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DeepTalk a Conference April 17, 2009

Posted by gordonwatts in DeepTalk.

Ever wanted to view all the slides from one conference at once, on a really big (or small) screen? And zoom in on just the talks that looked interesting? Well, now you can: DeepTalk. :-)

This was one of my hobby projects. Most of the work was done the evenings while I was on sabbatical. Since I’ve returned to UW development has slowed way down – but I managed to finish up a web site version of this for the CHEP 2009 conference (and presented a poster on it).

The idea is pretty simple. Download all the slides from a conference in an Indico web site, lay them out on a very large gym floor. Then zoom the camera way way out. That is the initial view when you are looking at a conference (for example, the Chamonix workshop discussing the future of the LHC). You can then zoom in using your mouse scroll wheel (or just doing a single click with your left mouse button), pan around by click-and-dragging, etc. If you have a conference you want rendered, there is a small text box at the bottom of the page – just put in an indico web site URL for the conference main agenda page and it will get queued for rendering (or take you to the correct web page if it has already been rendered).

It is based on Silverlight (which runs on Windows and Mac – Linux coming when Moonlight makes its 2.0 releases). There are some known bugs, but if you see other things or additions you think would be cool, definitely send a comment! I’ve been having a lot of fun using it to browse conferences I’ve missed (which is most of them, obviously).

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1. Andy - April 18, 2009

It works well, Gordon, even on my XP machine with Firefox!
A couple comments/suggestions though (I’ve been in EB review for what feel like most of my life, so I am looking for any outlet to _give_ criticisms! :))
– Make it easy to go to the original indico agenda
– Make it easy to download the pdf of an interesting talk
– Don’t need the first slide in small view – it’s already in big view
– But most important, I don’t find it easy to go through the slides with this interface… you have to use the mouse to get to the right zoom level, and then pan using mouse through the slides. It would be great to double-click on a slide, have it zoom to fill most of the screen, and then be able to hit the right/left arrow keys to switch slides.

2. Gordon Watts - April 18, 2009

hey Andy – I really like the double-click idea. You can go right past all the layers of slides to the one you want if you spot it. Brilliant. I’ll add it to the do to list (http://deeptalks.codeplex.com/WorkItem/AdvancedList.aspx – select the Deeptalk web control component to see the list). The other one that was suggested a lot was using the arrow keys – the left/right to to next/previous slide. Up/Down would zoom in/out (Meeting->Session->Talk and back). What do you think of that?

The PDF link has also been suggested – I need to get that in. Also a link to the conference web site so you can do for the whole agenda if you want.

The first slide is like that because you’d be surprised how many people combine title & content – so when you are zoomed all the way in sometimes you have to look back at the first slide. So, for now, I think I’ll keep that in.

As far as navagation – i hear you. I designed this thing for browsing. Of course, the problem is as soon as you find something you like you really want to page through it more carefully – and the current interface breaks down.

Upgrades! :-) It will take a while, of course. And some fairly serious bug fixes are coming first (look at how the CHEP conference was rendered – you’ll see lots of errors in the rendering there).

3. peter morley - August 20, 2009

Did the Fermilab group announce anything exciting at the 2009 lepton-photon conference concerning seeing the Higgs?

4. peter morley - August 20, 2009

My understanding is that no one has showed a radiative correction that proves that the Higgs scalar actually exists. Does anyone know of a counter-claim?

5. Gordon Watts - August 21, 2009

Updated exclusion limits were shown, and progress continues. We also continue to be able to see more of the backgrounds that are sitting at just slightly higher rates than the Higgs x-section for low mass.

I’m not sure what you are refering to – radiative correction that proves the Higgs exists. Something like the Higgs mechanism must exist – otherwise our SM doesn’t get the experimentally measured values of the bosons and fermions. But I don’t think anyone would claim it has to be the Higgs as we are currently talking about it. We all just think it is the most likely because it is the least amount of work you have to do to fix up the SM. But if you look at the most likely value of the SM Higgs due to radiative corrections – it is 87 GeV and we keep making the upper limit lower and lower. The direct search is at 114 GeV – so what is going on? At the moment the 87 number has very large error bars – so these two measurements aren’t incompatible. But who knows if we are seeing the first signs of something more radical than the SM Higgs everyone has been betting on?!

peter morley - August 21, 2009

Peter Higgs was asked (while visiting CERN) what did he think was the probability that the Higgs particle will be found. He replied 90%. That’s telling because he could have said 99.99%. Thus he doesn’t think it’s a slam-dunk. Why not? Well, scalar mesons are the graveyard of physics, beginning with the non-existent sigma of Yukawa quanta history. Also, he knows that the Higgs particle doesn’t explain the origin of mass: it just pushes the value of masses to the Higgs coupling constant. He understands as well that by fixing the vector boson masses you also fix the vacuum energy, wrong by an embarrassing amount. Mass is the gravitational coupling constant so it seems incredulous that you can explain it without including gravity. So I disagree with you that the Higgs particle must exist – in fact, I think the new collider will never see it.

6. Gordon Watts - August 21, 2009

If you mean “it just pushes the value of masses to the Higgs coupling constant” meaning that it just adds another unknown to the SM, the higgs mass and the yukawa couplings, that are parameters to the model rather than having them explained from first principles – fine, no problem. But the whole of the SM is like that, so by that line of argument how does anythign else in the SM exist?

And as far as not involving gravity – mass appears everywhere in the SM, but no gravity. So I see no reason why we can’t continue.

And mass most certianly isn’t the gravitational coupling constant. I’m sure it is involved – the same way mass is involved in almost every other calculation.

Finally, when I said something like the Higgs mech must exist – I meant just that. I’m not saying the higgs as it is currently envisioned must exist. But something must exist to correct the masses. Perhaps it is some gravity motivated coupling – who knows?

So what gravity motivated theories do you have in mind as a replacement?

At any rate – it isn’t all that useful to argue too much over this: we have to wait and see what happens! And doing the work of finding it is the fun part anyway (or not finding it!).

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