HP (HPQ) is collaborating with Tsinghua University to develop multimedia technologies, including automated photo sorting, facial expression recognition and video and music analysis.

The joint lab research would rely mainly on image recognition, instead of traditional text identification, for visual applications. The music research would be based on sound.

"With the explosion of both amateur and professional multimedia, we need increasingly sophisticated tools to identify, sort and process the millions of images and sounds that have been collected," said Patrick Scaglia, chief technology officer, Imaging and Printing Group, HP. "We have to rely on multimedia tools to analyze multimedia data, so we're delighted to partner with Tsinghua University, which has world-class skills in this area."

The initial research areas include automatic classification of digital photos; improved face identification; video-based audience analysis; video digital warehouse; video search and recommendation for Internet-based video communities; and music analysis and retrieval.

The agreement is funded by HP's Imaging and Printing Group, Personal Systems Group and HP Labs. During the collaboration, Tsinghua University researchers are expected to spend time at HP Labs China in Beijing as well as with members of the Imaging Technology Department in HP Labs in Palo Alto. HP researchers will also go to China and work at the university.

HP has worked with the university on a variety of projects over the past 10 years, including the ChinaGrid, which is intended to extend information technology resources and services to thousands of researchers and the more than 20 million students in the country's university system. It has also worked with the university on hydroinformatic management systems for controlling China's vast water resources.

In recent years, HP has set up several research and development organizations in China, including HP Labs China, the HP Global Delivery China Center, China Design Center and the Printing and Imaging Research and Development Institute. The organizations have been involved in both products designed for China and software and solutions for the global market.

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