Technology is awesome. The high point of geekism and nerdity of this year is the MATLAB Virtual Conference. This, I dare to predict, is The Future. As flying across the world is increasingly difficult to justify for environmental reasons, building virtual meeting places and having virtual gatherings and learning to work in online communities is the way to collaborate from at home.
I still think that nothing replaces actual, face-to-face interaction and I do think we need more of that, not less, but there are many occasions where less interaction will do. The MATLAB Virtual Conference is today, and it is a lot of fun. Well, “fun” in my geeky standards, at least. There are more than 7000 registered participants from all over the world. I’d like to see an actual conference with this kind of attendance… There are conference talks in parallel sessions, there is an exhibition hall where you can visit exhibition booths, chat with presenters and other guests, and you can network using various tools that are similar to any social network. Presentations can be downloaded or saved to conference briefcase, at exhibition hall there are videos and links… You can also ask questions after the presentations using a simple form that attaches your business card to the question, so that the presenter knows who is asking what. The presenters are then available for one-on-one chats at the exhibition booths afterwards, much like in actual conferences you can go and talk to people at coffee breaks.
This event is organised by MATLAB and it is their PR event more than an actual academic conference with CFP’s and speakers from various different institutions. However, the platform for this conference, by UNISFAIR could well be used for that.
There’s now a lecture starting on developing algorithms for MATLAB, so I’ll go to the conference room to join in the fun. And just for fun, here are some screenshots of the virtual venue.