September 12, 2012

Nominated for the Deutscher Zukunftspreis

Brilliant video through efficient coding with international standards

Thomas Wiegand, Detlev Marpe and Heiko Schwarz, the team from the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute, were today nominated for this year‘s Deutscher Zukunftspreis (German Future Award) given by the German President.

The nomination honors the HHI team for its decisive pioneering work on the international H.264/MPEG4-AVC standard. This video compression technology is now in use on more than one billion end devices across the world including Blu-ray players, HD and 3D televisions, laptops, tablets and smart phones. The German Future Award – for which three other teams are also in the running – will be awarded on the 28 November 2012 by the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Joachim Gauck.

The Technology

Compressed videos now make up over half of all global internet traffic. And with the rapid growth of films in high resolution, HD TV programs, 3D videos, and spread of video-capable mobile devices like smart phones and tablets, this trend shows no signs of abating. None of this would be even conceivable without powerful compression technologies. Compression substantially reduces the date throughput rate needed for motion pictures without any corresponding loss of picture quality. H.264/MPEG4-AVC has established itself as the most efficient video compression standard worldwide and is now used by millions of people on a daily basis – even though they might not be aware of it.

The Team

The three HHI scientists Thomas Wiegand, Detlev Marpe and Heiko Schwarz have played a major role in the development of this international standard. Their contributions to the standard have significantly enhanced the efficiency of H.264/MPEG4-AVC while they also engineered the base model for the standardization of all further extensions to the technology. For their pioneering work the HHI team has now been nominated for the Deutscher Zukunftspreis 2012.

The video standard and its extensions engineered over the past ten years is now deployed in over one billion end devices across the world while a major part of global internet traffic is now formatted in this super efficient technology. The innovations introduced by the three HHI researchers have in no small measure ensured the international success of the new standard.

Thomas Wiegand is a professor at the Technical University of Berlin and head of the Image Processing department at HHI; Detlev Marpe is a research scientist at HHI and lecturer at the Technical University of Berlin and the University of Applied Sciences Berlin; together with Detlev Marpe, Heiko Schwarz is co-director of the Image and Video Coding research group at HHI.

One of the leading awards for scientific excellence, the Deutscher Zukunftspreis is awarded annually by the Federal President and distinguishes exceptional achievement in innovative research with high market value.