By Jane Horrell 29 March 2020
A team of neuroscientists has organised a virtual seminar including an ‘online dating’ system.
The international research community is finding alternative ways of getting together to present their work, exchange ideas, and make new connections with like-minded people in their area with academic conferences cancelled worldwide due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
This week, Dr Dan Goodman and peers from the University of Pennsylvania would be hosting neuromatch — a free, web-based “unconference” for neuroscientists. Along with online presentations from invited speakers, the big event carries a computer-assisted online-networking element, adjusted through the mind-matching sessions which are a current function associated with the intellectual Computational Neuroscience (CCN) seminar. ”
“a serious conferences that are few present talks online” says Dan, “but that just captures a number of the seminar experience. A vital component is meeting new individuals and beginning new collaborations. “
The mind-matching system makes use of abstracts of submitted research papers, and applies device algorithms that are learning to immediately match individuals for a few 15-minute one-to-one chats — which Dan describes as a little like scholastic speed-dating.
“The matching algorithm functions by finding categories of boffins whom utilize similar terms and combinations of terms to explain their research, and excluding pairs whom already fully know one another. Allowing it recommend meetings that are new those who usually do not know already one another, but should really, according to their research interest. ”
He had been really impressed using the real-life version at CCN. “It worked very well. As an example, i ran across a couple have been doing extremely projects that are similar me personally — but none of us knew one another. “
Breaking the ice, without warming our planet
The group is keen to reduce the environmental impact of academic conferences with an eye to the future and the climate emergency. Having approximated that delegates might have travelled a complete of approximately 3 million kilometres to simply one seminar this past year, that they had currently prepared to keep an on-line networking occasion later on come early july.
In reaction to conferences abruptly being terminated, Dan and their peers have already been able to organise and bring forward neuromatch rapidly. Numerous leading speakers out of this year’s cancelled events are participating, plus in simply fourteen days the programme that is two-day of, discussion teams and networking has drawn over 1,200 registrations and 100 speaks.
The origin rule shall be released as open source making sure that other seminar organisers can give it a shot for themselves. Dan has also a final year undergraduate student project focusing on the scalability regarding the algorithms and their application with other systematic disciplines and past.
“Longer term, we would like to own sort of social networking where individuals can register and it also sporadically proposes brand brand new matches for them — like a website that is dating boffins! “
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Jane Horrell Department of Electric and Electronic Engineering
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