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Waves Workshops Frequently Asked Questions

The Workshop

The waves summer school is an intensive workshop in wave modeling, aimed at graduate students and professionals. The morning sessions are lectures. We very briefly review some wave modelling basics (action balance equation and source terms, time-stepping - Implicit/Explicit; time splitting; limiters, GSE , etc) and wave physics. It is not necessary to know any particular wave model, although the course will focus on using the WAVEWATCH III model which is written in FORTRAN and runs in a UNIX environment. We go through from installation and compiling, to preparing the input fields, generating the grids necessary to run it, coupling to other systems, using unstructured grids, shallow water physics, data assimilation, model validation, etc.


This year there is funding available to cover the registration costs ($300) for three graduate students in good standing. To be considered for this funding, please send an email to Deanna Spindler explaining your research goals, computer experience, and why you wish to attend the workshop. Please tell us what University you attend, include a copy (not official) of your transcript, and if you can get your advisor or a professor to send us an email recommending you for the workshop that will be an advantage for you. All emails must be received by the end of the day of April 15th of the current year. We will contact applicants with our decision by the 30th of April of the current year.

Letter of Invitation

If you need a letter of invitation, please email Deanna Spindler as soon as possible. The University of Maryland will email you a pdf of the letter.

USA Visa

Many of our participants are from overseas, and may require a visa to enter the USA. The Waves Summer School is held as a workshop so that international participants can attend with just a short-term visitor visa. Even though the workshop is held at the University of Maryland, you are NOT registering as a student at the university.


You do not need to apply for permission to be part of the workshop, but you do need to register. We cannot hold spots for anyone. Since there are only 26 spots available, and people who are wait-listed from previous years are given first choice at these, it is suggested that you register as soon as registration opens. If you go to register and find that the workshop is now full, this year we have a wait-list page where you can enter your information (the link will be posted when we post the link to the registration page). If someone cancels their registration, we offer the spot to whoever is at the top of the wait-list.

The cost of the workshop is US $300. When registration opens, the link to register will be posted on the announcement page (the one where this document is linked). Payment is by credit card. When filling out the registration, make sure to fill in the box that proves you aren't a robot, don't put any spaces in the zip code, and the state/province must be an abbreviation.

Computer Requirements

Working knowledge of UNIX shell coding, FORTRAN, and MATLAB is required. We will have "cheat sheets" and we do tend to write out the entire command lines in the tutorials, but we expect participants to be comfortable moving between directories and renaming and editing files in a UNIX environment for example. We do this a lot in the afternoon tutorials which are hands on - each participant has access to a workstation and personal account.

MATLAB is used for generating the grids for the model and for analyzing the results. All of the commands are fully written out in the tutorial, but it will help if you know what m files are and what the following sort of commands do, for instance:

[lon,lat] = meshgrid(lon1d,lat1d);
coord = [lat_start lon_start lat_end lon_end];
m = ones(size(depth));
m(depth == 999999) = 0;

Here is a list of our most used Linux commands that you should be familiar with and comfortable using:

  • cat
  • cd
  • chmod
  • date
  • for, while, do, done
  • echo
  • if, then, else, elif, fi
  • export
  • find
  • grep
  • ln
  • ls
  • mkdir
  • mv
  • rm
  • source
  • tar
  • touch

As a first step to learning what they are and do, you can open a Linux terminal an type 'man [command]', say:

> man ls

This will give you the short and long of what the command is and does, as well as its options. Other than using man, there are plenty of online resources that can help you understand the basics of Linux shell.

Here is a cheat sheet that contains most of the basic commands that you will need to know. (PDF)


There is no need for you to bring a laptop. The university has a computer lab, and each person will have a workstation with their own account. We actually do not allow people to work on their own laptops - it's too hard to try and help everyone with a different system at the same time.


You are responsible for your accommodations. The university maintains a list of relatively near off-campus accommodations.

We strongly suggest you choose an accommodation that is at most 5 miles from the college campus. Rush hour traffic is very heavy in this area: 5 miles may take you 30 minutes by car, and 45 minutes by bus.

Use to find the distance from the hotel you are considering to the building where the course will be held (4254 Stadium Dr, College Park, MD 20740). Check the route between your hotel and the campus with "arriving by" 8:00am. Google lets you choose if "by car", "by bus", or "walking". If you are staying near enough to walk to the course, be warned that the weather can be very hot and humid in July.

Because lodging is rather expensive, we do keep a list of REGISTERED participants who inquire about sharing accommodations. If we get two women on the list, for example, we give them each other's emails so that they can coordinate. Once you have registered and are interested in sharing accommodation, email to Deanna Spindler

Airports and Public Transportation

Each of the airport websites has information about these services, and you can book online.

  • Reagan National
  • This airport is on the Yellow and Blue lines of the Washington Metro system . The metro fare from the Reagan National Airport Metro Station to the College Park Metro Station is approximately $5.
    Super Shuttle: Approximately $30 one-way.
    Taxi: 15 miles / 25 kilometers. Approximately $40.

  • BWI Thurgood Marshall
  • Super Shuttle: Approximately $30 one-way.
    Taxi: 25 miles / 40 kilometers. Approximately $65.

  • Dulles International
  • The Silver line Express bus goes non-stop between the Dulles Airport and the Wiehle-Reston Metro Station for $5. The Metro fare from the Wiehle-Reston Metro Station to College Park Metro Station is approximately $4
    Super Shuttle: Approximately $40 one-way.
    Taxi: 58 miles / 67 kilometers. Washington Flyer Taxi approximately $85.

  • Public Transportation
  • Three bus services run through College Park: MetroBus, TheBus and ShuttleUM. Bus routes run primarily along Route 1, Rhode Island Avenue, and Paint Branch Parkway. All three bus services have routes that serve the College Park and Greenbelt MetroRail stations on the Green line.

    “Visiting scholars, family members, or event attendees without a University ID may request a letter of permission to ride Shuttle-UM routes or use Shuttle-UM services that do require a UMD ID. A letter on DOTS letterhead will serve as a temporary identification and must be shown to the bus driver upon boarding. Visitors may contact the DOTS Office in person or by phone at 301-405-1222 during business hours to request a letter of permission." ShuttleUM Regulations We have requested letters for all participants, and will hand them out on the first day of the course. To see which routes this service covers, go to ShuttleUM

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    Page last modified: Monday, 25-Feb-2019 17:38:06 UTC