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USC SCA "Alternate Endings" wins CENIC award for Educational Applications

Educational Applications: Alternate Endings

On September 15, 2008 as part of a showcase of high-bandwidth demonstrations using CalREN's experimental and high-performance networking tiers, an audience in the highly networked Atkinson Hall on the UC San Diego campus was treated to the remote premiere of Alternate Endings, a high-definition comedy-mystery movie that allows its audience to choose the direction of the plot through one of 16 separate paths. The movie itself, streamed from the Trojan Vision television studios in the Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts, was merged at the various decision points with remote hosts located at USC's School of Cinematic Arts, and sent via CENIC's CalREN to the audience waiting 120 miles away in Atkinson Hall.

Audience feedback was solicited by means of applause, sent back along the CalREN fiber-optic backbone to USC, and used to guide the characters' decisions. Characters' guilt, innocence, and even survival were determined by audience feedback, and the experience was a smashing success, with all technology performing flawlessly. A second viewing took place on December 10 at UCSD, with the same excellent audience experience ... but not the same outcome for the movie!