The Center will serves as a model collaboratory through its high-bandwidth, video, teleconferencing communication network. We have installed an high-speed communication system for this purpose.

Fiber technology outstripped our initial expectations. As a result, we established high-speed video "windows" at each site, connected by a leased T1 line, that make possible continuous conferences of both data and video among all of the Center's sites. Each site has several such setups, in labs, classrooms, and offices, providing a flexible communication infrastructure that adapts to the size and scope of meetings.

In a sense, this setup has made all the sites into electronic neighbors. We initially thought that this would create one large shared lab space. However, social privacy issues have prevented video monitors from routinely showing what is happening at remote sites. Nevertheless, the infrastructure has proven valuable and is used every day for meetings, courses, events, and impromptu communications:

  • The all-site graduate graphics seminar
    • The Center is in the fifth year of its pioneering year-long all-site televideo seminar, attended and taught by all five sites. The seminar is offered for credit at three of the sites and is attended by approximately 70 students/year, having reached almost 300 students since its inception. A unique feature of the Center graduate experience, this seminar provides access to information and people well beyond the scope of any single university. Graduate students also use the televideo system as part of a research lab without walls to discuss collaborative work. Lecture titles and abstracts for the 2000-2001 seminar can be found here.
  • Outreach Programs
    • Annual multi-site events during NSF Science and Technology Week
    • Multi-site lectures given by Center PIs and researchers during the summer Graphics Workshop for high school teachers and the Utah High School Computing Institute.
    • Women's televideo roundtables
      • The Center is taking further advantage of its televideo system by hosting a series of roundtable discussions with speakers and audiences from different sites of the Center. The first talk, with four female faculty and a Ph.D. student speaker (representing four of the five sites), had over 50 undergraduate and graduate participants (from all sites), including members of the ACCESS Program. This roundtable was designed to help students understand the options open to them in both academia and industry and to extend their network of female colleagues.
    • Minority roundtables
      • The Televideo roundtable concept has been extended to minority students, staff, and researchers. Our first Televideo Roundtable for Technical Students of Color was held in the fall of 1997. This inaugural event featured Professor Roscoe Giles, a member of the NCSA Alliance Executive Committee, Deputy Director of the Center for Computational Science, co-director of the Boston University MARINER project, and last but not least a member of the Center's External Advisory Group.
  • Graduate student collaborative research discussions
  • Weekly PI meetings to discuss important issues of management and research findings and directions.
  • A pilot computer science education course inspired and run by current and former students.


Our experience of communicating and collaborating with out televideo system is part of the inspiration for the largest collaborative project in the Center, Telecollaboration. The new system will incorporate a sense of presence: rather than being talking video heads, participants should have the sense that they themselves are in the same virtual space as their collaborators. Not only would such a system be useful to the Center, but we feel that the increasingly global nature of industry, government, and society suggests that such technology will be necessary in the near future.

Telecollaboration will leverage and synthesize our research in high-performance architectures (to provide a real-time system), interaction (to provide a useful system), rendering (to provide a convincing visually real system), and modeling (to provide a convincing physically real system).

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