MINUTES OF PAVR INAUGURAL MEETING
Conference Centre, University of Bath, Bath, UK December 6th 1996

Present
University of Bath Phil Willis (chair)
University of Glasgow John Patterson
Ecole des Mines, Nantes Jean-Daniel Fekete, Gerard Hegron
UJF, Grenoble Jean-Dominique Gascuel, Agata Opalach
LUC, Diepenbeek Frank van Reeth
IRISA/INSA Rennes Bruno Arnaldi
Christoph Maggioni Siemens, Munich

  1. Apologies for absence
    Apologies for absence were received from the sites not represented.

  2. Departure arrangements
    Constraints on departure times were noted, for scheduling the end of the meeting.

  3. State of play: contracts, payments
    The chair reported that all contracts had been signed and that the project had officially started on November 1st. He had just heard on the day of the meeting that the first tranche of money had arrived at Bath. This would be distributed rapidly to all partners. The formula is that 30% of the money appears in the first payment; most of the remainder is paid in equal annual instalments. The final payment is not made until the EC has a full set of reports. The effect of this formula is that each site will always have more money than it immediately needs, but less so as the project proceeds. The precise formula is:
    Percentage When (end of year)
    30 Up front
    15 1
    15 2
    15 3
    10 4
    It is important that all participants spend their budgets, more so than with other grants. The reason is that the overhead is a small percentage, so there will be a shortfall in overheads if the main money is not spent.

    [NOTE: this first payment should be with you by now. PJW Jan 21st 1997]

  4. Outline plan for subsequent meetings
    A tentative schedule of meetings and reports was tabled. This would be emailed to all partners. [Done: PJW Jan 21st 1997]

    The next meeting will be an overnight Technical Meeting, to be held some time in February. Frank Van Reeth volunteered to host this [The dates of February 18/19th were later settled]

    The next progress meeting is to be timed to be adjacent to Computer Animation 97, in Geneva. Daniel Thalmann had indicated that he and Nadia would host this [Nadia later confirmed MiraLab as the venue, June 4th 1997]

    Please consider hosting the October 1997 meeting.

  5. Reporting
    The commission has had complaints about constant changes in formats of reports. The changes for the next report will be definitive, and formats will not change thereafter during the reporting period. The Initial Database report has already been returned by PJW. A Web page is now available:
       http://www.bath.ac.uk/Centres/MEDIA/PROJECTS/PAVR/pavr.html
    
    The mid-term review (after 2 years) is severe, but in theory Commission can stop project after any review if progress is inadequate or not proprely reported etc.

  6. Posts: recruitment issues, advertising etc
    Recruitment for post-doctoral workder is typically rather difficult. For TMR, the appointee must be 35 or less at time of appointment (there is an extension if time has been spent in military service or looking after young children). We can use news groups or web advertising, and should also include North America where there may be applicants looking for the chance to return to Europe. If you know of someone who you cannot employ, please be sure to tell your partners. PJW will set up mailing list which will reach all partners [Done: pavr@bath.ac.uk]

  7. Posts: mobility issues within PAVR
    We can move appointed people around to other PAVR sites. This may well be the most efficient way to advance the technical programme. A subsistence allowance can be paid for longer stays (2 months or more) and these are in any case taken as a measure of the success of the `mobility' aspect of the TMR programme. You are encouraged to invetigate these. In some cases it may be possible to do this with PhD students too: some institutions have arrangements which allow PhD students to spend time away from awarding institution.

  8. Finance issues
    Payments cover employment up to a period determined by the money available. (Normally post-doctoral (`researcher`): not more than 40% of salary funding may be spent on PhD studentships). Any doubt about what you are spending must be checked with the coordinator because the commission can refuse payment on specific items. The effect of this is that non-allowed items will have to be paid for by your own institution. If in doubt, ask.

    Please let coordinator know about all appointments as these are crucial to ensuring a satisfactory expenditure pattern: the overhead is calculated on the whole project, not on individual institutions - if one partner does not meet targets then this drags everyone else's overheads down.

    The travel and subsistence element pays for accommodation and travel of people moving around. Conference fees are chargeable provided the conference is relevant to topic of network. You can charge costs of joint publications between PAVR partners. Travel costs for meetings are chargebale, as are secondary costs if the time away is more than one week.

    Two thirds of the money must be spent on networking costs; 50% or more on personnel (needs to go on individual researchers).

    One way of getting more effective use of the budget is to use the partners to spin off ESPRIT projects, so getting better leverage for the technical programme.

  9. Technical programme
    A full meeting will be held in February. Each partner around the table summarized their respective interests, as a scene-setter for that meeting. See Appendix. We are working towards a final demonstration system, so should have proposals for February meeting circulated in advance.
    § ALL

  10. Any other business
    There were no substantial items.
    APPENDIX: PAVR INTERESTS

    Munich (Siemens): 600 Scientists. HCI. Novel input devices. Eye-based HCI, head/hand movement recognition. 'Fishtank VR'. System for hand-gesture recognition. Control application using hand gestures recognisde in real time. Good at image processing: don't know about 3-D rendering. technology to be used in public information terminals (develop better interaction and means for 3-D navigation)

    Grenoble: implicit surfaces - computer animation of deformable and rigid objects - precise modelling of collisions - deformation at constant volume character animation; PAVR: deformation in human modelling and animation collision processing - interaction implicit model/parametric model virtual sculpture/clay modelling.

    Nantes: (i) Physically-based objects - CHARM (with Thalmanns) - motion control of skeleton based on ESM models - interface to control behaviour of the arm - neural networks to get control by learning - multimodal user interaction. PAVR: motion control and user interfaces (guide automaton agents to deal with unpredictable events) (ii) natural/multimodal inteactions - used to work in2-d animation (Tic-Tac-Toon): apply multimodal techniques in 3-d animation (voice, keyboard, etc) - want to sketch - not 'technical'. Integration ofnatural language interface.

    IRISA: Simulation of rigid anddeformable objects and interactions between models - motion control - robot modelling; modelling robot environments. Simulation platform with distributed simulation possibilities.

    EDM (Limburg): Research centre at Limburg (new building). Need to be self-sustaining (work for 3rd parties - could be anyone). PAVR - Visnet (broadband comms project with ATM - 3-D virtual representation). VISTA - interactive studio, Just started. ERASTA - multimedia support network: 3D to do 2D. GAVR - basic research - using virtual reality.

    Glasgow: 2-D animation (with Bath): ANIMAX, and shortly Warp Factory (animation from photographs using contours - 'image morphology'). Procedural animation, 'Shape from X' technology (with Turing Institute). Use of evolutionary methods to find poses and animations (can be made to work relatively easily in some interesting cases, but with greater difficulty in others).

    Bath: Animation, especially 2D; rendering especially 2D and illustrative (i.e. non-realistic); face and body animation, especially emotional aspects; multimedia systems and their design; virtual reality in engineering applications.

    Balears: In the CHARM project we have been working for integration of image analysis and synthesis and we are evolving from image to film analysis (aiming at synthesis). On the other hand we intend to continue current work on animation control of articulated bodies. We intend to follow those lines of research and are very eager to exchange with other network participants results and problems to tackle.