Virtual Environment Position Paper
Technical Program Manager
Software Development Group
National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA)
Virtual Environments and the WWW
NCSA has been a player in the Internet arena since the center began in
1986. One of
it's first major contributions was NCSA Telnet which is still being used
today. We are
best known, however, for our work in the web environment. NCSA Mosaic
TM was one of the prime factors in initiating the web
Prior to the work with NCSA Mosaic TM and the web one of
focuses for the Software Development Group was real-time synchronous
The result of this work was a tool called NCSA Collage. NCSA Collage was
image analysis tool coupled with a set of real-time synchronous
such as a whiteboard, chat, collaborative editing and more. We are now
bring the real-time functionality of NCSA Collage into the web environment.
An important next step in the webs evolution is the ability to do more
than just surf.
In other words, how can a group accomplish their tasks utilizing the web
as a medium?
This requires both asynchronous and synchronous tools as well as a space
to work in.
One way to organize all the tools, information and resources is build a
environment to house them. NCSA is currently working on such an
environment. (Current Version) This
designed to house all manor of tools and thus take advantage in the rapid
One of the things that we've been working to identify is a listing of the
objects that would be a part of virtual workspace.
What type of tools are necessary to provide a complete collaborative
What things would tool and other environment creators find useful in an API to
interconnect with the NCSA VE?
What types user interfaces work best in a collaborative environment?