Virtual ASPECT user meeting?

Hi all,
It has been a while since many of us met at the ASPECT hackathon, and there are always more users interested in joining than we can admit. We (at CIG) were thinking about testing an additional way to connect the community by holding a virtual mini workshop to make communicating with other users easier and more inclusive. It would be a venue to present latest feature additions, discuss a few interesting science applications, and leave room for discussions (possibly in smaller breakout groups) between all of us. All of it would be organized via Zoom and Google Docs, distributed over a few days (2-4), which would only be filled part-day to leave people room to organize their daily routines and to make the schedule work for as many time zones as possible. The most likely timeframe for it would be around February/March (long enough after AGU, but far enough before the next hackathon).

My question at this point would be: Is this something you would find interesting for you and you would consider participating? We realize the meeting would be somewhat fluid and people would most likely drop-in/drop-out as they are available, but it also sounds like a nice way to stay connected and meet new members of our community as well as learn about cool new applications and the latest developments without following every message on github. Before spending a lot of effort on figuring out how the meeting would work in detail or start organizing everything we wanted to gauge the interest and ask for opinions on the idea. If you do not think this would work, do you have a different proposal (e.g. should we revive the regular online calls that died out after last AGU)?
Your thoughts and feedback are highly appreciated.



Hi Rene,

for those of us with teaching obligations it is difficult to put aside 2-4 days, but it sounds like it might be a good way to work on some joint projects. I think it would be necessary to make a plan beforehand to decide what to work on. I am not sure how well this would work, but it is worth trying.

Yes. I see that as an independent thing to the other suggestion.

Yes, this was not meant to say everyone has to be there during the whole time for every day (otherwise we would need to organize an in-person meeting). We would need to schedule who presents when and what topics will be discussed at what time so that everyone can plan accordingly.

That is fair. I would also like to revive that, but it turned out to be quite some work to come up with interesting topics every two weeks. Maybe we can rotate responsibility for leading these meetings around?

We can also try that.
Also, I would be fine in making them more informal and not prepare topics to present. Instead, we can just chat to see if there are any open issues/PRs we should look at together for example.

1 Like

@gassmoeller - I’m strongly in favor of holding the virtual mini workshop. I’ve spoken with a number of overseas groups that are interested in contributing to the code and this would be a great way to initiate that process. As you nicely laid out, lots of benefits and very easy to setup and run relative to a in person (non-virtual) meeting.

Also, I would be fine in making them more informal and not prepare topics to present. Instead, we can just chat to see if there are any open issues/PRs we should look at together for example

I think that is a great idea as well. The informal group PR reviews and discussion we have at Davis are incredibly productive. Expanding these types of discussion to a wider group could end up being a great introduction for people interested in contributing to the code. Also, lots of very technical discussions going on right over email with various groups that others are likely interested in.

I’m definitely up for a Virtual Mini Workshop (VMW), great idea!
It would be an excellent way to concentrate on ASPECT and discuss open projects. There might be one or two others from Bristol/Cardiff who would be interested as well.


Dear Rene,

Great idea, thanks: I will definitely try to attend if possible in case this would be organised.

Best regards,


Hi Rene and everyone,

I would also be glad to join, that sounds very good.


Hi all,
Thanks for your replies, it seems there is quite some interest for a meeting. Let us figure out some details on our end, and I will come back to you about this, most likely with a poll about the best time and dates.


Hi Rene,
This sounds like it will be useful. I will encourage my student to participate and I may bop in on occasion.

Thank you Garrett Ito (Univ. Hawaii)

Hi Rene,

Wonderful idea. I will definitely participate this virtual workshop along with my colleague.

Best regards
Joyjeet ( Jadavpur University, India)

Hi all,
so here is a bit more information about the planning status of the meeting.

I made up a rough first draft of a schedule, and shared it here:

I spread out every category across the different time blocks so that at least some of them fall into reasonable times for most of us. While we should follow the times to allow participants to schedule, we can be somewhat flexible concerning topics and what we do within those times (e.g. if presentations are shorter we can add time for discussions, or work on projects). If you want to present a publications of yours using ASPECT feel free to add you to the list of paper publications. We might need to select or reschedule if there is too much interest, but I thought it would be a good idea. Also if you are interested in adding topics to the discussions or talks then feel free to do so. Before doing so, please consider if it is appropriate for a larger user group, if it mostly concerns a very special group it is a better topic for the model building or coding group parts.

Coming to the question of scheduling: For organizational reasons at CIG, February would be complicated to organize, so Mid-End January or Early-Mid March would be a reasonable timeline. I would like to ask for a vote of which weeks and which days are most convenient for you. Remember you do not have to be at every event and it is absolutely impossible to find a week that works for everyone, just mark up which weeks would at least work part-time for you.

Preferred days:

  • Monday
  • Tuesday
  • Wednesday
  • Thursday
  • Friday

0 voters

Preferred Weeks:

  • January, 13th-17th
  • January, 20th-24th
  • January, 27th-31st
  • March, 2nd-6th
  • March, 9th-13th
  • March, 16th-20th

0 voters

Please post if you have any suggestions or feedback. Also please fill out the polls so that we can find the best timing for everyone.


Thanks for organizing, Rene! I find it hard to fill out the “days” poll, as it depends on the week. We are looking for 3 consecutive days, anyways…

Hi All,

Apologies for dropping the ball about the virtual workshop for a month. It seems like we got the most votes for the week of Jan 20th-24th, and for the days from Tuesday to Thursday, so unless there are compelling reasons to do it on a different time, I would say lets fix this time frame.

With AGU around the corner we are likely too busy to organize the detailed schedule before Christmas, but when you have a free 10 minutes before next year, I would like you to take a look at the linked google document in my last post and fill in topics for discussions or presentations you would like to see at the workshop (the green areas, can also be your AGU presentation, or your latest ASPECT applications). I will take some time early next year to contact and organize speakers.

One more thing: I organized the talk times around pacific working time, but if someone in Europe or at the East coast is willing to lead earlier meetings that is fine with me, just let me know.