The Quantum Pontiff

Online Weekly Colloquia?

Recently I’ve been thinking it might be fun to set up some sort online weekly colloquia in quantum computing. Fun? Well, okay maybe that’s not quite the right word. But it would be an interesting experiment. So I went out looking for good live webinar/videoconferencing software and well…I was a bit disappointed. Sure there are a lot of videoconference companies out there…which almost all have limited version for use for free. But these limited versions almost all seem to restrict to only a few participants. Anyone know of some software which might be appropriate for attempting to setup an online colloquium? Has anyone seen a setup where this has worked before? Oh, and is there any interest in such an online colloquium?

Comments

  1. #1 Matt Leifer
    May 28, 2009

    Rob Spekkens is quite interested in running a virtual conference at some point, so we have looked at a variety of software in this general area and tested several of them. You might want to join our friendfeed group about this at http://friendfeed.com/virtual-conferences-for-scientists where we often post updates about new software.

    Currently, I think the best open-source option is DimDim. You can install it on your own servers for an unrestricted number of participants or you have to pay to use the hosted version with unrestricted participants. On the proprietary side, the most popular options are the various offerings by Citrix (e.g. GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar, GoToVisitMyGranny, etc.) or Adobe Connect. They are solid but cost $$$$$.

    DimDim and Adobe Connect have been installed on the servers at Perimeter Institute, so you can probably ask Rob if you want to take them for a test drive. They may even be interested in hosting the colloquium if you don’t have a server you can use for it.

    Personally, I would be quite interested in an online Colloquium in qinfo and/or qfoundations because I have been off work due to illness for a long time and it is quite hard to keep up with what is going on without going to seminars and conferences. However, I also think that a virtual seminar series on Science2.0/Open Science might work better, since people who are interested in such things are likely to be positive about online meetings.

  2. #2 sep332
    May 28, 2009

    http://www.stickam.com/ allows up to six video spots at a time, with any number doing text chat at the same time. Leo Laporte and G4TV use it, so it can’t be all bad :)

  3. #3 Ian Durham
    May 28, 2009

    In the past I have used both Skype and Yahoo Messenger to give my course lectures while I was out of town. Not ideal, but they worked. I’ve also run across Scriblink.

    In regards to trying something that requires a server, if PI can’t do it, I could do it at Saint Anselm. In fact I’m sure our instructional technology people would love to try something like this since they’re always looking to have faculty try out innovative things.

  4. #4 Joe Fitzsimons
    May 28, 2009

    Sounds like an excellent idea. I would definitely be interested. Would you consider archiving them?

  5. #5 Ian Durham
    May 28, 2009

    By the way, isn’t it ‘colloquia’ and not ‘colloquiums?’

  6. #6 Jon
    May 28, 2009

    This is actually a really cool idea. I wish I could help, but all I can think of is Google Chat (probably too ghetto for you :).

  7. #7 Daniel Burgarth
    May 29, 2009

    Nice idea!!! As you will probably know at Imperial College the seminars are already filmed and streamed on the web, using technology from RealStreamer, I think. A central weekly seminar where anyone can give talks over the web would certainly be very cool. One might need some sort of “editor board” perhaps.

  8. #8 Jon
    May 30, 2009

    Actually, now that I have thought more about it, I wonder how it would actually work. If there are local people in the audience, then the speaker should concentrate on them. And if not, then what feedback does the speaker get? This is worth starting small, to see what works and what doesn’t.