM Fellow, past chair of the ACM Special Interest Group on Multimedia (1998-2003), and a co-founding editorial board member of the ACM Transactions on Multimedia Computing, Communications, and Applications. He also served on numerous administrative and policy committees at U.C. and for agencies of the U.S. government. He was co-recipient of the 2002 U.C. Technology Leadership Council Award for IT Innovation for his development of the Berkeley Lecture Webcasting System. And in 2007, he received the U.C. Irvine Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Science Distinguished Alumni Award. And in 2009, he received the SIGMM Technical Achievement Award.

Co-Authors

Publications

2013
Publication Details
  • ACM Trans. On Multimedia Computing, Communications and Applications (TOMCCAP)
  • Oct 1, 2013

Abstract

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A panel at ACM Multimedia 2012 addressed research successes in the past 20 years. While the panel focused on the past, this article discusses successes since the ACM SIGMM 2003 Retreat and suggests research directions in the next ten years. While significant progress has been made, more research is required to allow multimedia to impact our everyday computing environment. The importance of hardware changes on future research directions is discussed. We believe ubiquitous computing—meaning abundant computation and network bandwidth—should be applied in novel ways to solve multimedia grand challenges and continue the IT revolution of the past century.
2012
Publication Details
  • ACM Multimedia 2012
  • Oct 29, 2012

Abstract

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Faithful sharing of screen contents is an important collaboration feature. Prior systems were designed to operate over constrained networks. They performed poorly even without such bottlenecks. To build a high performance screen sharing system, we empirically analyzed screen contents for a variety of scenarios. We showed that screen updates were sporadic with long periods of inactivity. When active, screens were updated at far higher rates than was supported by earlier systems. The mismatch was pronounced for interactive scenarios. Even during active screen updates, the number of updated pixels were frequently small. We showed that crucial information can be lost if individual updates were merged. When the available system resources could not support high capture rates, we showed ways in which updates can be effectively collapsed. We showed that Zlib lossless compression performed poorly for screen updates. By analyzing the screen pixels, we developed a practical transformation that significantly improved compression rates. Our system captured 240 updates per second while only using 4.6 Mbps for interactive scenarios. Still, while playing movies in fullscreen mode, our approach could not achieve higher capture rates than prior systems; the CPU remains the bottleneck. A system that incorporates our findings is deployed within the lab.
Publication Details
  • ACM Multimedia '12
  • Oct 29, 2012

Abstract

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DisplayCast is a many to many screen sharing system that is targeted towards Intranet scenarios. The capture software runs on all computers whose screens need to be shared. It uses an application agnostic screen capture mechanism that creates a sequence of pixmap images of the screen updates. It transforms these pixmaps to vastly improve the lossless Zlib compression performance. These algorithms were developed after an extensive analysis of typical screen contents. DisplayCast shares the processor and network resources required for screen capture, compression and transmission with host applications whose output needs to be shared. It balances the need for high performance screen capture with reducing its resource interference with user applications. DisplayCast uses Zeroconf for naming and asynchronous location. It provides support for Cisco WiFi and Bluetooth based localization. It also includes a HTTP/REST based controller for remote session initiation and control. DisplayCast supports screen capture and playback in computers running Windows 7 and Mac OS X operating systems. Remote screens can be archived into a H.264 encoded movie on a Mac. They can also be played back in real time on Apple iPhones and iPads. The software is released under a New BSD license.

TalkMiner: A Lecture Video Search Engine

Publication Details
  • Fuji Xerox Technical Report, No. 21, 2012, pp. 118-128
  • Feb 3, 2012

Abstract

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The design and implementation of a search engine for lecture webcasts is described. A searchable text index is created allowing users to locate material within lecture videos found on a variety of websites such as YouTube and Berkeley webcasts. The searchable index is built from the text of presentation slides appearing in the video along with other associated metadata such as the title and abstract when available. The automatic identification of distinct slides within the video stream presents several challenges. For example, picture-in-picture compositing of a speaker and a presentation slide, switching cameras, and slide builds confuse basic algorithms for extracting keyframe slide images. Enhanced algorithms are described that improve slide identification. A public system was deployed to test the algorithms and the utility of the search engine at www.talkminer.com. To date, over 17,000 lecture videos have been indexed from a variety of public sources.
2010

TalkMiner: A Search Engine for Online Lecture Video

Publication Details
  • ACM Multimedia 2010 - Industrial Exhibits
  • Oct 25, 2010

Abstract

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TalkMiner is a search engine for lecture webcasts. Lecture videos are processed to recover a set of distinct slide images and OCR is used to generate a list of indexable terms from the slides. On our prototype system, users can search and browse lists of lectures, slides in a specific lecture, and play the lecture video. Over 10,000 lecture videos have been indexed from a variety of sources. A public website now allows users to experiment with the search engine.

TalkMiner: A Lecture Webcast Search Engine

Publication Details
  • ACM Multimedia 2010
  • Oct 25, 2010

Abstract

Close
The design and implementation of a search engine for lecture webcasts is described. A searchable text index is created allowing users to locate material within lecture videos found on a variety of websites such as YouTube and Berkeley webcasts. The index is created from words on the presentation slides appearing in the video along with any associated metadata such as the title and abstract when available. The video is analyzed to identify a set of distinct slide images, to which OCR and lexical processes are applied which in turn generate a list of indexable terms. Several problems were discovered when trying to identify distinct slides in the video stream. For example, picture-in-picture compositing of a speaker and a presentation slide, switching cameras, and slide builds confuse basic frame-differencing algorithms for extracting keyframe slide images. Algorithms are described that improve slide identification. A prototype system was built to test the algorithms and the utility of the search engine. Users can browse lists of lectures, slides in a specific lecture, or play the lecture video. Over 10,000 lecture videos have been indexed from a variety of sources. A public website will be published in mid 2010 that allows users to experiment with the search engine.