By Jane Horrell 29 March 2020
A team of neuroscientists has organised a digital meeting integrating an ‘online dating’ system.
With educational conferences cancelled internationally due into the Covid-19 pandemic, the worldwide research community is finding alternate means of getting together presenting their work, exchange a few ideas, while making new connections with like-minded individuals within their area.
This week, Dr Dan Goodman and colleagues through the University of Pennsylvania should be hosting neuromatch — a free, web-based “unconference” for neuroscientists. Along with online presentations from invited speakers, the function includes a computer-assisted online-networking element, adjusted through the mind-matching sessions being a current function for the Cognitive Computational Neuroscience (CCN) seminar. ”
“a serious few seminars already current talks online” says Dan, “but that just captures a number of the seminar experience. A important part is fulfilling brand new individuals and starting new collaborations. “
The mind-matching system makes use of abstracts of submitted research papers, and applies device learning algorithms, 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 sets upforit app of researchers who utilize comparable words and combinations of terms to explain their research, and excluding pairs whom already fully know one another. Allowing it suggest meetings that are new people who usually do not already know just each other, but should really, according to their research interest. ”
He had been really impressed using the real-life version at CCN. “It worked very well. For instance, i ran across a couple have been doing really projects that are similar me — but none of us knew each other. “
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 believed that delegates might have travelled a complete of approximately 3 million kilometres to simply one conference just last year, that they had currently planned to carry an on-line networking occasion later on come early july.
In reaction to seminars abruptly being terminated, Dan along with his peers have now been in a position to organise and bring ahead neuromatch rapidly. Many leading speakers with this 12 months’s cancelled activities are participating, as well as in simply fourteen days the two-day programme of presentations, conversation teams and networking has drawn over 1,200 registrations and 100 speaks.
The foundation code will be released as open source to make certain that other seminar organisers can give it a try on their own. Dan comes with a year that is final student project focusing on the scalability for the algorithms and their application to many other clinical disciplines and beyond.
“Longer term, we would like to own sort of myspace and facebook where people can subscribe and it occasionally proposes brand new matches for them — like a dating site for experts! “
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Jane Horrell Department of Electric and Electronic Engineering
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