PLATINE

Higher Edu - Research dev card
Development from the higher education and research community
  • Creation or important update: 08/04/09
  • Minor correction: 19/03/10
Keywords

PLATINE : software platform used to support remote collaboration among users.

This software was developed (or is under development) within the higher education and research community. Its stability can vary (see fields below) and its working state is not guaranteed.
  • Web site
  • System: UNIX-like, Windows
  • Current version: V3.0 - 24/01/2008
  • License(s): CeCILL-B
  • Status: beta release, internal use, under development
  • Support: maintained, ongoing development
  • Designer(s): Véronique Baudin , Michel Diaz, Philippe Owezarski, Thierry Villemur, Jean-Pierre Courtiat and a lot of students.
  • Contact designer(s): veronique.baudin@laas.fr
  • Laboratory, service: LAAS

 

General software features

The PLATINE environment is a software platform used to support remote collaboration among users. Two main kinds of interactions can be encountered within collaborative groups: asynchronous collaboration, that does not require the group members to be present at the same time and synchronous collaboration, where remote users work in co-presence; PLATINE is mainly devoted to synchronous collaboration.

The PLATINE environment is made up of the following components:

  • an off-line session preparation module: OSP
  • an asynchronous session state display with an “asynchronous” chat: ASSD
  • a synchronous session state display: SSD
  • a multi user visioconference: Jvisio
  • a multipoint chat: Jchat
  • an application sharing: AST
  • a shared whiteboard: SW
  • a session manager: SM

A session is composed of an asynchronous phase, and a synchronous phase.
Besides the administrator role which is associated with the single user in charge of the management of the session (creation/deletion, configuration of the session), four additional user roles have been defined, which are respectively: teacher, student, observer and expert. Thus, a user, when registering in a session, authenticates him/herself with a specific role. This role determines the rights that the user will have for using the collaboration and communication tools available in the session. The teacher and student roles are self-explanatory. The expert role is intended to implement some kind of help desk. It is detained by the users in charge of the problems and questions related to the use of the collaborative platform and/or to experiment specific applications. The observer role is intended to represent a degraded role of the student one. Typically, an observer will have a restricted access to the tools of the collaborative platform. This may be motivated by two main reasons:
- Political reasons related to the session management implying that some users are not allowed to use the full functionality of the platform
- Network QoS constraints implying that some distant users are not capable for technical reasons to use the full functionality of the platform.
Another important issue concerns the particular problem of who is in charge of controlling the floor in a active session. A typical solution to the floor control is the chaired-based control, where a human facilitator is in charge of explicitly granting and releasing floor.
In order to implement a chaired-based control, a chairman status has been defined, which may be assigned to one or a subgroup of roles. Persons who are associated with roles and are active users, are authorized to request the chairman status and to potentially gain it.

Context in which the software is used

PLATINE has been used for some experiments:

  • during the european project Lab@Future, with the following involved partners :
    ARTEC (Bremen - Germany), LAAS (Toulouse - France), ETHZ (Zurich - Switzland), TUV (Technical University of Vienna - Austria)
  • during a contract of collaboration (Co-supervision of thesis) between the University of Tokushima (Japan) and the LAAS for some sessions of e-learning (to learn english language) and for work sessions between some members of LAAS and a student at Tokushima University.

It is used today to illustrate various protocols in projects such as SatSIX , or UseNET for an automatic deployment of its components by using a OSGi technology.

Publications related to the software

A lot of documents and articles have been published :

  • A list of articles is available here
  • Some guides are available here