Nominee 2012

Brillante Videos

Brilliant Videos Everywhere – efficient Encoding with International Standards

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Wiegand (Spokesperson)
Dr.-Ing. Detlev Marpe
Dr.-Ing. Heiko Schwarz
Fraunhofer Institut für Nachrichtentechnik -
Heinrich Hertz Institut HHI, Berlin
Technische Universität, Berlin

(f.l.t.r.) Dr.-Ing. Detlev Marpe, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Wiegand, Dr.-Ing. Heiko Schwarz

Video is becoming more and more important. What TV pictures were in days past are videos today on the Internet, video conferences, or three-dimensional and high-resolution digital TV signals. How can videos be trimmed down so that they are easy to handle and can be played everywhere?

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Wiegand, Dr.-Ing. Detlev Marpe and Dr.-Ing. Heiko Schwarz know the answer: the key is in a sophisticated compression of videos and international standardization of the data formats. The three scientists have made decisive contributions to both applications – and thus laid the foundation for the triumphant progress of the moving pictures worldwide. Thomas Wiegand is a professor at the Technical University (TU) Berlin and heads the image signal processing department at the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications – Heinrich-Hertz-Institute (HHI). Detlev Marpe is a researcher at HHI and a part-time lecturer at TU Berlin as well as at the Berlin University of Applied Sciences for Engineering and Economy. Heiko Schwarz together with Detlev Marpe heads the image and video coding group at HHI.

A sizeable amount of the data traffic on the Internet in the meantime is films and video clips. It is hard to imagine life without the evening movie that is downloaded “on demand” from an online video store, or the short home movie filmed with a camcorder that is put online to entertain friends. The volume of bits and bytes that is transported in the form of moving images continues to grow. The portion of video signals of the Internet traffic has grown to more than 50 percent. In the meantime, more than 10 to the power of 19 bytes are transmitted via the web every month – this is equivalent to the content of over 2 billion DVDs. The trend to high-resolution films in HD format and 3-D videos as well as streaming, for example, of sports broadcasts on laptops or smart phones is causing the flood of data to swell further. Moreover, the data-intensive applications of video-supported communication from the video chat to HD video systems in telemedicine are becoming ever more popular.

To keep transmission and storage requirements for films and videos on a small scale and to make transmission of data efficient, data must be intelligently coded.

The foundation for this is laid by the so-called H.264/AVC video coding standard as well as its various extensions. Thomas Wiegand, Detlev Marpe and Heiko Schwarz were decisively involved in their development. The standard compresses the data in accordance with a certain algorithm in such a way that its amount is greatly reduced, but the quality of the moving images does not noticeably change.

The standard and its extensions created over the past ten years are used today worldwide in over one billion devices – including Blu-ray players, HD and 3-D TVs, Internet TV stations and video conferencing or security technology systems. A large amount of bits on the Internet is compliant to the format of the efficient technology – a success that was made possible also thanks to the innovations of the nominated scientists. That the developed methods from Berlin would be accepted worldwide and become a significant part of the standard is an excellent example of the enormous innovative power in Germany.

The right to nominate outstanding achievements for the Deutscher Zukunftspreis is incumbent upon leading German institutions in science and industry as well as foundations.

The project “Brilliant Videos Everywhere – Efficient Encoding with International Standards” was nominated by the Fraunhofer Society.

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Resumes

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Wiegand

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Wiegand

06.05.1970
Geboren in Wismar/Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
1976 – 1986
Schule in Wismar
1986 – 1988
Lehre zum Elektromonteur
1988 – 1989
Hochschulreife an der Technischen Hochschule Wismar
1989 – 1991
Studium der Elektrotechnik an der Technischen Hochschule Wismar, Vordiplom
1991 – 1995
Studium der Elektrotechnik an der Technischen Universität Hamburg-Harburg
Diplomarbeit „Entzerrung und Synchronisation von MDFT-Transmultiplexer-Filterbänken“
1993 - 1994
Studienarbeit an der Universität in Kobe in Japan
1995
Forschungsaufenthalt an der Universität Kalifornien in Santa Barbara, USA. Beginn mit den Arbeiten zur Videocodierung
1995 – 2000
Promotionsstelle an der Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
1997 – 1998
Forschungsaufenthalt an der Universität Stanford, Stanford, CA, USA
2000
Promotion zum Thema „Bewegungskompensierte Prädiktion mit mehreren Referenzbildern zur Videoübertragung“
2000 – 2008
Leiter der Gruppe Bildkommunikation am Fraunhofer-Institut für Nachrichtentechnik – Heinrich-Hertz-Institut, Berlin
seit 2008
Professur (W3) für Bildkommunikation an der Fakultät für Elektrotechnik und Informatik der Technischen Universität Berlin
seit 2008
Leiter der Abteilung Bildverarbeitung am Fraunhofer-Institut für Nachrichtentechnik – Heinrich-Hertz-Institut, Berlin
2011 – 2012
Gastprofessor an der Universität Stanford, Stanford, CA, USA

Weitere Tätigkeiten:

seit 2000
Associate Rapporteur für die Visual Coding Experts Group der ITU-T SG 16. Zuständig für die Standards H.26x und T.80/.800 (ITU-T-Teil von JPEG)
seit 2001
Editor des H.264/AVC-Standards
2003 – 2009
Co-Editor der Videospezifikation in DVB TS 101 154 und TS 102 005
2005 – 2009
Mitglied des Leitungsteams von MPEG Video (ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29/WG 11)
seit 2006
Berater für die Firma Vidyo, Inc. in Hackensack, NJ, USA

Ehrungen:

1998
SPIE VCIP Best Student Paper Award
2004
Preis der ITG
2004
Joseph-von-Fraunhofer-Preis
2009
Group Technical Achievement Award der EURASIP (Europäische Vereinigung für Signalverarbeitung)
2009
Best Paper Award der IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems for Video Technology
2009
Innovationspreis der Vodafone-Stiftung für Forschung in der Mobilkommunikation
2010
Technologiepreis der Eduard-Rhein-Stiftung
2011
Fellow der IEEE
2011
Best Paper Award der EURASIP
2011
Karl-Heinz-Beckurts-Preis
2012
IEEE Masaru Ibuka Technical Field Award

Dr.-Ing. Detlev Marpe

Dr.-Ing. Detlev Marpe

30.8.1958
Geboren in Kirchen/Sieg
1977
Abitur am Freiherr-vom-Stein-Gymnasium Betzdorf-Kirchen
1977 – 1979
Studium der Mathematik und Physik an der Technischen Universität Berlin, Vordiplom
1980 – 1983
Studium der Mathematik und Physik an der Rheinisch-Westfälischen Technischen Hochschule Aachen und an der Rheinischen Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
1984 – 1987
Systemanalytiker und –programmierer, Mathware-Verlag, Berlin
1987– 1989
Studium der Mathematischen Physik an der Technischen Universität Berlin
1990
Diplom in Mathematik (mit Auszeichnung), Thema: „Existenz und Invarianzeigenschaften modifizierter Wellenoperatoren“
1990 – 1994
Promotionsstipendiat bzw. Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter, Institut für Mathematik, Technische Universität Berlin
1994 – 1998
Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter, Telekom Fachhochschule Berlin bzw. Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin
1998
Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter, Charité, Berlin
1998 – 2001
Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter, Institut für Nachrichtentechnik, Technische Universität Berlin und Heinrich-Hertz-Institut, Berlin
2001– 2010
Projektleiter, Fraunhofer-Institut für Nachrichtentechnik – Heinrich-Hertz-Institut, Abteilung Image Processing
2004
Promotion zum Thema „Adaptive Context-Based and Tree-Based Algorithms for Image Coding and Denoising“
Seit 2006
Lehraufträge an der Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin und an der Technischen Universität Berlin und Gastvorlesung am Karlsruhe Institut für Technologie
Seit 2010
Leiter der Forschungsgruppe „Image and Video Coding“ am Fraunhofer Institut für Nachrichtentechnik – Heinrich-Hertz-Institut, Berlin

Weitere Tätigkeiten:

Seit 2001
Mitbegründer und Gesellschafter der daviko GmbH, Berlin
2001 – 2007
Chair bzw. Co-Chair verschiedener Ad-hoc-Gruppen in der H.264/AVC-Standardisierung
2004 – 2005
Koordinator der Referenzsoftware für H.264/AVC Fidelity Range Extensions (FRExt)
2004 – 2005
Co-Editor des H.264/AVC-Standards bzw. des FRExt-Amendments von H.264/AVC
Seit 2004
Mitglied im Verband der Elektrotechnik und Elektronik (VDE)
Seit 2008
Senior Member Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)

Ehrungen:

2002
Erster Preis im Gründerwettbewerb Multimedia
2004
Preis der Informationstechnischen Gesellschaft (ITG) im VDE
2004
Joseph-von-Fraunhofer-Preis
2009
Best Paper Award der IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems for Video Technology
2011
Karl-Heinz-Beckurts-Preis

Dr.-Ing. Heiko Schwarz

Dr.-Ing. Heiko Schwarz

03.10.1971
Geboren in Dohna, Sachsen
1978 – 1986
Polytechnische Oberschule „Heinrich Heine“ in Karlshagen
1986 – 1990
Spezialschule math.-nat.-tech. Richtung in Rostock
1990
Erlangung der allgemeinen Hochschulreife
1990 – 1991
Grundwehrdienst in Peenemünde
1991 – 1996
Studium der Elektrotechnik an der Universität Rostock
1995 – 1996
Auslandspraktikum an der University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. Erste Arbeiten zur Videocodierung.
1996
Abschluss als Diplom-Ingenieur
1996 – 1999
Promotionsstipendiat an der Universität Rostock
seit 1999
Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter am Fraunhofer-Institut für Nachrichtentechnik – Heinrich-Hertz-Institut, Berlin
2000
Promotion „Untersuchungen zur objektbasierten Video-Codierung mit einer 3-D-Wavelet-Transformation“ an der Universität Rostock
seit 2010
Leiter der Gruppen „Image and Video Coding“ am Fraunhofer-Institut für Nachrichtentechnik – Heinrich-Hertz-Institut, Abteilung Image Processing

Weitere Tätigkeiten:

seit 2006
Koordinator der Referenzsoftware für H.264/SVC
seit 2007
Co-Editor des H.264-Standards
2008-2009
Co-Editor der Videospezifikation in DVB TS 101 154 und TS 102 005

Ehrungen:

2004
Preis der Informationstechnischen Gesellschaft im VDE
2004
Joseph-von-Fraunhofer-Preis
2009
Best Paper Award der IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems for Video Technology
2011
Karl-Heinz-Beckurts-Preis

Contact

Spokesperson

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Wiegand
Abteilungsleiter Image Processing
Fraunhofer Institut für Nachrichtentechnik - Heinrich Hertz Institut HHI
Leiter des Fachgebiets Bildkommunikation, TU Berlin
Einsteinufer 37
10587 Berlin
Tel.: +49 (0) 30 / 31 00 26 17
E-Mail: thomas.wiegand@hhi.fraunhofer.de

Press

Dr. Gudrun Quandel
Corporate Communications
Fraunhofer Institut für Nachrichtentechnik - Heinrich Hertz Institut HHI
Einsteinufer 37
10587 Berlin
Tel.: +49 (0) 30 / 31 00 24 00
Mobil: +49 (0) 171 / 19 95 334
E-Mail: gudrun.quandel@hhi.fraunhofer.de

A description provided by the institutes and companies regarding their nominated projects

A picture may paint a thousand words but moving pictures speak volumes. It’s certainly true that we are now living through a watershed period in terms of the ways and the speed with which we communicate with one another across the world, flash news around the globe and consume what entertains and moves us. For example, the protest movements across the Arab world have shown how video on mobile phones or the Internet can influence the world.

One immediate technological effect of this change is that the ratio of video signals in overall Internet data traffic has increased to clearly more than 50 percent. A foundation for this video revolution has been laid by scientific technological innovations in video coding without which efficient transmission of digital video signals would not be possible.

Practically all applications of digital video – including the traditional fields of film and television – need efficient and thus resource-sparing transmission of video signals. Yet this is only viable with substantial compression of the raw data. The raw data throughput rate of a high definition television signal (HDTV), for instance, is around 600 megabit/sec while typical transmission capacity offers a bit rate of 5-10 megabit/sec.

The prime goal of video coding is to achieve the best possible picture quality at any given bit rate. For that algorithms are employed that are based on mathematical methods whose origins lie in information theory. As these algorithms are run on digital computers or special hardware, they must also fulfill the complexity requirements for implementation on the hardware deployed.

This makes video coding a key technology in our information age. Indeed, exponential growth in the volume and resolution of video signals has led to an ever more pressing need for efficient compression methods.

International Standards
Video transmission requires that the receiver must understand the format generated on the sender side. A secure and reliable basis for investment and ubiquitous use of video coding has been established by specifying video formats and decoding algorithms through international standards. In the development of a coding standard, all technical proposals submitted are subject to rigorous evaluation of their coding efficiency and complexity. This gives the baseline on which the experts involved decide whether or not a technology will be included in the standard, and which ensures that all the technologies accepted in the standard have been strenuously verified for quality. In submitting their proposals for standardization, stakeholders also make a binding agreement that technologies accepted in the standard will be licensed at reasonable and non-discriminatory terms.

H.264/AVC together with its extensions is currently the most efficient and most widely used format for video coding; the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) have both ratified it as a world standard. The standard is suitable for all known types of resolution, quality and bit rates. Its areas of application include mobile phones, HDTV, video conferencing, 3DTV, Blu-Ray disc as well as services like video on demand, IPTV, or video-based security and medical technology.

A large amount of bits on the Internet is now encoded in H.264/AVC while more than 1 billion end devices throughout the world now feature the standard. One of the main reasons for such broad acceptance is that H.264/AVC enables much more efficient transmission of video signals than was ever previously possible and this, in turn, has opened up the way to a totally new dimension of products and applications. Users too benefit from the high efficiency H.264/AVC offers. Without H.264/AVC many areas of HDTV would not be possible or simply uneconomical – a fact from which TV channels and IPTV, satellite and cable TV companies can draw major benefits. Moreover, the standard has found its way into telemedicine, e-learning and video security systems. At the same time the scalable coding in H.264/AVC has driven the great advances made in video conferencing over the Internet and mobile networks – and this is not just economically advantageous but also brings positive environmental effects too.

From Basic Research to Industrial Applications
The scientific and technical work of Prof. Wiegand, Dr. Marpe and Dr. Schwarz has made a decisive contribution to progress in the field of video coding and the development and establishment of H.264/AVC and its extensions as the international standard for video coding.

One of the key methods in video coding involves the use of decoded pictures to make predictions about the current frame for coding. For instance, image content that does not change can be simply copied. If a motion is carried from frame to frame this can be compensated so that only the non-predictable part remains to be transmitted. Prof. Wiegand and the team have investigated means of raising the efficiency of such motion-compensated prediction providing the possibility of exploiting statistical long-term dependencies. Put simply, this means that if image content cannot be predicted from the previous frame then perhaps it can be from a frame decoded earlier than that.

Apart from prediction of image content, entropy coding is another crucial instrument for efficient video compression. Entropy coding involves representing of frequently occurring data with fewer bits than infrequently occurring data so that the average number of bits is reduced. Dr. Marpe and the team successfully investigated an adaptive arithmetic entropy coding technique and brought it to the standardization process. This technique can be adapted to the data and enables use of a higher order of statistical bindings. With these two advances and their proposal for Lagrangian coder control and numerous other contributions, the team has succeeded in significantly improving the coding efficiency of H.264/AVC.

Furthermore, the team supplied the reference model for all three extensions to the H.264/AVC standard. In the first extension of H.264/AVC the team introduced coding methods for enhanced efficiency in coding of HD video signals, partly drawing on the work of the group of Prof. Jens-Rainer Ohm (RWTH Aachen). The High Profile of H.264/AVC their work gave birth to is now the format for most of the world’s HDTV channels and thus also features in all associated HDTV end devices. What’s more, High Profile is increasingly being used on smart phones and camcorders.

The work of Dr. Schwarz and the team has also had a marked influence on the field of scalable video coding which covers efficient transmission of a signal with multiple resolutions or quality levels in a single bitstream. The scalable extension of H.264/AVC enables HD video conferencing over the Internet on laptops and tablet PCs. The scalable video coding developed by the team became the reference model for the scalable extension of H.264/AVC. This involved the researching of several new algorithms and their further development for use in products.

Finally, the team’s proposal for the extension of H.264/AVC towards efficient coding of 3D video signals was also accepted as the reference model. Stereoscopic video enables rendering of 3D video on flat screens with the aid of 3D glasses. It involves transmission of two separate video signals showing different views of the same scene to create the 3D effect. This technology now features in all Blu-ray disc players with 3D capability.

In short we may say that these innovations in video coding and their implementation as standardization proposals have made a decisive contribution to provide brilliant video everywhere. Video signals can be transmitted at much higher efficiency than was previously possible and this has opened up the way to a completely new dimension of applications. And if H.264/AVC can be found in a huge range of applications, this is also with the help of the pioneering work of the team. Moreover, the team did also supply the reference models for all three extensions of H.264/AVC. At the same time Prof. Wiegand as a chair of the standardization committee together with Dr. Marpe and Dr. Schwarz as chairs of sub groups in the standardization process and as editors of the standardization text itself have played crucial roles in supporting the international standardization process. With their proposals for application standardization (DVB, 3GPP and IETF) and in their numerous collaborations with industry, the team has made an important contribution to the implementation of the H.264/AVC standard.

Profile: Fraunhofer HHI
The Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications - Heinrich Hertz Institute is a world leader in the research and development of mobile and fixed broadband communication networks and multimedia systems. Together with its strong network of national and international partners from research and industry the areas that are being worked on include photonic components and networks, wireless transmission, video processing, coding and transmission, 3D displays, as well as man-machine interaction through control by gesture.

Profile: TU Berlin
The internationally renowned Technische Universität Berlin is located in Germany's capital city at the heart of Europe. Our activities focus on building a distinctive profile for our university, ensuring exceptional performance in research and teaching, providing our graduates with excellent qualifications, in addition to a forward-looking approach to efficient university governance. Our research and teaching endeavors are characterized by a broad spectrum of academic disciplines. The TU Berlin is one of the top addresses for the research field electrical engineering and computer science in Germany in which the institution has gained a high international reputation.

The right to nominate outstanding achievements for the Deutscher Zukunftspreis is incumbent upon leading German institutions in science and industry as well as foundations

The project “Brilliant Videos Everywhere – Efficient Encoding with International Standards” was nominated by the Fraunhofer Society.