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Hosting an NCL workshop

If you are interested in hosting an NCL workshop at your site, please look over this page and then fill out this request form.

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 morning.

  • 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, who also help out during the hands-on labs. Sometimes a third person will come along to help with the labs, depending on the size of the class.

  • 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 on:

  • 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 costs.

  • 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 pre-workshop survey 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 workshop lectures.

  • 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.

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.