Live Streaming of HMC Commencement 2011

On May 15th of 2011, Harvey Mudd College streamed its commencement ceremonies for the first time. With the successful collaboration of multiple teams, it went very well from the start of the preparations to the end of the event. We thank all those who worked tirelessly to make this first step as smoothly as possible.

Judy Augsburger, Senior Director of Advancement Communications, wrote about her impressions that:

I was delighted with our first livestream of commencement. The three camera shoot was well directed and the footage looked lovely. We had a total of 278 views during the ceremony, which was more than I thought we would get given that our main promotional efforts were geared towards the families of graduates, of which we had just 178.

It was rewarding for me to get a phone call at the start of the ceremony from a grandparent who was trying to access the livestream to see his grandson graduate. I talked him through some rudimentary browser features (now I know I’m not cut out for computer support services!) until he could see the ceremony. He was quite happy for the opportunity to watch his grandson get a diploma live.

A real advantage for our office of livestreaming commencement is that the video is recorded and saved in the livestream archive, and available to upload immediately. We posted it quickly to our YouTube channel and within four days it already had 481 views. We couldn’t have posted it so quickly if we had needed to go through all the footage and edit it; editing takes quite a bit of time. So we are pleased that we could provide the video quite quickly to those who couldn’t watch it live, but wanted to watch it soon after and experience some of the excitement and joy of the moment.

And about the technical aspects of the commencement live streaming prep and production, our Media Services Technician, James Sadler, reported that:

Streaming was done using Livestream.com and was done in standard definition. University of La Verne’s LV3TV camera and production crew were brought in to handle the three camera production and mixing. Audio was handled, as usual, by Nelson Sound and they gave the LV3TV crew a drop from their mixer board. This allowed Michael Meyka to watch over the whole production and James Sadler to make sure the streaming end of everything was up and running consistently.

The LV3TV team received a network drop coming out of the McAllister building next to the commencement site. The network connection was thoroughly tested by CIS staff members on Friday the 13th to make sure it was strong and didn’t hit any firewall issues. On the following Saturday, an actual stream was tested to verify again that everything would work properly. After trying a few different options, they decided that using a PC laptop with Wirecast 4.1 installed to send the video to Livestream.com was the best solution.

During the commencement, the stream went extremely smoothly with no hiccups or issues. Here are a few stats from the live stream: peak number of viewers: 77, total number of live views: 278, number of countries viewed in: 10, and replays to date (05/18/2011): ~200.

The commencement video is available on HMC’s YouTube channel.

MATLAB Seminars for Mudders

In April, CIS offered a series of MATLAB seminars to HMC community.  There were five seminar meetings covering three different topics: basic MATLAB programming, advanced MATLAB programming and parallel processing with Parallel Processing Toolbox.

Basic MATLAB programming seminars taught by Jeho Park at CIS covered fundamental, yet essential, MATLAB programming skills for MATLAB beginners. The seminar participants enjoyed creating function m-files and supporting documents. The basic MATLAB seminar attracted many freshmen who wish to prepare themselves for the courses that require MATLAB programming skills. CIS plans to offer additional basic MATLAB seminar classes in early fall semester for those who missed the April seminar meetings. So please stay tuned.

CIS also invited the MathWorks Senior Application Engineer, Doug Eastman, to HMC campus to discuss advanced MATLAB programming topics. The MathWorks on-site seminar discussed how to make use of different MATLAB functions and memory allocation methods for a better computing performance. The presenter also introduced MATLAB parallel processing features that may lead to a significant performance improvement for some number crunching applications. The seminar was very helpful for those who seek ways to improve performance of their MATLAB codes.

For future MATLAB seminars at HMC, we welcome your suggestions for topics: http://www.formstack.com/forms/hmc-matlab_seminar_topic_suggestion.

MATLAB Seminar Topic Suggestion Form

MathWorks MATLAB Seminar MathWorks MATLAB Seminar (3)

 

 

COMSOL workshop on HMC campus

A: “Dude, where’s my car? I need to drive to L.A. to attend the COMSOL workshop.”
B: “What car? And for what? Dude, did you miss the COMSOL workshop in the Learning Studio classroom last month?”
A: “Doh!” 

That’s right. CIS brought the COMSOL workshop to our campus on Friday, January 28th. It attracted a large turnout: 28 participants from Harvey Mudd (22), CMC (2), Pomona (1), CGU (1) and Keck (2). We were especially excited to see the majority of the participants were from HMC.

The workshop was led by Dr. Mina Sierou from COMSOL, Inc..  During the first half of the workshop, she covered an overview of COMSOL Multiphysics Version 4.1 by creating a simple model to explain its capabilities, basic usages and new user interface. And for the rest of the workshop, participants tried the new COMSOL 4.1 on their own laptops and asked a lot of questions they had had for a COMSOL expert.

This event was successful not only in CIS’ point of view but also in faculty participants’ perspectives. “I thought the workshop was quite effective.  …  I would recommend it to students as an time-effective way to get up to speed on the basics of COMSOL.” said Prof. David Harris from Engineering Department. We are working to offer another on-campus COMSOL workshop in Fall. So, Dude A, please stay tuned!

Visit http://www.comsol.com/events/ for more information on free/non-free COMSOL seminars and training sessions.

ODE Architect in the Cloud

During Summer 2010, CIS supported three summer projects under a new faculty technology grant program, Teaching with Technology, which was a pilot run in conjunction with the Dean of Faculty’s Office.  In this article, we introduce one of the projects, ODE Architect in the Cloud, led by Dr. Robert Borrelli (PI, Mathematics Prof. Emer.) and Dr. Jeho Park (CIS, Scientific Computing Specialist). The project aimed to demonstrate the possibility of running ODE Architect in a remote virtual computing environment.

ODE Architect (ODEA) is a legacy software package that first appeared in 1998 under support of the Consortium of ODE Experiments (C*ODE*E) and the National Science Foundation.  Although it is a 12-year-old program, it’s known to provide a useful teaching environment for college level Differential Equations classes.  But, like most legacy software, it has serious incompatibility issues under modern Operating Systems.  As the ODEA package is bundled with the book, Differential Equations, which is being used in a couple of Differential Equations classes at HMC and Pomona College, the incompatibility issues are a current problem for HMC students and faculty who wish to try the software along with the text.

Prof. Borrelli, CIS , and Wiley & Sons, Inc. (the publisher of the book and the distributor of the software package) collaboratively worked to setup a virtual machine environment for the ODEA package.  CIS put the virtual machine in a cloud computing facility called CloudShare in order to provide an on-demand access to the virtual machine over the Internet.  The beauty of their service is that pre-configured virtual machines can be shared and accessed using a browser, and moreover it is free to try.  So, as a result of the project, the requirements for running the ODEA tool kit became a browser and the Internet, i.e., no more hair-pulling about incompatibility issues!

CloudShare generously offered HMC an extended number of invitations which can be used for our faculty and students during the fall semester.  Please use the form here to request an invitation from CIS to the ODE Architect in the Cloud environment.  For those who wish to try it, we encourage you to read the account setup instructions at http://tinyurl.com/odearch. (Their registration process is kind of tricky.)  Once you setup the CloudShare Pro trial account, you get access to the pre-configured remote virtual machine through your browser using a Java applet.  Currently the Java applet is compatible with most browsers in Windows, but only Firefox in OS X and Linux.

For all other ways to use the cloud computing environment, please refer to this QuickStart Guide and CloudShare.com website at http://cloudshare.com. They have an FAQ page at http://www.cloudshare.com/Products/CloudShare-Pro/FAQ.aspx, and community forum at http://community.cloudshare.com.  Again, to request an invitation to the ODE Architect in the Cloud environment, fill in the form at http://tinyurl.com/odearch-form.

Firefox browser showing ODE Architect Tool running on 32-bit Windows XP virtual machine in the Cloud.