Presentation on theme: "The Access Grid What Is it and What Can it do? Alexander Terzian and Zachary Wright University of Michigan Michigan Center for Biological Information Virtual."— Presentation transcript:
The Access Grid What Is it and What Can it do? Alexander Terzian and Zachary Wright University of Michigan Michigan Center for Biological Information Virtual Soldier Project
What is the Access Grid? From the Access Grid website: – The Access Grid™ is an ensemble of resources including multimedia large-format displays, presentation and interactive environments, and interfaces to Grid middleware and to visualization environments. These resources are used to support group-to-group interactions across the Grid. For example, the Access Grid (AG) is used for large-scale distributed meetings, collaborative work sessions, seminars, lectures, tutorials, and training. The Access Grid thus differs from desktop-to-desktop tools that focus on individual communication. The promise: The Access Grid is next-generation collaborative technology. The reality so far: The Access Grid is high-end videoconferencing How does the Access Grid differ from traditional videoconferencing? –Multiple video/audio streams and unlimited number of participants (in theory) –Open source software –Centralized and (mostly) public meeting “locations” –Uses multicast-enabled networks
inSORS –http://www.insors.com/http://www.insors.com/ ANL/NCSA Software –Access Grid Toolkit –http://www.accessgrid.org/http://www.accessgrid.org/ VRVS –http://www.vrvs.org/http://www.vrvs.org/ These use variations of VIC (video) and RAT (audio) software Three Ways to get on the Access Grid
VRVS “VRVS is a web oriented system for videoconferencing and collaborative work over IP networks. The Virtual Room Videoconferencing System (http://www.vrvs.org) provides a low cost, bandwidth-efficient, extensible means of videoconferencing and remote collaboration”
AccessGrid.org AG Software Virtual Rooms Community Support “The AG technology was developed by the Futures Laboratory at Argonne National Laboratory and is deployed by the NCSA PACI Alliance”
inSors Grid (IG) Commercial all-in-one solution “One Box” Easy to use Installation Desktop Version Tech Support
What is needed to get on the Access Grid? Bare MinimumPreferred ComputerGood Computer Webcam or other computer cameraMultiple cameras MonitorLarge screen, multiple displays MicrophoneMultiple microphones with echo cancellation hardware Internet connectionMulticast-enabled internet connection Bandwidth: Megabit connectionBandwidth: Gigabit connection Access Grid software (vic and rat)Software with support
Access Grid Software VIC (Video Conferencing Tool) –“Vic is a video conferencing application developed by the Network Research Group at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in collaboration with the University of California, Berkeley.”Network Research GroupLawrence Berkeley National Laboratory University of California, Berkeley –Uses RTP –Designed for Multicast Backbone (MBone) –http://www-nrg.ee.lbl.gov/vic/ RAT (Robust Audio Tool) –“The Robust Audio Tool (RAT) is a an open-source audio conferencing and streaming application that allows users to participate in audio conferences over the internet. These can be between two participants directly, or between a group of participants on a common multicast group.” –RTP –Multicast –Developed at University College London
Multicast Virtual Rooms vs. Bridged Multicast broadcasts to multicast video and audio addresses A bridged connection relies on an MCU “bridge” for protocol translation and unicast/multicast translation.
Our System Dell Precision 450 Xeon dual-processor 2.66 GHz, 512MB RAM, Windows XP Professional Xentera 4-output video card w/3 NEC Vt 660 Projectors Gentner AP 400 echo-cancellation device 4 Canon VC-C4 Cameras 4 audio-technica table microphones 2 projection screens 4 ceiling-mounted speakers Wireless keyboard and gyroscopic mouse 4 track-mounted spotlights inSORS Grid software inSORS Grid Recorder server
What we’ve found There is no substitute for: –Good phone line and speakerphone Preferably connected to AG –Shared-desktop system (e.g. VNC) –Teleconference bridges Many users, especially traveling users, do not have access to a computer
Problems with Access Grid Other AG users –Access Grid software/hardware issues, problems –Non-echo canceling microphones –Restricted access to private rooms (e.g. inSORS rooms) –Poor multicast connection –Outdated CODECs (h.261) Non-AG users –H.323 to AG bridge problems –Low Bandwidth (especially home users) –Incompatible CODECs –Non-H.323 compatible cameras/software (e.g. iSight)
Keys to Future Success Improved CODECs More multicast-enabled networks Less expensive echo-canceling microphones and hardware Low-cost packages Better documentation and support More users on the Access Grid!
Art on the Grid Complex Multisite Visual Collaboration