Student Projects 1999


 3dfx Window Manager Miscellaneous  1999  Student Projects  NetOS 

Contact: Dickon Reed  email

3d graphics cards provide support for mapping bitmaps from texture memory into the framebuffer under a variety of transformations. One amusing way to build a window system would be to render the contents of windows into texture memory, and use the 3d card hardware to perform clipping, manage the stacking order, etc. It should be possible to support things like alpha-blended windows, distorted windows, etc. at little extra cost. This project depends on the availability of programming information for 3d cards.

 Web interface to MS Exchange Miscellaneous  1999  Student Projects  NetOS 

Contact: Dave Stewart  email

This project would be to build an interface to a MS Exchange server. These servers hold information such as calendars, e-mail, task lists and contact information. Current Exchange clients are mainly windows based. It would be useful to be able to access things like one's diary from other platforms.

There is a well-defined interface to these servers (MAPI), I have no experience with this, but have read a bit about it. The challenge would be building an application to present the information clearly and usefully.

The project could, as a baseline, be fairly simple: e.g. a way of displaying calendar information for people on the web. It could be extended in a variety of ways, such as adding appointments, or sending e-mail, to create a useful application.

The criteria on which this could be evaluated are: functionality and ease of use. Unfortunately both are hard to quantify.

 Physically distributed games Miscellaneous  1999  Student Projects  NetOS 


This project involves the design and implementation of a distributed game which can support widely dispersed players. It could investigate the trade-offs that exist between various aspects of the game:

  • Consistency -- the extent to which each player sees the game progressing in the same way.
  • Resiliance -- for example to packet loss or network partitioning.
  • Security -- perhaps against technically competetent cheating players.
  • Bandwidth required.
A specific example of an interesting area is the extent to which consistency can be sacrificed when players cannot see one anothers screens. In this situation it is only necessary for the clients to agree on certain key facts -- for exmple whether a shot fired by one player will hit another.

 Distributed MP3 Jukebox Network Related  1999  Student Projects  NetOS 

Contact: Steven Hand  email

One of the revolutions of the past year has been the widespread takeup of mp3 encoded audio. A variety of players exist for most operating systems, and a selection of tools are available to rip tracks from audio CDs and encode them into the mp3 format. Overall one tends to achieve 3-6Mb per track, or ~50Mb per album. This means that a typical user with 20 "favourite" albums will have an mp3 archive of about 1Gb to hold their tracks.

In a local area network environment, it is desirable to be able to share the set of personal mp3 archives between all connected users. This project involves developing a system which will allow any user in the LAN to listen to any mp3 track.

There are two main approaches to this:

  1. the network could be used to stream any non-local mp3 file to the requesting client.
  2. a "smart cache" could be developed which would copy relevant tracks to the client's disk on-demand (or just-in-time), and remove them when no longer needed.
A combined approach is also plausible.

A pair of extensions are possible; a voting scheme, and multicast stream support. In the former case, one would arrange for users to somehow give preferences for e.g. the next track. The winning track could then be played over a shared speaker system.

The multicast scheme would allow the distribution of the same track to a subset of all users in the LAN. It could be viewed as an augmentation of the voting scheme (e.g. the three most popular tracks are multicast to three groups), or simply as an efficiency improvement for the standard network streaming case.

  Miscellaneous  1999  Student Projects  NetOS
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