MINUTES OF PAVR INTERIM PROGRESS MEETINGS

Universitat de les Illes Balears, Palma de Mallorca, April 16, 1998

SUMMARY OF ACTIONS ARISING
 
PJW
- contact Siemens and pay them a visit as soon as possible;

- update PAVR homepage to reflect recent appointments;

- seek Commission's guidance on review meeting and exchange of PhD students;

- propose alternative dates/site for mid-term review meeting

BA/RC
arrange VRML tutorial
JWP
chase own contacts on J-DF's behalf to identify speech recognition candidates
RM & J-DF
liaise to obtain SoftImage developer package from Microsoft 
TM
Circulate minutes of Lausanne meeting
WP Coordinators 
- ensure that all PAVR participants know of all WP meetings;

- organize first WP technical meeting, if not already done

All
- advertise remaining posts on Commission's TMR vacancies web page;

- refer any suitable applicants to partners with vacancies

 

Present
 
University of Bath Phil Willis (chair), Max Froumentin, Frédéric Labrosse
University of Glasgow Jean-Christophe Nebel
Ecole des Mines, Nantes Gérard Hegron, Jean-Daniel Fekete 
EPFL, Lausanne Tom Molet, Amaury Aubel
University of Geneva Pascal Volino, Marc Escher
TU, Vienna Michael Gervautz, Francois Faure, Chris Faisstnauer
UJF, Grenoble Jean-Dominique Gascuel, Bernt Eberhardt
IRISA, Rennes Rémi Cozot
UIB, Mallorca Ramon Mas, Vicent Caselles, Bartomeu Coll, 
LUC, Diepenbeek Frank Van Reeth
 

Anna Beria was in attendance

 

1. Welcome, introductions, apologies and departure times.

The meeting was chaired by Phil Willis, who welcomed those present and thanked everybody for attending the meeting in such numbers despite the relative short lapse between the formal announcement and the meeting itself. He offered John Patterson's (Glasgow) and Josep Blat's (UIB) apologies. Departure times for the next day were noted. It was noted that the announced WP7 workshop, for the organization of which Siemens had been formally responsible, was unlikely to happen since they were not present and Josep Blat, who had kindly offered to organize it in their place, was unable to attend the meeting and had not had the time to delegate the task to his colleagues.

 

2. Minutes of previous meeting

The minutes of the Nantes meeting were adopted. The agenda of the meeting was also adopted.

 

3. Matters arising from minutes

The action list circulated with the last minutes was checked.

Phil Willis had written to Siemens as instructed by the Nantes meeting, and a written contribution had been received from them for inclusion in the annual report. However, it had not yet been possible to agree on a mutually convenient time for a visit. The meeting expressed serious concern at Siemens's failure to participate in the project and noted that since the mid-term review was due in six months' time, their contribution could, once again, only be nominal. The chair pointed out that even if Siemens failed to appoint their own researchers under the project, they could still benefit from allowing young researchers from the other sites to visit and work for them. The chair proposed that he make renewed efforts to agree on a suitable date for a visit and the proposal was carried unanimously.

Action: PJW [Phil visited Munich on 11 May]

Bruno Arnaldi [VRML tutorial for Palma] was not present at the meeting and Rémi Cozot, who was now in charge of the project's technical side, had not been aware of BA's offer.

Action: BA/RC

John Patterson [contacts for potential candidates for École des Mines] was not present at the meeting, but Jean-Daniel Fekete confirmed that he had not received any recommendations.

Action: JWP

Ramon Mas reported that no answer had been received from Microsoft regarding the SoftImage standard developer package. Jean-Daniel Fekete again offered to help.

Action: RM & J-DF

WP Coordinators:

WP2 - Capture technologies: Tom Molet reported that some researchers had met in Lausanne on 19-20 March, but only two sites (out of the five involved, viz: Bath, Glasgow, UIB, EPFL and LUC) had been represented. Minutes had not yet been circulated. He proposed organizing a motion capture demonstration either with the WP members or with any interested sites, if it proved easier. The chair invited all those interested to take part in WP meetings, even if their site was not formally involved.

Action: TM to circulate minutes. WP chairs to ensure all PAVR participants know of such meetings

WP3 - Immersive interaction: Jean-Daniel Fekete reported that a meeting could not be organized since no young researchers had yet been appointed and asked for any expressions of interest in immersive interaction from the participants.

WP4 - Facial interaction: No meetings had been held or were planned for this WP, coordinated by Siemens. Four deliverables were at stake, three of which relied heavily on Siemens' contribution, and in view of Siemens' apparent reluctance to get involved, it might be necessary to appoint a new WP coordinator. Marc Escher (University of Geneva) agreed to take over as WP4 coordinator (with PJW's support), if Siemens could not be persuaded to take on a more active role.

WP5 - Dynamic simulation: Jean-Dominique Gascuel reported that a number of researchers had met in Grenoble in March. Minutes had been circulated to WP5 mailing list. The chair proposed that each Working Group maintain their own mailing list, but that all individual email addresses be made available to all.

WP6 - Networks: Frank Van Reeth reported that no meetings had taken place.

WP7 - Workshop organization: This had to be postponed due to Siemens' lack of response in the first instance and, more recently, to Josep Blat's unavoidable absence from Palma at the time of the meeting.

WP8 - Keyframing: In John Patterson's absence, no report was received. Jean-Christophe Nebel was asked to remind JP of the need to organize an initial technical meeting.

 

The administrative assistant confirmed that she had completed the tasks entrusted to her at the previous meeting.

 

4. Review of appointments

Some new appointments had been made, but a number of posts remained to be filled, namely at LUC, EMN, INRIA Rennes, Glasgow, UIB and, presumably, Siemens (see table below). The chair urged all sites with research posts to fill to advertise on the Commission's TMR vacancies web page asap.

Jean-Daniel Fekete suggested preparing a recruitment leaflet to circulate at forthcoming conferences. It was noted, however, that recruiting costs (such as advertising) could not be charged to PAVR.

Action: PJW to update PAVR homepage to take into account recent appointments.

The chair asked the participants whether any sites anticipated problems in using up their full person-months allocation. Frank Van Reeth (LUC) stated that LUC's allocated 2-1/2 years could only be used if a suitable candidate was found immediately.

 
 
SUMMARY OF RESEARCH APPOINTMENTS
LOCATION
Post-doctoral posts
PhD posts
University of Bath, UK
Max Froumentin [FR]
Frédéric Labrosse [FR]
-
University of Glasgow, UK
Jean-Christoph Nebel [FR]
vacant
Siemens, Munich, DE
vacant
vacant
EMN , Nantes, FR
-
vacant
EPFL, Lausanne, CH
-
Tom Molet [FR]
Amaury Aubel [FR]
University of Geneva, CH
-
Pascal Volino [FR]
Marc Escher [FR]
TU Vienna, AT
François Faure [FR]
Chris Faisstnauer [IT]
UJF, Grenoble, FR
Bernd Eberhardt [DE]
-
INRIA/IRISA, Rennes, FR
vacant
vacant
UIB, Mallorca, ES
vacant
vacant
LUC, Limburg, BE
vacant
-
 

5. Review of progress

The chair reported that the project's first annual report had been sent to the Commission and comments had been received from Christiane Bernard, the DGXII official responsible for monitoring PAVR. Her letter had been circulated to all members. Some concern was expressed that the Commission's decision to withhold the second tranche of the funds might result in financial difficulties for those sites which had been able to fill their vacancies.

The chair pointed out that (a) the Commission's decision was fully in line with contractual constraints; (b) it was not irreversible and funds might be released later if the recruiting gained momentum; (c) the first payment received by all sites represented 40% of their total allocation and it seemed unlikely that any site would find itself unable to cover likely expenditure, even in the absence of a second payment this year. If this happened, however, it might be possible to obtain the release of the funds on a site-by-site basis. What could not be done was to transfer unspent funds from one site to another.

The chair stressed that it was essential to show evidence of progress for the mid-term review, in six months' time, at which the Commission would be represented. He would seek advice from the Commission on the conduct of the review meeting. If the level of activity was not deemed to be satisfactory, the project could be stopped or the budget reduced. However, the chair could see no immediate reason for concern, since some WPs were up and running, deliverables were starting to materialize and expenditure on staff and travel was on the increase. The next six months should see a number of researchers visiting other sites, where relevant work was in progress. Such exchanges could already be agreed upon at the meeting.

[It was later agreed that Grenoble and Vienna would exchange post-docs to work on WP5. LUC and Bath would also exchange researchers, once LUC succeeded in appointing a candidate. PJW could visit LUC for a week to work on WP6. Chris Faisstnauer expressed an interest in visiting LUC. The partipants agreed that other exchanges would be arranged when further recruitments had been made. It was not clear whether PhD students working on related topics, but not officially employed by the project, could be exchanged. The chair would check. On the subject of exchanges taking place across WPs (eg: capture technology and immersive interaction), the chair could see no reason why this should not be possible, and recommended coordinators to liaise directly.

Action: PJW to seek Commission's advice on review meeting and exchange of PhD students.

Frank Van Reeth asked who would be responsible for paying visiting researchers. The chair replied that it would be the original employer and no costs would have to be met by the receiving institution. Michael Gervautz observed that in that case it might be preferable to send researchers to the two Swiss partners, rather than encouraging their researchers to visit other sites. The chair agreed, and confirmed that "mobility" was intended for young researchers, not established staff.

Jean-Daniel Fekete wondered how other TMR projects tackled the problem of recruiting suitable candidates. The chair reported that recruitment was acknowledged to be the main problem for all such projects, and that French sites were obviously at a disadvantage since they could not recruit French candidates, which seemed to be particularly willing to relocate abroad and were of the right calibre.

 

6. Working Group reports (Technical meetings)

This item was covered under point 3 - Matters arising from the minutes.

 

7. Date of next meeting

An exact date for the mid-term review meeting in Glasgow could not be agreed. August was not a popular choice, since a number of participants had holiday plans or other constraints. It was agreed that the chair would contact John Patterson to discuss alternative dates.

Action: PJW. [Phil subsequently established that, under TMR rules, travel to other sites within the same country was not chargeable to the project. As a result, TU-Vienna was approached and asked to act as host for the mid-term review]

The forthcoming Eurographics conference to be held in Lisbon at the end of August was discussed. PAVR funds could be used to fund travel expenses to the event (not the conference fee) if WPs members could agree to hold technical meetings there at the same time. Interested participants were urged to book hotels immediately through the conference organizers, as accommodation was likely to be scarce. Flights might also be a problem if left until later.

8. Any other business

None.

 

The formal meeting closed at 10.45. Informal discussion and demonstrations followed.