The Cuypers Multimedia Transformation Engine


Cuypers is a research prototype system, developed to experiment with the automatic generation of Web-based presentations as an interface to semi-structured multimedia databases. It differs from XSL-based transformations in that it explores a set of abstractions, both on the document and on the presentation level, that are geared towards interactive, time-based and media centric presentations, rather than presentations that are based on text-flow.

Cuypers deploys a set of extensible, high-level transformation rules specified in Prolog, exploiting Prolog's built-in support for backtracking. It facilitates easy feedback between the higher and lower level parts of the transformation process by executing both within the same environment. Instead of a strict separation between the transformation engine and the constraint solver, our system is implemented in ECLiPSe, a Prolog environment with embedded constraint solvers. This allows Cuypers to backtrack immediately when the transformation process applies a rule that generates a multimedia fragment with insolvable constraints.

We are currently experimenting with implementing a formatting vocabulary that is geared towards time-based and media centric formatting. To implement these formatting objects, we use the Logtalk object-oriented extension to Prolog. Logtalk allows us to cleanly model the object behavior of hypermedia formatting objects (including inheritance, information hiding and predicate polymorphism) in a constraint logic programming environment.

Generating multimedia presentations is an inherently complex and knowledge-intensive task. We aim at explicit modeling the required knowledge and are researching the use of Semantic Web technology to encode it in a common, interoperable format. For example, the DISC demo uses Sesame to store and access the knowledge needed during the transformation. This includes RDF-encoded metadata associated with the underlying multimedia database, ontological knowledge representing narrative and discourse structures and knowledge about the characteristics and behavior of the various media types used.

On-line Demo

An on-line demo of Cuypers, based on the multimedia database of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam is available from


The core of the Cuypers engine (cuypers/engine/) is implemented using:

The Cuypers web interface (cuypers/www/) is built on top of:



Publications about Cuypers include:

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