By Jane Horrell 29 March 2020
A small grouping of neuroscientists has organised a digital meeting 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 will likely be hosting neuromatch — a free, web-based “unconference” for neuroscientists. Along with online presentations from invited speakers, the big event includes a computer-assisted online-networking element, adjusted through the mind-matching sessions which are a recently available feature of the intellectual Computational Neuroscience (CCN) seminar. ”
“a serious few seminars already current talks online” says Dan, “but that just captures a number of the conference experience. A part that is really important meeting brand brand new people and beginning brand brand new collaborations. “
The mind-matching system makes use of abstracts of submitted research papers, and applies device algorithms that are learning to automatically match individuals for a few 15-minute one-to-one chats — which Dan defines as a little like scholastic speed-dating.
“The matching algorithm functions by finding categories of experts who utilize similar words and combinations of terms to explain their research, and excluding pairs whom already know one another. Allowing it recommend meetings that are new those who try not to already know just each other, but should really, centered on their research interest. ”
He had been really impressed using the real-life version at CCN. “It worked very well. For instance, I realized two different people have been doing very 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 will have travelled a complete of approximately 3 million kilometres to simply one meeting year that is last that they had currently prepared to put up an on-line networking occasion later come early july.
In reaction to seminars instantly being terminated, Dan along with his peers have already been in a position to organise and bring ahead neuromatch rapidly. Many leading speakers using this 12 months’s cancelled occasions are participating, as well as in simply fourteen days the programme that is two-day of, conversation teams and networking has drawn over 1,200 registrations and 100 talks.
The foundation rule shall be released as open source to make certain that other meeting organisers can give it a shot on their own. Dan has also a year that is final student project focusing on the scalability for the algorithms and their application with other scientific disciplines and past.
“Longer term, we want to possess a kind of myspace and facebook where individuals can join and it occasionally proposes brand new matches for them — like a dating internet site for scientists! “
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Jane Horrell Department of Electric and Electronic Engineering
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