Introduction to Media Informatics WS 2015-2016

Course Goals

This course aims to communicate a basic understanding of digital media on the computer. Topics include coding, storage and transmission of audio, image and video data to give a technical overview on how media technologies are built and used throughout daily life. We discuss text and hypertext data and how textual data is encoded and transmitted and we discuss necessary related topics like cryptography and security, licensing, human perception and metadata.

The slides of the 2014 version of the course are available as PDF.

Course Topics

  • Introduction: Human perception, licenses, cryptography
  • Text: text formats, hypertext
  • Information retrieval & web search
  • Digital images: color spaces, image formats, image manipulation
  • Digital video: formats, compression, delivery
  • Digital audio: signal processing basics, formats, compression, manipulation
  • Metadata: formats, ontologies, use cases

Readings & Materials

Note that the readings, videos and the interactive educational game are mandatory readings and will be used as source for questions in the final exam.

  • Laws that choke creativity (Lawrence Lessig, 2007) - a TED talk by Lawrence Lessig, the main mind behind the Creative Commons License. Freely available on the internet
  • Read (Cory Doctorow, 2004). Other formats are available on the page (ebook, audiobook)
  • Read and watch to learn about the creative commons licenses.
  • Type:Rider (BulkyPix 2013) - an educational game on the history of type, available on Steam, iOS App Store and Google Play. The first five levels can be played online at
  • Aesthetics and Emotions in Images (D. Joshi et al., 2011) - a tutorial paper on how computer science tries to tackle the problem of inferring and determining image aesthetics and emotions. NOTE: reading is only required up to including the chapter "Key Problems In Aesthetics And Emotions Inference" (ends with 2nd paragraph on page 104)
  • Metadata - a video lecture recorded 2014 on the topic of metadata.
  • Audio - a video lecture recorded 2015 on the topic of audio.

Modalities and Grading

The course is held in English. At the end of the course an exam will be used to determine the final grade. There is one single written exam for the course per year. Additional exams are possible, but they will be oral and scheduled upon request of the student.

Exam & Preparation

The exam will take place on Friday, 22nd of January 2016, at 2pm. It's a multiple choice test with a few open questions. For answering the exam there will be 60 minutes of time. This is the only written exam. If there is need for an alternative date & location additional oral exames can be requested by e-mail.

An additional, optional Q&A round is offered on Monday, 18th of January 2016, from 3-5pm on Google Hangout. The link will be posted here on the web site.


Slides & Exam Questions