Date of Award

Spring 2000

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Computer Science

Committee Director

Hussein Abdel-Wahab

Committee Member

James Leathrum

Committee Member

Kurt Maly

Committee Member

C. Michael Overstreet

Committee Member

Christian Wild


The Internet growth and the performance increase of desktop computers have enabled large-scale distributed multimedia applications. They are expected to grow in demand and services and their traffic volume will dominate. Real-time delivery, scalability, heterogeneity are some requirements of these applications that have motivated a revision of the traditional Internet services, the operating systems structures, and the software systems for supporting application development. This work proposes a Java-based lightweight middleware for the development of large-scale multimedia applications. The middleware offers four services for multimedia applications. First, it provides two scalable lightweight protocols for floor control. One follows a centralized model that easily integrates with centralized resources such as a shared too], and the other is a distributed protocol targeted to distributed resources such as audio. Scalability is achieved by periodically multicasting a heartbeat that conveys state information used by clients to request the resource via temporary TCP connections. Second, it supports intra- and inter-stream synchronization algorithms and policies. We introduce the concept of virtual observer, which perceives the session as being in the same room with a sender. We avoid the need for globally synchronized clocks by introducing the concept of user's multimedia presence, which defines a new manner for combining streams coming from multiple sites. It includes a novel algorithm for estimation and removal of clock skew. In addition, it supports event-driven asynchronous message reception, quality of service measures, and traffic rate control. Finally, the middleware provides support for data sharing via a resilient and scalable protocol for transmission of images that can dynamically change in content and size. The effectiveness of the middleware components is shown with the implementation of Odust, a prototypical sharing tool application built on top of the middleware.


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