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The AccessGrid® is an ensemble of resources including multimedia large-format displays, presentation and interactive environments, and interfaces to Grid middleware and to visualization environments.

Accessgrid Policies

AccessGrid Access Policies (Version of 2003-08-08)

The AccessGrid room (1363 Comp Sci) was set up with the support of Jin-Yi Cai, Miron Livny, Bart Miller, and Stephen Wright.

The Computing Facilities Committee has established the following policies for use and maintenance of this facility.

  • Use of the facility is reserved for meetings organized by faculty in the Computer Sciences Department. Other individuals and groups may use the facility with express prior authorization of the Computing Facilities Committee. A request for such authorization may be made by any Computer Sciences faculty member.
  • A small but nonzero amount of training is required to operate the node. Groups expecting to make frequent use of the facility should arrange to have one or more staff persons or graduate students receive training from the CSL. Mail lab@cs.wisc.edu to set up an appointment. The CSL may also have student hourly employees available to run the facility on an "as available" basis. Because these employees have variable schedules, the CSL cannot guarantee an operator will be available at any particular time. Please contact the CSL well in advance of an event to inquire about availability of an operator. Under no circumstances may the facility be used without a trained operator present.
  • Groups who provide their own trained operators may use the facility without charge. If the CSL provides an operator, there will be charge of $20/hr. Note that payments can only be accepted from UW funds.
  • Users should reserve the facility through the "rooms" web page. Go to https://www-auth.cs.wisc.edu and click "Continue to Room Reservations" [or perhaps "Continue to Web Forms"]. In the event of conflicts, priority shall be given the initial contributers listed above, followed by other CS faculty, followed by other UW users. Scheduling conflicts should be resolved through bilateral negotiations. The CSL is not responsible for arbitrating conflicts.
  • Keys to the room may be checked out from the department receptionist in room 5351.
  • Broken equipment should be reported to the CSL. The CSL will attempt to diagnose and repair hardware and networking problems as soon as possible, but bear in mind that it may not be possible to fix problems in real time.

Directions to 1363 Computer Science

From Dayton Street

Enter at the Dayton street entrance and continue through the set of green doors into Unit III of CS. Continue straight pass the elevators, head left down the instuctional lab hallway. 1363 will be on your right about half way down.

From Union South entrance

Enter the Union South entrance and head up the ramp, turn left at the elevators and then again left down the instructional lab hallway. 1363 will be on your right about half way down.

Requesting Operator status

To request operator status mail lab@cs.wisc.edu with the subject "!AccessGrid Operator account for <username>, and include the following information in the body.

  • Username
  • Group you represent
  • Why you are requesting accesss

If you are authorized for access, you will receive mail with instructions on how to proceed. If there is a problem with your submission you will receive mail as to that fact and most likely a request for more information.

Requesting and Installing an AccessGrid Identity Certificate

The AccessGrid uses Public key cryptography to identify users. These certificates are provided from a Certificate Authority run by the AccessGrid developers and are free of charge. The following will walk you through the steps of requesting a certificate through a provided utility and then how to install the certificates for use in both Linux and Windows. /usr/bin/CertificateRequestTool.py

Requesting the Certificate

  • Prerequisite: AccessGrid operator status
  • Login to the host ag-bridge.cs.wisc.edu
  • Run the command /usr/bin/!CertificateRequestTool
  • Fill out the form with your identity information, do NOT use the CS password for the passphrase
  • Click Next to advance to the next form and Finish to submit the request

Retrieving the Certificate

  • After receiving a confirmation email from the AccessGrid developers you are ready to retrieve the certificate
  • Login to the host ag-bridge.cs.wisc.edu
  • Run the command /usr/bin/VenueClient
  • Fill out your Profile informaiton
  • Under the Preferences Menu of the VenueClient, select Certificate Manager
  • Go to the Certificate Requests tab of the Certificate Manager window
  • Select your outstanding Certificate request
  • Click Check Status
  • If it is Ready for Installation then click Install Certificate
  • It will prompt you for your passphrase

Your certificate should now be installed, note theirs a bug and it won't show up immediately, exit the certificate manager and restart the certificate manager and you should see your certicate properly imported.

Exporting your Certificate to Windows

The user configuration info for Windows and Linux is stored in two different places, after initally retrieving your certificate you must install it in your Windows profile.

  • Login to the host ag-bridge.cs.wisc.edu
  • Run the command /usr/bin/VenueClient
  • Under the Preferences Menu of the VenueClient, select Certificate Manager
  • Go to the Certificates tab of the Certificate Manager window
  • Select your certificate and click Export
  • Check that "Write certificate and private key to a single file" is checked
  • Enter a filiename in your home directory to export the certificate to

  • In the AccessGrid room you can access Windows machine installed with the AccessGrid software.
  • Login to ag-display.cs.wisc.edu
  • Start the VenueClient software from the desktop Icon
  • Under the Preferences Menu of the VenueClient, select Certificate Manager
  • Go to the Certificates tab of the Certificate Manager window
  • Select the Import button
  • Enter the filename where you previously stored your certificate in the top dialog
  • Select Import

You now should have your certificate installed in both your Linux and Windows profile.

Setting up your Accessgrid profile

You will find more up to date information on the accessgrid website, but to setup your profile you need an idea of how the software interacts between the different computers in the Computer Science accessgrid node. The accessgrid operates as a collection of services running across different nodes. An example of a service would be a "Video Consumer", which is the AG included version of VIC, running in a listen mode. Other example would be an "Audio Service" or "Video Producer". Each machine runs a "Service Manager" process which handles starting and stopping services on that machine. The service managers running on each of the machines are controlled by a "Node Manager". The user interface to the "Node Manager" is the VenueClient, which is also a client of the "Node Manager".

In the CS node, you start up the Service Managers manually after you login on most of the nodes. The service manager,node manager are automatically started when yous start the VenueClient on ag-display.cs.wisc.edu. To setup your profile, you need to setup which services are started, with what config, and where they are started.

  • Start Service Managers on the following nodes
    • ag-capture.cs.wisc.edu (run as /usr/bin/AGServiceManager)

  • Start the VenueClient on ag-display.cs.wisc.edu
    • - remember the VenueClient automatically starts the Service and Node Managers

  • Go to Preferences -> Manage my Node

  • The default displayed Service Manager will be localhost.
    • Verify that a Video Consumer Service is in place
    • Verify that an Audio Service is in place
    • If these are missing add them via menu Service -> Add
    • Select the Audio Service, then right-click and select Configure
      • Set the inputgain to zero

  • In the left box you will see the available service managers
    • Go to 'Service Managers' -> Add
    • Add the following service managers
      • ag-capture.cs.wisc.edu

  • Select the service manager for ag-capture.cs.wisc.edu
    • Go to menu Service -> Add
    • Select "Video Producter Service"
    • Select "/dev/video0" as the resource
    • After the service appears, right click the service and 'Configure'
      • Select S-Video as the 'port'
      • Rename the video feed name (this name appears to all other attendees in a venue "room")
    • Repeat the same steps for
      • /dev/video1
      • /dev/video2
      • /dev/video3

* Go to menu File -> Store Configuration

    • Save config as 'multibox' and choose as the default

Accessgrid Room Scheduling

In order to conference with a remote site you need to reserve both the physical room in Computer Science and a virtual meeting room on the AccessGrid system. There is no one standard way of reserving a virtual room, it is up to you to keep in contact with remote operators or participants. For your use their is a "UW-Madison CS Dept" institutional venue on the ANL venue server. TO reserve the phyical room, you must use the ROOMS program.

  • Go to http://www-auth.cs.wisc.edu/rooms
  • Select the 'Access Grid' area in the upper left
  • Select a date from the top calendars
  • On the schedule clock the \* on the slot corresponding to your start time,
    • remember if your conference is at 10AM you should start at 9:30
  • Fill in the form, and save
  • Update your entry if there are any changes

Using the Accessgrid

One of the core ideas of the AccessGrid is to make it as easy and transparent to use as possible. That being said operators do need to spend a significant amount of time reading through the documentation and familarizing themselves with the interface. A good source of information is the Documentation section on the accessgrid website http://www.accessgrid.org. There are a number of documents and online tutorials to help you better understand operations. Additionally it is required for each new operator to go through a technical walk through with a member of the Computer Systems Lab to discuss local policies and configurations. These sessions can be scheduled by e-mail to lab@cs.wisc.edu. Training sessions for non computer science operators is billed at the same rate as providing operator services for an event.

Camera Placement

Multiple cameras can be used to pickup video of the participants. If your conference only involves a small number of people, use the tripod camera. If more people are involved the front side cameras can be used. The furniture can be moved if it will give you better results, but it is usually easier to move the camera. Remember to restore the original furniture configuration when you are finished.

Microphone selection

There are multiple microphones scattered throughout the room. Each microphone has a wide array of settings, but most of them have already been set to an appropriate value. Depending on the number and location of your participants all you should have to do is mute or unmute the proper microphones. One microphone should be used for a maximum of about three people. In the normal furniture configuration their is a microphone paired with each table and or couch. Move them around to pickup the sound from your participants but remember to move them back when your session is completed.

All the table-top microphones are labeled with their corresponding input channel on the audio mixer, making it easier to figure out which microphones are connected where. Hanging mics are labeled as such in the audio mixer control application.

Headphones are available to monitor input and output audio signals. Make sure the PA-1 headphone amplifier is turned on before wearing the headphones. The audio mixer is configured to send the outbound audio signal to one side of the headphones and the incoming audio signal to the other side.

Operations Checklist

  • Login to each machine
    • ag-display.cs.wisc.edu
    • ag-capture.cs.wisc.edu

  • Start /usr/bin/AGServiceManager on
    • ag-capture.cs.wisc.edu
    • ag-sound.cs.wisc.edu

  • Start the AG VenueClient on ag-display.cs.wisc.edu

  • Turn on each of the three projectors

  • In the VenueClient navigate to the appropriate virtual venue

  • Enable the outgoing audio via the 'Talk' pushbutton in RAT
    • Make sure the source is set to Line-in
      • Use the arrows below the 'Talk' pushbutton to change the source
    • Make sure the slider below the 'Talk" pushbutton is all the way down

  • Enable the outgoing video by selecting the Enable Video Capture in the Tools menu or click the 4th shortcut button to enable video

  • When you are finished
    • Exit the VenueClient software on ag-display.cs.wisc.edu
    • Shutdown all the ServiceManagers on ag-capture
    • Logout of each machine
    • Shutoff each of the three projectors
    • Clean up any materials you might have left
    • Restore the original furniture, camera and microphone placements
    • Shutoff the lights
    • Make sure door is locked behind you

Best Practices

  • Have the following information before you start
    • Name of Venue and Venue server you will be using
    • Exact times for event and tests, note the timezone
    • An out of band communications method with other operators
    • Availability of bridge
    • Usage of any visual presentation applications

  • Setup a test session multiple days ahead of time for site you have never conferenced with, resolve or provide workarounds for any problems.
    • Test all audio and video feeds
    • Test the unicast bridge if available

  • On the day of the event, coordinate with remote operators to have session up ahead of time
    • Generally operators start up their nodes 30 minutes ahead of time

Starting a bridge for remote sites

Sometimes remote sites do not have native multicast or network problems prevent it from being usuable. In this case you can start a multicast bridge locally which remote sites can join. To start a multicast bridge follow the following steps

  • Login to ag-bridge.cs.wisc.edu
  • run the command /usr/bin/BridgeServer24 --configfile=/s/ag-2.3/etc/bridge.config
  • It will ask you for your Certificate passphrase to start a globus_proxy, enter it now.

This bridge configuration file is setup for the UW-Madison Virtual Conference room, if you need to provide bridging for an alternative venue, copy out the bridge configuration file and edit for your needs. All you should need to change is the URL decleration.

Accessgrid Resources

Sites of interest for AccessGrid use:

Accessgrid Venue Servers

Some known AG venue servers:

Server AG version 3 address AG version 2 address
Argone NL https://vv3.mcs.anl.gov:8000/Venues/default https://vv2.mcs.anl.gov:9000/Venues/default
NCSA https://venues.ncsa.uiuc.edu:8000/Venues/default https://venues.ncsa.uiuc.edu:9000/Venues/default
Asia-Pacific AG https://vv3.vislab.uq.edu.au:8000/Venues/default https://vv2.ap-accessgrid.org:8000/Venues/default
Univ. of Manchester (UK) https://sam.ag.manchester.ac.uk:8000/Venues/default https://ag2server.ag.manchester.ac.uk:8000/Venues/default

NOTE: Under AG2, the ANL server and Institutional Venue Server were operated as separate servers; these have been combined into one server at ANL now.

Diagnostics (for when things aren't working right)

Problem: Can't get a video feed from any of the cameras

Potential Cause:

  • Cameras powered off or disconnected
  • Node configuration not set to S-Video in the VideoProducerService configuration

Problem: Can get audio/video from outside, but they can't see or hear us

Potential Cause:

  • The Talk button is not enabled in the RAT (audio control) window
  • Input is not set to Line In in the RAT (audio control) window
  • Input gain is not set to zero in the RAT (audio control) window
  • RAT (audio control) is not set to use the correct audio card (click Options, then select Audio, then make sure Intel Audio is selected as the device to use)
  • Video capture is not enabled (under Tools menu or short-cut button at top of venue client window)
  • Mute box is checked in VIC (video control) window
  • Check all microphones are enabled in the Gentner audio control application
  • Multicast routing is down (check beacon status via the NCSA AGSchedule website (verify our site can send and receive to/from other multicast beacon sites)

Problem: Multicast is down

What to do:

  1. Notify lab@cs.wisc.edu
  2. Have the node with multicast problems switch to unicast mode. That be our node or a remote node. You can follow the directions above for setting up a multicast-unicast bridge for this purpose or use bridge servers run by the various venue sites.
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