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ConferenceXP Update. Fred Videon & Andrew Whitaker University of Washington. I’m ConferenceXP. I’m Access Grid. Talk Outline. ConferenceXP Background and Current Release Upcoming Release: ConferenceXP 5.0 ConferenceXP Deployments of Interest Questions/Discussion.

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Conferencexp update

ConferenceXP Update

Fred Videon & Andrew Whitaker

University of Washington

Conferencexp update

I’m ConferenceXP

I’m Access Grid

Talk outline
Talk Outline

  • ConferenceXP Background and Current Release

  • Upcoming Release: ConferenceXP 5.0

  • ConferenceXP Deployments of Interest

  • Questions/Discussion

Center for collaborative technologies
Center for Collaborative Technologies

  • Microsoft funded center

  • Mandate:

    • Investigate education and other collaborative scenarios

    • Extend and maintain the ConferenceXP platform

    • Build the community of users and developers



  • Platform for Real-time collaboration

  • High-quality multipoint conferencing

  • Full-screen, real-time video at 30 fps

  • Built-in presentation capability, whiteboard & screen sharing

A brief history of conferencexp
A Brief History of ConferenceXP

  • Project began at MSR in 2001 as DISC

  • Successful UW deployment for distance learning, ongoing since Spring 2003

  • 4-way distance learning deployments Autumn 2004, 2005 & 2006

  • July 2007: UW Center for Collaborative Technologies founded to continue CXP development & support

Conferencexp services
ConferenceXP Services

  • Venue Service

    • Provide virtual meeting spaces

    • Simple web service

  • Archive Service

    • Conference archive & playback

  • Reflector Service

    • Unicast tunnel

    • Multicast support is not great in many areas

Conferencexp is a shared source platform
ConferenceXP is a Shared Source Platform

  • Provides a great platform for research in collaborative environments

    • APIs designed for extensibility

    • .Net Framework shortens development cycle

    • Includes rich AV device support

  • Provides a proven platform for distance learning and distributed meetings

    • Existing tools support integrated TabletPC based presentation, archive post-processing and integrated archive playback

Current release
Current Release

  • ConferenceXP 4.1 released December 2007

    • Localization support

      • Extracted strings to resource files

      • Chinese version checked by native speakers

    • Vista Support

    • x64 Support

Upcoming release

  • CXP 5.0: Aiming for Summer 2008 Release

    • Improved Diagnostics

    • Security Enhancements

    • NAT-friendly reflector

    • High-quality audio


  • Problem: Understanding network failures is very difficult

  • Approach: Aggregate connectivity information at a diagnostic service

  • Details (similar to multicast beacon):

    • Leverage the diagnostic info in RTCP

      • Receiver reports, sender reports

    • Each RTCP packet is copied over unicast to the diagnostic service

Diagnostics ui changes
Diagnostics: UI Changes

  • Warning icons

  • Tool tips

  • Missing participant “Ghost icon”

  • Access to Detail view


  • 4.x has minimal security

    • Any client can join any venue

  • 5.0 provides password-protected venues

  • Two implementations:

    • Weak: Password required to access the mapping from venue name to multicast IP

      • Protects against accidental accesses

    • Strong: Password is hashed into a symmetric encryption key

Nat friendly reflector
NAT-Friendly Reflector

  • The 5.0 ConferenceXP allows multiple clients to run behind a single NAT device

  • Details:

    • 4.x assumes all clients use standard RTP, RTCP ports

      • NATs map different machines to different ports

    • 5.0 removes this assumption

      • Requires changing the JOIN protocol to use UDP

High quality audio
High-Quality Audio

  • Changes to DirectShow buffering enable high-quality uncompressed audio

  • Higher quality compressed formats added

  • User control via advanced audio configuration UI

    Credit: José Feghali (TCU)

Recent deployments of interest
Recent Deployments of Interest

  • Shared Course with Lahore University

  • Initial work with Latin America Virtual Institute

  • Music instruction and performance

  • Initial work with Aravind Eye Hospital

Shared course with lahore university
Shared Course with Lahore University

  • Masters class, Spring 2008

    • University of Washington

    • Lahore University of Management Science

    • Microsoft

  • Computing for the Developing world

Technical challenges
Technical Challenges

  • Ensuring adequate bandwidth

    • Limited bandwidth to Pakistan

  • Reliability

  • Ensuring this did not compromise UW-MS class

  • Limited time to prepare

3 way setup for uw ms lums
3-way setup for UW, MS, LUMS





PMP Venue 1

PMP Venue 2






Future work improved support for heterogeneity
Future Work: Improved Support for Heterogeneity

  • Reduce complexity for scenarios such as the Lahore class

  • Enhance Venue to use multiple multicast groups

    • Admin & user configurable stream-to-group assignments

    • User configurable group subscription

Work with latam virtual institute
Work with LATAM Virtual Institute

  • March, 2008, LACCIR Meeting

    • Latin American and Carribbean Collaboration for ICT Research

  • Seattle and University of Chile, Santiago, Chile

  • Seminar presentation

  • CXP Unicast reflector

Music instruction performance
Music Instruction & Performance

  • Work led by José Feghali at Texas Christian University

  • Master class in piano performance with the Royal Academy of Music in London

  • Other recitals and instruction including:

    • USC School of Music

    • Julliard School of Music

    • The New World Symphony

Aravind eye hospital
Aravind Eye Hospital

  • Video conferencing for telemedicine in southern India

  • Challenge: scaling beyond ~6 vision centers

Get the conferencexp source
Get the ConferenceXP Source

  • ConferenceXP and related projects are available in source & binary distributions


Collaborate with us on new features, etc.

Resources contacts
Resources & Contacts

  • CCT Website/Wiki

  • Announcements Email List

  • Contacts: