Name of the Project: COST264 – COST ACTION 264: Enabling Networked Multimedia Group Communication
Duration: 9/16/1998 – 9/15/2002

Objectives and benefits

The main objective of this action will be to provide a forum where researchers and industrials active in this area will participate. Complementary experimentations will be conducted to enable and understand multimedia group communications that will be available on various networks in the future. These activities will contribute to leverage European research in this domain as well as to the development of enhanced architectures at the International level.

Structure of work

The action will be divided into two complementary parts of similar importance, that together will enable the action to meet its goals :

  • Infrastructure and dissemination.
  • Research and experimentation.

The “infrastructure and dissemination” part aims at cooperation and coordination between research actors to improve the existing infrastructure to support group communication (principally the Mbone). The infrastructure activity is a pre-requisite to the scientific cooperation. It will allow experimentation with the applications and mechanisms developed by participants, as well as providing a way to support an effective dissemination of the work. This activity will :

  • Create a multicast group on the Mbone (named the “Costbone”) dedicated to this action and to the European networking research community.
  • Coordinate work to improve the infrastructure based on the participant’s contribution.
  • Define and support an homogeneous environment in the sites connected on the Costbone to fulfill the requirements for distributed experimentation.
  • Disseminate the action activity through euro-seminars and other forms (multiparty conferencing, telephony, Collaborative work, etc.).

The “research and experimentation” part is devoted to cooperation between participants in the areas of multicast, multipeer, group communication and relevant applications. This is an area of utmost and strategic importance for research and industry. Multimedia group communication will leverage industry competitivity and provide new tools for cooperative work. This activity will :

  • Bring together European teams already involved in the area of group communication to discuss research activities, identify key issues and potential solutions, and therefore benefit from cross-fertilization.
  • Invite people from industry to whom these technologies will be very important in the near future, to describe their needs and expectations.
  • Evaluate the work carried out in the different standardization or project bodies and provide feedback as users and researchers to the standardization groups (in particular to IETF).
  • Discuss solutions through meetings (including electronic meetings over the Costbone).
  • Experiment new multipeer transmission control algorithms and mechanisms designed by the action’s participants. Evaluate experimentally the proposed solutions on the available infrastructure (the Costbone).
  • Provide a framework for the exchange of research scientists and students in order to improve the level of collaboration between research groups.

Both activities are tightly coupled and converge to a technical report that describes the progress made in the area of group communication thanks to the action activity. This report will be published as a book or as a special issue of a technical journal.


Benefits, as described above, will be an understanding of the issues to enable group communication that appears as a challenging research area as well as an emerging market. It will organize the research community involved in these areas and disseminate the results outside the action participants (academic and industry). Finally, the action should have an influence on the standardization activities in this domain. Recommendations on how to use the results achieved in the action and solutions to enhance the Mbone will be provided.

According to the issues mentioned above, the action will deliver and emphasize on the following results :

  • manage and experiment distributed multimedia applications,
  • dissemination through Euro-seminars,
  • design new solutions (algorithms and mechanisms) for multipeer communication,
  • report action results to major standardization bodies,
  • deliver a final report published as a book or as a special issue of a technical journal,
  • identify solutions to enhance the Mbone infrastructure.


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