‘Matchmaking and speed-dating’ brings scientists together.

‘Matchmaking and speed-dating’ brings scientists together.

By Jane Horrell 29 March 2020

A team 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 colleagues through the University of Pennsylvania will likely to be neuromatch that is hosting a free, web-based “unconference” for neuroscientists. Along with online presentations from invited speakers, the function carries a computer-assisted online-networking element, adjusted through the mind-matching sessions which can be a current feature for the intellectual Computational Neuroscience (CCN) conference. ”

“Quite a conferences that are few current talks online” says Dan, “but that just captures some of the meeting experience. A part that is really important fulfilling brand brand new individuals and starting brand 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 of boffins whom utilize comparable terms and combinations of words to explain their research, and excluding pairs whom know already each other. Allowing it suggest new meetings between individuals who never know already one another, but should really, centered on their research interest. ”

He had been really impressed utilizing the real-life version at CCN. “It worked very well. For instance, i ran across a couple who have been doing extremely 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 calculated that delegates might have travelled a complete of approximately 3 million kilometres to just one meeting year that is last that they had currently prepared to put up an on-line networking occasion later on this summer.

As a result to seminars instantly being terminated, Dan along with his peers have now been able to organise and bring ahead neuromatch very quickly. Numerous leading speakers using this year’s cancelled occasions are participating, as well as in just a couple of weeks the programme that is two-day of, conversation teams and networking has drawn over 1,200 registrations and 100 talks.

The foundation code will be released as open source making sure 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 regarding the algorithms and their application to many other clinical disciplines and past.

“Longer term, we would like to possess sort of myspace and facebook where individuals can subscribe and it occasionally proposes brand 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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