The Centre of
Excellence in Distributed Multimedia
at Rhodes University
Since 1997, the department of Computer Science hosts a Telkom Centre of Excellence, which focuses on distributed multimedia.
The Centre brings together the research expertise within the department, contributions from other departments at Rhodes University and at other
tertiary institutions (both nationally and internationally), and input from industry partners. The Centre is a good example of triple helix at work,
where academia, industry and government come together to pool resources and improve the competiveness of the industry, via the preparation of
highly skilled practitioners and the co-development of appropriate technology. The Centre is supported by Telkom - the anchor partner, Tellabs,
Stortech, Easttel, Bright Ideas Project 39, and both the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) - through THRIP - and the National Research
The Centre operates under the management of a joint academic/industry steering committee, and has high level representation from the partner
industries and from the DTI through the National Research Foundation. The Centre is headed by Prof Alfredo Terzoli, in collaboration with Prof
Peter Wentworth. Ms Ingrid Siebörger works for the Centre and provides invaluable help.
The current funding cycle of 3 years, starting in 2011, is aimed at extending the Distributed Service Platform developed in the previous cycle,
to create appropriate support for mobile devices in terms of fast mobile service development and deployment as well as introduction of standard
and protocols for easy connection of mobile devices to the platform. The end-points for experimentation are often located in a real-life test-bed
network, which was started over ten years ago and was kept up-to-date by continuous technology upgrades. The test-bed includes most current network
transport technologies - ISDN, ATM, FIREWIRE, ADSL, WIFI, WiMAX and VSAT - interconnected by an Ethernet fabric supporting IP.
Centre of Excellence
Quick Links to National CoE Topics:
What is it?
Telkom's Centres of Excellence (CoE) Programme is a collaboration between
Telkom, the telecommunications
industry and the South African government to promote a culture of excellence
in research in information and communication technology, and to provide
facilities to encourage young scientists and engineers to pursue their
interests in South Africa.
Launched in 1997, the CoE programme is growing local telecommunications
and information technology skills, is yielding substantial benefits for
the universities and technikons involved, and is helping Telkom
its development partners to solve technical problems and reduce costs. Rhodes University's center was one of the first to be recognised formally by the programme.
The CoEs are jointly funded by Telkom,
telecommunications players in the private sector, and the Department
of Trade and Industry - through its Technology
and Human Resource for Industry Programme (THRIP). There are currently
16 CoEs, located at tertiary institutions around the country. In addition
to developing skills in science, engineering and technology, the centres
are aimed at creating partnerships between historically disadvantaged
and advantaged institutions. The institutions are paired; with a previously
disadvantaged and an advantaged institution sharing a CoE in which to
jointly focus on a specific aspect of telecommunications research. This
provides for the transfer of skills and the upliftment of the previously
Skills retention for South Africa is also a significant benefit of the
programme. Many talented post-graduate students are attracted to opportunities
overseas, and the CoE programme
is demonstrating that they don't have to leave SA to do exciting work.
Aims of the Programme
Key aims and objectives of these centres, located within existing education
institutions in the country, are to:
Strive for excellence in a focused telecommunications technology area;
Enhance expertise and research capacity in the field of information
and communications technology, with emphasis on black empowerment;
Form research and development partnerships between Research institutions,
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) companies, industry, and
Strive to meet the increasing demand for engineers and IT experts;
Transfer expertise and technology into and from Universities;
Form cooperative research partnerships.
Centres of Excellence are based on:
Empowering partnerships between
historically disadvantaged and historically advantaged institutions;
Collaboration between Telkom
and information communication technology (ICT) companies;
Centres of Excellence are governed by steering committees comprising
all stakeholders to implement financial control and evaluate progress
on a quarterly basis. An annual review of the projects and financial status
is conducted by the steering committees. Financial statements are audited.
Daily management of the Centres falls to a Head, who is appointed by
the Steering Committee, and who is a full-time member of the academic
or research staff at the host institution. The CoE Head is frequently
assisted by a coordinator or administrative assistant, and, where the
CoE comprises more than one unit, by Unit Heads.
For information on the Rhodes CoE Steering Committee, click
The Centre of Excellence programme funds expenses related to: computer
hardware; research equipment; software; running expenses of the CoE; external
consultants; technical assistants; visiting professors aimed at the transfer
The Centre of Excellence programme does not support the following
Top up of supervising staff salaries at higher education institutions;
Bursaries for students;
Accomodation and physical infrastructure at higher education institutions;
Any other costs that do not attract 1:1 matching funds