Hosting an NCL workshop
If you are interested in hosting an NCL workshop at your site, please read everything on this page, and then email the required information.
- General workshop information
- Email us with necessary information
- Minimal requirements for computer lab
- Minimal requirements for students
General NCL workshop information
- NCL workshops are generally 3.5 days in length, from Tuesday
morning to Friday at noon. There are lectures in the morning on the
first three days, and hands-on labs in the afternoons and Friday
- For a sample workshop schedule, see:
- Depending on the location, we sometimes like to reserve Monday to
familiarize ourselves with the area and to check out the lab. We are
flexible on this, however. For example, some sites like to have the
workshop from Monday-Thursday and have Friday reserved as a special
day for advance topics, for helping students install NCL on their
personal machines, or for one-on-one consulting. We are happy to work
with you on special requirements.
- We only offer workshops to groups involved in climate,
atmospheric, and related sciences.
- Workshops are co-taught by two instructors: a scientist who's an
expert in data formats and computational analysis, and an NCL
developer who's an expert in NCL graphics and software installation.
- If you are a U.S. college or university, then NCAR/CISL may be
able to help share the cost of the workshop.
- If you are not a U.S. college or university, then you will likely
be required to pay for airfare, lodging, local transportation, and per
diem for two instructors for roughly 5-6 days. There's also a set of
printed materials that we ask you provide for each student.
- Once we receive your email request for hosting a workshop, we will
return your email as soon as possible with a cost estimate based
- Institutions in the United States: GSA guidelines (click on "Per Diem Rates")
- Institutions outside the United States: U.S. Department of State guidelines (click on "Foriegn Per Diem Rates")
- A typical workshop hosted in the United States for 2 instructors
can cost about $4000-$5500 total, depending on the location and time
of year. The costs include airfare, lodging, local transportation,
material printing and shipping, and per diem. NCAR/CISL does not
charge any fees for the workshop itself. We are fine with a hosting
institution that wants to charge attendees a fee in order to cover
- We like to have about 14-16 students per workshop. We welcome and
encourage faculty members to attend as well. If there are more than
14-16 students and there are funds available, then we will consider
bringing a third person to help during the hands-on lab sessions. If
you don't have 14-16 interested students, then you can consider
inviting students from other institutions (colleges, universities,
research labs, etc) to attend. This can also help to defray costs.
- Workshops are geared towards new users of NCL who have some
programming experience (Fortran, Matlab, IDL, Python, etc) and
knowledge of UNIX. We can also target more advanced users if
needed. Users with little or no UNIX or programming experience will
likely be lost in this workshop.
- Students must meet
a minimal set of
requirements, listed below. They will be required to fill out a
which we use for registration purposes, and to determine if they have
enough UNIX knowledge. We also use the survey to determine what kind
of research they are working on, so we can potentially customize the
- The most important part of the NCL workshops are the hands-on
labs. Hosting institutions must therefore be able to provide a
computer lab where students can logon to individual machines, download
their data, and use NCL to analyze it. Here are
the minimal set of requirements
for the computer lab.
Email us with necessary information
To request an NCL workshop at your site, send Mary Haley, Dennis Shea, and Jennifer Williamson an email with complete answers to the following questions. They will respond to your email as soon as possible to provide you with a cost estimate, to ask follow-up questions, and/or to narrow down the dates.
- Your full name, email address, and title, and the full name of
your institution, and what department (if any) is hosting the
- If students, faculty members, or researchers from other institutions will be attending,
then include the full name of these institutions as well.
- Names of any directors, professors, staff members, etc, that are
helping support this workshop so we can be sure to give proper
- Why you want to host an NCL workshop.
- Date(s) you would be interested in hosting the workshop. This
doesn't have to be specific. You can say "Fall of 2013" or "sometime
in the next 4 months". Please be specific if possible, so we can give
you a better estimate of the cost. We will work with you to select the
exact dates, based on instructor availability.
- Number and type (graduate students, postdocs, faculty members,
researchers, etc) of students you expect to attend. We use this number
to determine if two instructors is enough, or if a third is required
to help during the hands-on lab. We prefer no more than 16 students
per two instructors, and no more than 24 students per three
instructors. We are flexible on this, especially if some of the
students are faculty members who are auditing the course.
- Name & email address of main contact person. This is the person
that we will work with to determine dates, how to handle
registrations, where the workshop will be held, and whether there are
any special requests (like an extra day for advance consulting or
- Name & email address of person to help us with travel questions.
We usually handle our own travel arrangements, but do like to get help
determining where to stay, which airport to fly into, whether we need
to rent a car, etc. (This can be the same as main contact person.)
- Name & email address of person responsible for lab and projector
set up. (This can be the same as main contact person.)
- A confirmation that you can provide
the minimal set of requirements
for a computer lab.
- Will the instructors have access to guest wireless accounts?
- What level of UNIX and programming knowledge do the students have?
- Any special requests that you have. This can be anything from wanting
advanced topics covered, to changing the structure of the workshop, if
Minimal requirements for computer lab
The hands-on lab is where students will really learn NCL. Below are our minimal requirements, but we can be flexible where needed:
- The lectures are held in the same room as the computer lab. (This
is so we can do interactive demos and website tours during our lectures.)
- The lab should be equipped with enough computers for each student,
and, if necessary, students (including students from other
institutions) should be provided with guest logins. We are willing to
have two students share a computer, but would like to have them
working on similar projects if possible.
- If you cannot provide lab computers for each student, then you
can have students bring their own computers. Please be aware that this
presents an additional challenge, as we have to make sure each student
has the necessary software installed.
- We prefer the computers to be running LINUX. If it's some other
operating system, then students must be able to logon remotely
to a UNIX system that has NCL installed.
- Students must have web and s/ftp access to the internet. This is
required so that they can transfer files and get to
the NCL home page.
- The following software should be installed (we can help with some of this):
- The latest version of NCL (Mary will help you with this).
- Internet browser like Firefox or IE.
- UNIX editors like vi, emacs, and nedit.
- A PostScript/PDF/PNG previewer (evince, ghostscript, ghostview, etc).
- Desired but not required:
Minimal requirements for students
- A basic knowledge of UNIX (MacOSX, Linux, or X/Cygwin), like how
to list the directory contents, how to move files from one directory
to another, the concept of running programs, how to edit files, how to
use ftp/sftp, etc.
- Know how to edit files using UNIX editors like vi, emacs, or nedit.
- Have written code using an interpreted (e.g. Python, IDL, MATLAB)
or a non-interpreted (e.g. Fortran, C) computer language.
Students who don't have knowledge of UNIX or at least one computer
language will likely find the NCL workshop too advanced.