SLiM Workshops: Information for Hosts  

This page is a collection of information for those who are hosting, or considering hosting, a SLiM workshop at their institution. If you are interested in attending a SLiM workshop, rather than hosting, please see the information for attendees. I've tried to make the information here as detailed as I could, to avoid any possible misunderstandings; please let me know if you have any remaining questions.


Attendees should be welcome from both inside and outside your institution, if at all possible, but you may give registration priority to attendees affiliated with your institution if you wish. We'll set up a registration deadline for the workshop that is more than a month prior to the workshop start, so that applicants can be notified of acceptance and make travel arrangements well in advance. A maximum of 30 attendees is probably usually a good idea, but ~20 is probably better to keep things manageable. On the flip side, a minimum of 10 attendees probably makes sense in most cases, since running a workshop is quite a bit of work for me. If the workshop is publicized well in advance and is open to outside attendees, it will probably attract some outside applicants; but please make sure there is significant interest within your institution, too. Attendance at a workshop should be free; I want to keep these workshops as accessible as possible for attendees from countries where funding is difficult.


A classroom or lecture hall will need to be reserved for one full week – five full consecutive weekdays, 8 AM to 6 PM. There should be ample desk space for each attendee – space for a laptop to be used, optionally with a mouse, plus space for papers. The room should have a projector at the front, connectable by HDMI or DVI. Ideally, a sound system that can amplify both (a) a collar mic or similar (which you provide), and (b) line out from a laptop (but no need for both inputs at the same time) should be provided, especially if attendance will be toward the high end of the range. Ideally, wi-fi access would be provided for attendees (most of whom are probably set up with eduroam).

Computer hardware:

There must be one Mac computer per attendee, so that they can run the SLiMgui graphical modeling environment (which runs only on macOS). This is not optional; this workshop cannot be taught just using SLiM at the Unix command line. There are two ways this can work. One way is that the classroom has a Mac at every desk, with the necessary software (see below) already set up for each attendee; this is ideal, since then we know that hardware and software issues are handled for everyone. The other way is that every attendee must bring their own Mac, with the necessary software preinstalled; this is potentially problematic since (a) some attendees may not have a Mac laptop they can bring, and (b) per-individual software installation issues may prove difficult and time-consuming. Nevertheless, it is a possibility, especially in countries such as the U.S. where Macs are common; in Europe, Macs are uncommon enough that a Mac-equipped classroom may be a necessity.

The Macs should be running macOS 10.11 (or later), with at least 8 GB of RAM. The workshop will not be terribly processor-intensive; fast machines are not essential. No special graphics hardware, etc., is needed, and no access to other computing facilities (like a cluster) is needed.

Computer software:

The software needed on each Mac is spelled out in detail in the information for attendees. If you plan to provide a Mac at each seat in the classroom (see above), that software should be installed, by you, before the start of the workshop; I cannot manage the installation of software on dozens of Macs. The IT department of your institution may provide assistance with this. If you are providing Macs with preinstalled software, please have the contact information for a responsible party in the IT department who will be available during the workshop to handle issues, and please have, if possible, the administrator password for the Macs so that we can resolve issues ourselves if necessary. If some software issue arises that we cannot fix, and we can't find anybody else to help us, that's pretty much the end of the workshop.

Food & beverages:

A plan of some sort needs to exist for lunches during the workshop. If there are nearby places to eat, within easy walking distance, that are reasonably cheap and quick, the workshop can break for lunch each day. Otherwise, it might be necessary for bag lunches or catered lunches to be provided to attendees; requiring attendees to bring their own lunches may not work well, since some attendees may not have access to a kitchen, refrigerator, etc., where they are staying. In any case, a workable lunch plan is needed.

Some kind of refreshments should ideally be provided for breaks during the workshop – coffee, tea, bottled fruit juice, pastries, fresh fruit, cookies, that sort of thing. This doesn't need to be fancy, but it's nice to be able to have breaks with refreshments so people can refuel and socialize before plunging into the next lesson. Make sure food/beverages are allowed in the room you have reserved; if not, a separate break area, even in a hallway, might be needed.

Please keep in mind that some people might have dietary restrictions; food options for people who are vegetarian or vegan should exist, in particular.


There will be roughly 30 handouts per attendee – workshop exercises, reference sheets, etc. For 30 attendees, that comes out to 30x30 = 900 handouts, or roughly 3000 printed pages — this is a non-trivial amount of printing! The handouts will need to be printed by you, the host, prior to the start of the workshop; I cannot bring handouts with me in my suitcase. The handouts should be printed in color, two-sided, with staples; hopefully you can find a departmental printer capable of doing such a large job. If not, you may need to have the print job done by a local print shop. You will be provided with a link to the handouts to be printed, well before the workshop date.


Reimbursement is expected for my travel and lodging; I do not expect reimbursement for food expenses, nor for classroom hours. I try to keep my expenses low – I'm not going to fly first class or stay in fancy hotel suites. :-> However, since I am tall, I do prefer to get an economy-plus seat with extra legroom, especially for international flights. I generally try to find an Airbnb near the workshop venue; I look for a cheap option that provides me with my own unit with a private bathroom (not just a bedroom in someone's house). If such an Airbnb within walking distance can't be found, I'll try to find a cheap-ish hotel room, but not necessarily the very cheapest available. For a five-day workshop I will generally expect reimbursement for 7–8 nights of accommodation, so that I have a full day to acclimate and get over jet lag before the workshop begins, and perhaps a day afterwards for travel flexibility. I prefer to arrange my own travel and lodging and submit receipts for reimbursement; dealing with institutional travel agencies is too complicated, especially since my travel plans are often complex, involving other workshops, conferences, etc. that scheduled around the workshop you are hosting. If your institution is within North America, I will only expect you to reimburse within-North-America flights, even if I am in fact flying from elsewhere. If you are outside North America, and I do not already plan to be in your country for other reasons, then I may expect you to reimburse the full international flight costs, even if I then find other ways to leverage those international flights for other work or for pleasure. The flight dates that I purchase may or may not be close to the workshop dates themselves, depending upon other travel plans. If I can find ways to divide travel costs across multiple institutions, I will certainly do so, but I cannot commit to finding such cost reductions ahead of time.


The bottom line on payment is that I am happy to give SLiM workshops for free. However, it is a lot of work for me, and takes me away from other work I would be doing, and then too, there are always expenses involved with traveling that do not get reimbursed (more expensive food, in particular, compared to eating at home). For these reasons, if your funding allows you to offer an honorarium that would be greatly appreciated. Please do try to locate such funding; but if you can't, it is not required, as I know that money can be tight particularly for institutions in less affluent countries.