[The University of Newcastle, Australia]
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Priority Research Centre for Computer-Assisted
Research Mathematics and its Applications

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Overview of CARMA Facilities

CARMA is physically based in the Mathematics Building at the University of Newcastle. Our primary facilities include include two collaboration rooms (V206, the Access Grid Room, and V205, the Inner Sanctum).

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Access Grid Room and Inner Sanctum

These two rooms are set up for both remote collaboration and local operations. Remote collaboration is undertaken primarily using the Access Grid, but also SeeVogh (the successor to EVO) and occasionally Skype. SeeVogh also provides bridges to h.323 ("traditional" videoconferencing such as Polycom and Tandberg installations) as well as telephone voice calls.

Locally, our researchers are supported by a Saeco "Odea Giro Plus" machine. Each room contains a wireless access point.

Collaboration Equipment

The Access Grid Room is set up with a more formal, classroom-style, layout, with seating for around 18 people, and is equipped with

  • Three 60" SMART touchscreens (front wall)
  • Two 72" dropdown projector screens (front corner; rear wall)
  • Four NEC WT610 short-throw projectors (3 front; 1 rear)
  • One Mitsubishi XD490U projector (front corner)
  • Quad-core presentation PC with Logitech Bluetooth Desktop MX5000 (keyboard and mouse)
    • with two 19" desktop LCD screens (mirroring left and centre touchscreens)
    • Epiphan dvi2usb capture device
  • 3 MPC23SW beyerdynamic boundary microphones (ceiling-mounted)
  • Goose-necked desktop microphone (on operator's desk)
  • A/V rack containing
    • Dual-core PC running Access Grid software and video capture hardware
      • with 24" desktop LCD screen (on operator's desk)
      • contains two analogue video capture cards (receiving 2 cameras each)
    • Backup PC for the above Access Grid machine
    • Radio microphone base station
    • AMAV amplifier AV2.2P
    • Clear One echo canceller XAP800
      • combines audio from three ceiling microphones, radio microphone and desk microphone
    • AMX controller NI-4100
  • Desktop AMX panel controlling projectors, lights, speakers and cameras
  • Four Sony N50 pan-tilt-zoom cameras (3 wall-mounted; 1 tripod-mounted)
Short-throw projectors are used for the touchscreens to minimise the shadow that the presenter casts when writing on the boards.

The inner sanctum contains similar equipment, but uses two 46" and one 52" LCD screens with SMART touch overlays, as well as an XAP880 echo canceller. It also has numerous whiteboards, and a more casual, collaboration-inducing layout.

This equipment was installed in late 2007. Future upgrade paths would preferably include

  • High-definition cameras
  • HD-capable video capture cards
  • Higher-specced PCs
  • Wide-screen, multitouch-enabled touchscreens
  • 4K projectors (or at least HD projectors, eg., Sanyo PLC-ZM5000L)


V206 AV rack


Computing Facilities

CARMA has a number of high-performance computing facilities, including

  • an 8-core Linux server with 64 GB RAM
  • a 12-core (effectively 24 with hyperthreading) Linux server with 192 GB RAM
The University of Newcastle's Academic and Research Computing Services group (ARCS) provides a 1500-core Linux cluster which is available to all staff and students on request. We also have access to the facilities of Intersect (particularly the 1600-core 'Orange' cluster) and NeCTAR (particularly the Research Cloud which provides on-demand servers).

Members, please see (and edit!) the CARMA Wiki for further details.

Examples of the types of computation that CARMA is involved in can be found in this paper: "Review of the SIAM Hundred Digit Challenge", prepared for the Mathematical Intelligencer.

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