[AG-TECH] Questions and topics for the Retreat

Rick Stevens stevens at mcs.anl.gov
Sat Jan 5 10:49:59 CST 2002


These are all good topics to be addressed at the retreat.  We will be
organizing the retreat around a set of topics and I think we have most
of these items mapped to one or more of the sessions (we just need folks
willing to talk about them now :-).. 

On Fri, 4 Jan 2002, Randy Groves wrote:

> Mary's note to submit topics for the retreat has got me thinking.  Some 
> views from my knothole (with all the restrictions in view that implies).
> There has been a good bit of interest in AG technology internally here at 
> Boeing.
> There are some pieces that I haven't heard much about - perhaps I haven't 
> been looking in the
> right places.  But I think that they are important, and maybe necessary, 
> for this technology to compete here with our present video conferencing 
> setups.  Please excuse any ignorance here - I don't claim to be an expert 
> in this.
> Is there any work being done on whiteboard facilities for the AG?
> Better (or any) integration with (I know - most people don't like it, but 
> it's a given here at Boeing) NetMeeting?  Or with other video conferencing 
> packages (Tandberg, Polycom)?

A strategy that has is under discussion at ANL about how to do this is
via one or more network service gateways that would support
interoperability without requiring the AG to down feature.  I think this
is a very good topic for discussion.  It is coming up often.  Another
package in the research community that is used a lot is VRVS which would
need a similar gateway.  At the same time we would like to keep pushing
the AG upward in capability so the issue of gateways will become even more
critical in the future.

> Is there some sort of SDK being worked on that would allow developers to 
> more easily add new features to the AG set?  For instance, our engineers 
> work with Catia - a tool that could 'wrap' Catia in some way would be a 
> definite plus.

Yes.  We (ANL) have starting documenting a set of interfaces and reference
architectures that would in principle enable groups to add functionality
to the AG services (Node, Venue, etc.)  This area needs a lot of work and
we hope to have some white papers to distribute that will help focus the
discussion along these lines.  Ideally we need to get two or three groups
working together on this.  Another focus for this type of discussion is
the Global Grid Forum working group on Advanced Collaboration
Environments.  I would be very interested in talking to you more about a
specific project to wrap Catia as I think it could be used as a model for
some other high-impact applications tools.  

> While I definitely applaud the effort to keep this in the open source realm 
> - and I think that this should be continued - it seems to me that packages 
> like vic and rat are somewhat showing their age.  Is there any effort 
> (outside of Microsoft's) to re-do these?  In Java for instance?

Yes. We share your view on this.  One alternative that we are looking at
seriously is the OpenMASH toolkit.

> I was talking to Lisa today about Voyager and there were some streams from 
> the recent SCGlobal (VR streams and others) that were not recorded.  I 
> don't understand all the details - but it seems one of the problems is one 
> of identification and/or standard info in the packets.  Is there any work 
> being done to standardize that?

This is an important area to look at.  RTP provides lots of flexibility

> I know that the AG was initially created, and still is pointed toward 
> supporting, large groups in collaboration.  A good bit of the interest we 
> have here internally is toward the other end of the spectrum, even down to 
> the desktop.  Perhaps this is a good area of research for a spin-off 
> working group?  I would definitely like to hear people's experiences in 
> this realm at the retreat (Johnson & Johnson come to mind).

We are planning on having an Industry Forum session at the retreat that
would be perfect for a series of talks on the needs from Boeing, Johnson
and Johnson etc.

> Usability is another issue that I know people are working on, but it will 
> be one that will come up in internal efforts.  I can see training the 
> people to become node ops, but I can't see training an executive as a node 
> op.  The Tandberg or something similar still wins out here.


> (I retreat, after having poked the anthill ...)
> -randy



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