From December 14th till 17th 1998, Starlab Research Laboratories organized its inaugural conference and demonstration days in Brussels to offer the interested audience a glimpse of future scientific development. The company welcomed an international selection of leading research experts, representatives from government and academic institutions, and corporate executives from various industrial sectors. At the end of the four-day event, the attendees were left with a clear picture of how ground-breaking research and state-of-the-art technologies can contribute to the benefit of the people's lives in the next century.
As an international specialist in basic research, Starlab hosts an in-house research team in Brussels. One of its major activities consists in the sponsoring of European and American scientific research groups. In this capacity, the company holds a quite unique position in Europe. As a result, Starlab is the proud owner of an impressive research portfolio, allowing it to attract top scientists in the fast changing fields of information technology, physics, arts, economics, medicine, and sociology. Starlab also enjoys the continuous support by official institutions, such as the European Union, the Flemish Government, and a wide range of universities, both in Europe and the United States.
In order to bring the scientific research efforts to the commercial market, Starlab works in conjunction with different corporate partners to concentrate the basic research on a multi-national scale. Next to this, the company has founded two not-for-profit organizations. The Future Arts Corporation is involved in the design of aesthetic environments for emerging technologies, whereas The European Molecular Nanotechnology Institute coordinates all European initiatives in the innovative and revolutionary domain of molecular nanotechnology. Reason enough to reveal a well-balanced choice of these fascinating research activities to the public.
The Flanders European Conference Centre in Brussels formed the set for the first day of the Starlab event, to host the international symposium on the Multimedia Content Description Interface, MPEG-7. Representatives from the industry and technologists were offered a forum here, to participate in the ongoing discussions with regard to the new MPEG-7 standard, which is currently in development. As such, the audience received a survey of all MPEG activities to date, together with a review and debate on the MPEG-7 technical projects, which at present run in different research laboratories in Europe.
Days two and three were reserved for talks and demonstrations, held at the Starlab headquarters in Zaventem. Key note presentations made by a host of specialists in various research fields included hot topics, such as bio-informatics, quantum cloning machines, nanostructures as semiconductors, bio-aesthetics, agents, aging, and economics. In addition, Starlab presented its new consortia, dealing with Intelligent Clothing, and the future of banking and publishing in respectively "More Than Just Money", and "The Metadata Corporation".
The demonstrations ranged from a pleasant search through a series of video clips of historic Brussels architecture, using Starlab's home made MPEG-7 description schemes, to measurements by means of advanced biosensors of the conference participants' arousal. Also on display was Audio Spotlight, a new sound projection system, developed at MIT, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This technology is already patented in the United States and thanks to the Starlab efforts, Europe will follow soon.
During the fourth and last conference day, an international symposium took place at the Metropole Hotel in Brussels. The European Office of Aerospace Research and Development of the United States Air Force sponsored this meeting, treating on the subject of quantum information and computation. Talks were held by Professor Dr. Artur Ekert of the Oxford University Centre for Quantum Computation; by Charles Ross, who is the Secretary of the Pathfinder project at the European Commission; and by Professor Dr. Gregg Jaeger of the American National Institute of Standards and Technology. The event was concluded with a presentation of the research, performed by the Starlab quantum experts, who are based in Brussels.