By Jane Horrell 29 March 2020

A team of neuroscientists has organised a digital seminar integrating 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 colleagues 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 includes a computer-assisted online-networking element, adapted through the mind-matching sessions which can be a current function of this intellectual have a glimpse at this site Computational Neuroscience (CCN) conference. ”

“a significant conferences that are few current talks online” says Dan, “but that just captures a number of the conference experience. A vital component is fulfilling brand brand new individuals and beginning brand new collaborations. “

The mind-matching system makes use of abstracts of submitted research papers, and applies device learning algorithms, to immediately match participants for a number of 15-minute one-to-one chats — which Dan defines as a little like educational speed-dating.

“The matching algorithm functions by finding categories of researchers who utilize similar terms and combinations of terms to explain their research, and excluding pairs whom know already one another. Allowing it recommend brand new conferences between those who cannot know already one another, but should really, predicated on their research interest.

He was really impressed using the real-life version at CCN. “It worked wonderfully. As an example, i came across a couple have been doing really comparable jobs to me personally — but none of us knew one another. “

Breaking the ice, without warming the earth

The group is keen to reduce the environmental impact of academic conferences with an eye to the future and the climate emergency. Having projected that delegates could have travelled an overall total of approximately 3 million kilometres to simply one seminar this past year, that they had currently prepared to put up an on-line networking occasion later on come early july.

In reaction to seminars unexpectedly being cancelled, Dan along with his peers have now been in a position to organise and bring ahead neuromatch very quickly. Numerous leading speakers out of this year’s cancelled occasions are participating, plus in simply fourteen days the two-day programme of presentations, discussion teams and networking has drawn over 1,200 registrations and 100 talks.

The origin code will be released as open source in order for other seminar organisers can give it a shot on their own. Dan comes with a year that is final student project taking care of the scalability for the algorithms and their application to many other systematic disciplines and past.

“Longer term, we want to own a kind of myspace and facebook where individuals can subscribe and it also occasionally proposes brand new matches to them — like a website that is dating boffins! “

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Jane Horrell Department of Electric and Electronic Engineering

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