NSF funds Vanderbilt professor’s work on a peer-to-peer video streaming

A Vanderbilt professor’s research into a new approach to peer-to-peer multimedia streaming has gained funding from the National Science Foundation. A University press release says engineering school professor Yi Cui has received a NSF “Career Award” for his work to make “it possible for centralized multimedia streaming servers to route video and audio signals through a vast network of subscribers, all with varying capabilities in terms of connection speed and processing power.” According to Milt Capps, in an (paid-subscriptioin-required) article at NashvilllePost.com, Professor Cui’s grant could total $400,000 over five years.

According to the press release, “(Cui) intends for his system to allow entrepreneurial Internet streaming video services to succeed without huge investments of capital on hundreds of gigantic computer servers. His plan will involve the computers of the subscribers, themselves, who will share video streaming data with other subscribers through an automated system.” Says, Cui, “The NSF sponsorship will enable us to assess networked computers; ability to transmit multimedia data, based on the customary use of the computer, the inferred bandwidth available to the computers, and a variety of customer usage patterns,” Cui said. He will test his system through the Open Source Teaching service, using his system to deliver multimedia educational materials freely.

Sounds cool. But I’ll keep using BitTorrent (which is P2P, but not streaming) until he figures it out. And despite my being all for Vanderbilt professors getting government money for research, if I had an extra $400,000 sitting around, I think investing in these guys might provide a better ROI.

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