About the Cluster of Excellence
on "Multimodal Computing and Interaction"

Mission

The past three decades have brought dramatic changes in the way we live and work. This phenomenon is widely characterized as the advent of the Information Society. It is fueled by the power of information technology to acquire, store, process and transmit data compactly, inexpensively and at greater speeds than ever before. Ten years ago, most digital content was textual. Today, graphical and audiovisual I/O devices are in widespread use, and modern personal computers and interaction devices have multimedia capabilities. As a result, current digital content additionally comprises speech, audio, video and graphics. Ubiquitous sensing devices further increase the global volume of digital data. The availability of digital content in different modalities and increasingly pervasive access to the Internet combine to make a host of information available to anyone, at any time.

Given these trends, the challenge now is to organize, understand, search and interface this multimodal information in a robust, efficient and intelligent way, and to create dependable systems that support natural and intuitive multimodal interaction. The Cluster of Excellence on Multimodal Computing and Interaction was established by the German Research Foundation (DFG) within the framework of the German Excellence Initiative in November 2007. After five years of sucessfull research, the cluster is now going into its second phase, starting in November 2012.

The cluster comprises the Computer Science and Computational Linguistics and Phonetics departments of Saarland University, the Max Planck Institute for Informatics, the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, and the newly established Max Planck Institute for Software Systems. An integral goal of our cluster is the promotion of young researchers, and as such, we have committed the majority of our allocated funds to the establishment of several independent research groups.

Structure

Formally, the cluster is structured into nine research areas and coordinated by seventeen principal investigators (PIs). Four of these research areas (Text and Speech Processing, Visual Computing, Algorithmic Foundations, Security, Privacy, and Accountability) are of a more basic character, while the remaining five research areas (Knowledge Management, Information  Processing in the Life Sciences, Large-Scale Virtual Environments, Synthetic Virtual Characters, Multimodal Dialog Systems) are of a more applied nature. Three demonstrators (Multimodal In-Car Dialog, Open-Science-Web, Virtual Environments) integrate our research and serve to showcase it to the public.

Video Documentary