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Call For Host Sites

A/V Plan for Host Sites

Institute Organizers

Audio-Visual Technology Plan

This document summarizes the primary and backup communications systems we will use to run the 2019 Petascale Computing Institute.

Site Coordination

All site technical coordinators should be available during the workshop via a Slack channel. Plans to shift to a backup in case of failure will be announced via this back-channel mechanism. As a backup, cell phone numbers for technical coordinators and emcees at each site are maintained in the Logistics spreadsheet. NCSA will send relevant AV details prior to testing.

The High-Definition Classroom

The instructional facility at each site requires audio and video capabilities to participate in a typical webconference. We will be using WebEx for the sessions with capability for a limited number of H.323 connections(such as the Polycom HDX Series or LifeSize Room Series).

As a primary backup, we will rely on a webstream provided by NCSA

Site Audio Configuration

Microphones should be available to participants to ask questions and otherwise interact in real-time with the presenters. Site administrators should configure audio systems to avoid echo, feedback and other disruptive noise.

Site Video Configuration

All sites should have at least one camera to view the audience. Sites with Presenters should have an HD camera for the presenter and another for the audience and a reliable way of switching the signals sent to the webconference session.

Site Presentation Configuration

Sites should have a minimum of two displays, one displaying the webconference video and one displaying content such as slides or demos. If only one screen is available, a reliable way of switching between presenter video and content is necessary.

Slide Sharing

We will use WebEx to share slides between sites. During the conference, the presenting site should select “Share My Desktop” within the WebEx application. All other sites should display this shared desktop in full screen mode. As a backup, slides will be available for download from the workshop web site. If the slide sharing capability fails, the technical personnel at the presenting site will coordinate over the back channel chat so that participating sites can manually advance their local copy of the slides.

WebEx Session Coordination

While the workshop is in progress, there will be a WebEx session including each of the participating sites plus a WebEx session moderator located at NCSA.

The presenting site may preconfigure a shared laptop and direct the presenters to use this shared laptop or allow the presenter to use his/her own laptop. In the latter case, it is up to the presenting site to ensure that the presenter's laptop is properly connected to the WebEx session ahead of time.

Webcast Streaming

NCSA will webcast the audio/video/slides from the Presenter conference. The address will be

Back-Channel Chat

We will use a channel for audio/video coordination. All technical coordinators should subscribe to this chat.


Testing is vital to the success of these courses. All sites are expected to participate in an individual site test and at least one of the multi-site tests. NCSA will coordinate testing with each site. Test criteria are:
  • Audio is clear and free of echo, feedback and other disruptive noise
  • Video is clear and lighting appropriate, video is displayed appropriately
  • WebEx session connection and display
  • Webcast stream display
  • The technical coordinator is logged into the Slack channel

Individual site tests are planned to be 1 hour long but need not take the time if all criteria are met. Multi-site tests are scheduled for 1 hour and are mainly to test the infrastructure under load of several sites. NCSA will work with each site to solve problems discovered.

Further questions can be directed to the NCSA Event staff at: