STAMP Workshop FAQ

2024 MIT STAMP Workshop
In-person workshop:
- June 3-6, 2024
- At the MIT Campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts
- Cost: Free to all
Virtual workshop:
- September 23-26, 11am-1pm Eastern Time
- Cost: Free to all
2024 STAMP Workshop quick links:
- What is the annual MIT STAMP Workshop?
- 2024 Workshop General Info
- Program (June, In-person)
- Program (Sept, Virtual)
- Registration
- Video Tutorials on STAMP, STPA, and CAST
- FAQ
- Accommodations and Logistics

Are there any prerequisites for attending?

No, the workshop is free and open to all. You just need to register and have an interest. The workshop provides short tutorials to introduce all of the core concepts needed to follow the rest of the workshop.

What’s the difference between the in-person and virtual workshops?

In-person workshop: About 35-40 hours of content total. The schedule will include about 20 industry presentations (each 20-30 minutes long) and about 18 hours of hands-on interactive content like tutorials. The schedule will include much more variety of content including industry presentations, interactive sessions, networking sessions, open discussions, and other slots.

Virtual workshop: About 8 hours of content total. The schedule will consist of about 10-15 industry presentations each 15-20 minutes long. The presentations are expected to be more formal with sensitive information scrubbed, such as potential mistakes or near misses that may be problematic or people to broadcast or admit openly. No virtual interactive tutorials are planned because the previous virtual tutorials were recorded.

Background: The 2023 MIT STAMP Workshop was hybrid (simultaneously in-person and virtual), but it was extremely hectic to manage with virtual hiccups causing in-person delays and vice versa. There are differences in the constraints and the design of a virtual vs. in-person workshop. The average attention spans differ between in-person and virtual events, which is important when determining the lengths of each time slot. In 2023 we made a compromise and used lengths that were in between what the virtual and in-person audience wanted. In-person participants also tend to have no trouble engaging in up to 30-40 hours of content during the week, but we learned from previous years that it’s not so practical to expect most people to engage virtually for 40 hours–whether it’s during a single week or spread over several weeks. The in-person attendees generally requested longer, more extensive, and more in-depth content, while the virtual audience generally requested more concise and straight-to-the-point sessions that didn’t require days or weeks of time commitment. A number of in-person presenters also requested not to be recorded or live streamed since they wanted to discuss sensitive safety challenges openly during their talk while pictures and video are prohibited. For some, significant content would have been scrubbed if they had to present to a virtual audience. These and other considerations led us to plan the 2024 workshop with separate in-person and virtual events.

Compared to the previous workshops, the in-person workshop this year will include more sessions overall, more interactive content like tutorials, and longer-duration sessions. None of the in-person workshop will be broadcast in order to enable free and open discussions about potentially sensitive safety and security challenges as well as the solutions that were used. It can be difficult for some presenters to get approval to share or discuss details if the content is being broadcast to thousands of unknown participants and recorded for the world in perpetuity, so the style of presentation will be different than the virtual workshops. The in-person event will also include more networking opportunities than in the past so that participants can meet more people with similar roles and challenges.

The virtual workshop this year will be similar to the virtual portion of last year’s hybrid workshop, with about 2 hours of short talks each day over 3-4 days. We expect thousands of virtual participants again this year, which exceeds the typical limits of the platforms we all use for small virtual meetings. It’s hard to replicate all of the in-person content in a virtual format because common features like breakout rooms and live video/audio from individual participants are not typically possible with meetings of this size. However, the virtual workshop will support some interactive features like chat, Q&A submission, raising your hand, etc., which we’ll utilize to the best of our ability.

If you have any ideas or suggestions about the format for next year, feel free to submit a comment when you register!

What platform will be used for the virtual event?

We’ll use the Zoom Webinar platform, which is a special version of Zoom that enables large sizes. A few weeks before the virtual workshop begins, all registered participants will receive an email with instructions on how to attend virtually.

We’re aware that some groups are unable to use Zoom due to a firewall or other reasons. Here are the options we’re aware of:

  • Some have told us that they can participate in Zoom events by using a home computer or by turning off the VPN, as long as they will not be sharing any work-related, secret, or proprietary information.
  • Some have told us that they can use Zoom in a web browser (which requires different permissions) but not the standalone Zoom client. Both of those options will be available to you.
  • Zoomgov.com is another alternative. It is hosted in the U.S. with stricter security requirements and was designed to allow U.S. government, military, and defense employees to attend Zoom meetings. When you receive the email with your personal zoom link, scroll towards the bottom of that email and find the Webinar ID. Go to Zoomgov.com and enter that Webinar ID. We have run tests and confirmed that it works with a handful of military/defense attendees that are behind firewalls that block regular Zoom. Your situation may vary.
  • We will set up an alternative stream outside of Zoom. A few weeks before the workshop begins, registered participants will receive an email with instructions for an alternative stream.

What if I still can’t access Zoom?

When you register, you’ll receive instructions on how to access an alternative stream

What if I’m in a distant timezone and cannot attend the virtual sessions live?

The alternative stream will allow a 24-hour delayed rebroadcast to accommodate distant timezones. When you register, you’ll receive instructions on how to access the alternative stream.

Do I need a camera to attend the virtual sessions?

Due to the size of the audience, cameras and audio will be disabled unless you are a presenter. You will not see any buttons to mute/unmute audio or to start your camera because these are disabled.

If I have connection trouble and then rejoin the virtual sessions, will I see the chat and Q&A history from before I dropped out?

You will not see the chat history from before you rejoined. You will see the Q&A history from before you joined.

Will the talks be recorded so I can view later?

The in-person event will not be recorded.

The virtual event will have some talks that are recorded and some that are not. There are two issues:

1) We need permission from speakers to post recordings. We cannot guarantee the answers. Many of the applications and results are sensitive because they are producing safety-critical and security-critical findings on real projects. Getting approval to speak in person is often easier than getting approval for a recording that is posted indefinitely.

2) MIT was sued for posting free videos that did not adhere to certain requirements. So we are not allowed to easily or immediately post videos, and there is a process we must follow. The process must be done in our free time since there is limited or no funding to support it.

Our intent is to eventually post videos of the sessions that are broadcast virtually once the official process has been followed. Videos will not be posted for the in-person-only sessions. We expect that slides for most talks will be posted, pending approval by authors.

Do you have advice on hotels and other logistics for attending in person?

Yes! See STAMP Workshop Accomodation and Logistics

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