Scientific conferences and meetings have an important role in research, but they also suffer from a number of disadvantages: in particular, they can have a massive carbon footprint, they are time-consuming, and the high costs involved in attending can exclude many potential participants. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the cancellation of many conferences, forcing the scientific community to explore online alternatives.

We (Kording lab and Goodman lab) and Titipat Achakulvisut long wanted to introduce mind-matching as a social component to a free online service. The matching algorithm matches registered attendees based on their submitted research interests (as implied by their abstracts). By matching each scientist with other scientists with similar interest it provides a networking opportunity.

We also follow legacy conferences format with a set of invited talks, contributed talks selected from abstract submissions, parallel short talks, and poster sessions.

Currently, we intend to arrange the conference at least yearly. We hope that this will give a sustainable meeting for the community in the future with more accessibility, inclusivity, and diversity. We also hope that some of our approaches we do will be useful for other emerging online conferences. We hope that a shift from legacy to online conferences will make science better and be less harmful to the environment.

The team

Organizers · Dan Goodman (Imperial), Konrad Kording (UPenn), Brad Wyble (Penn State), Titipat Achakulvisut (UPenn), Tim Vogels (Oxford), Chris Rozell (Georgia Tech), Yiota Poirazi (IMBB/FORTH), Grace Lindsay (UCL)
Co-organizers · Selim Mel Atay, Isil Bilgin, Sofie Van Den Bossche, Anibal Sólon Heinsfeld, Danny Garside (NIH)
Career · Brad Wyble (Penn State), Ida Momennejad (Columbia), Maria Reva (EPFL)
Reviewers · Peer Herholz, Selim (Mel) Atay, Anibal Solon Heinsfeld, JP Manzano, Damion Demeter, Austin Benn, John Butler, Ari Benjamin, Brad Wyble, Konrad Kording, Dan Goodman, Sofie VD Bossche, Roozbeh Farhoodi, Adeel Razi, Jyothirmayi Vadlamudi, Ceren Battal, Isil Bilgin
Tech · Tulakan Ruangrong (Mahidol U), Titipat Achakulvisut (UPenn), Pattarawat Chormai (Max Planck School of Cognition)

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