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ARCS Video Collaboration Workshops

The Australian Research Collaboration Service (ARCS) is pleased to announce two Video Collaboration Workshops to be held in Adelaide and Melbourne.

ARCS will be presenting these two workshops on video collaboration tools (Access Grid and EVO) in August. These workshops are split into two parts. The first day will give an introduction to these tools and show how they can be used to collaborate with colleagues. The next two days will cover in-depth information on installing, configuring and supporting a video conferencing room (particularly Access Grid) for collaboration.

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Access Grid 3.1 Released

Access Grid 3.1 is now available for download. This release includes new functionality, including the latest VIC (video) and RAT (audio) tools from the Sumover project, support for hierarchical venue data storage, improved bridging support, and certificate-based Venue access controls. Numerous bugs have also been fixed. For more information about this release, see the official AG 3.1 Release page.

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Surrey’s Computing Department reduces costs and carbon for international initiatives

...using Access Grids substantially reduces environmental impacts: transporting one passenger between the institutions would result in 2000kg of CO2 emissions.

The University of Surrey’s Department of Computing is using high-performance videoconferenceing for activities in the new Surrey International Institute (SII), a collaborative programme with Dongbei University of Finance and Economics (DUFE) in China.

The high-performance videoconferenceing system, familiarly referred to as an Access Grid, has been used by Surrey and DUFE to facilitate discussions over strategic matters.

The Access Grid has been put to good use in hosting meetings between senior management teams at Surrey and DUFE, and has been used to interview students in China, and to interview staff for appointments in DUFE in support of the SII.

Positive side effects of using Access Grids include reducing the overheads of geographical displacement, particularly the costs and time of travel, and the effects of jet lag, though the 8-hour time difference has to be managed.

In addition, using Access Grids substantially reduces environmental impacts: transporting one passenger between the institutions would result in 2000kg of CO2 emissions.

The Department’s Access Grid was installed in 2006 as part of the Department of Computing’s Science Research Investment Funds (SRIF) allocation, in anticipation of just such an initiative.

The Department has successfully used Access Grids to connect with local schools and colleges, in a sponsored by the Higher Education Academy for Information and Computer Science (HEA-ICS).

Virtual classroom sessions on Space Science and Web Science were provided to Coombe’s two schools, and an interactive Q&A session was held in collaboration with Esher College.

Starting in September 2008, the Department will offer a Surrey-accredited Masters degree in China, initially using the Access Grid to support interactions at distance, though with an eye towards virtual classes.

Offering these degrees in China is part of the University’s recently published long term strategy, identifying the importance of international presence.

Original Article

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QCIF AG Workshop

The Queensland Cyber Infrastructure Foundation (QCIF), together with the Australian Research Collaboration Service (ARCS), are running an Access Grid Workshop to be held in October, 2007.

The workshop activities will cover a variety of topics, but will concentrate on operational aspects of successfully running an AG node. Information on the workshop and a list of presenters can be found at http://www.qcif.edu.au/education/workshop/.

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SUSTAINABLE SCIENCE: Greening the Meeting

Access Grid is included in the current issue of Science magazine, in an article discussing virtual meetings as an alternative to scientific travel. From the article:

Scientific travel pours huge amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Some societies are changing the way they run their annual meetings--and a few scientists are proposing even more drastic changes...

Researchers don't necessarily have to attend a meeting in person to get something out of it. Virtual conferences are a growing trend; they have recently been held on topics including nanoscale structures, animal diseases, amphibian conservation, and climate change. One of the largest such events is the Virtual Conference on Genomics and Bioinformatics (VCGB)...

Attendees to VCGB gather at local nodes linked together using Access Grid, a virtual collaboration system developed at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois.

For more information, see the full article on the Science website.

 

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AG3 wins R&D100 award

R&D magazine has selected Access Grid 3 as a winner of an R&D 100 award for 2007. From the R&D website:

The winning of an R&D 100 Award provides a mark of excellence known to industry, government, and academia as proof that the product is one of the most innovative ideas of the year.

The R&D100 award committee clearly recognized the innovation and usefulness of this major update to the Access Grid software. Full award results will be published in the September issue of R&D100 magazine.

 

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Time Flies

Using Access Grid videoconference software tools and Internet2, video streams of live performances from all sites are sent simultaneously and combined together on a projection screen for live audiences at the University of Utah and other sites ... [read more]

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