8th Annual BayesiaLab Conference
The Bayesia Conference Goes Virtual
Given the persistence of COVID-19 restrictions, you will probably not be surprised to hear that we had to cancel the traditional conference program we had originally scheduled for Toronto, October 8–9, 2020. However, we won't let the Coronavirus defeat us, and we will stay on track to deliver the innovations researchers need.
In lieu of our in-person conference, we will be hosting Bayesia's first-ever virtual conference. So, please join us on October 26–30 at the Laval Virtual World for talks, seminars, and poster presentations all around Bayesian networks and BayesiaLab. We promise you, it will be the next best thing to meeting in person.
In terms of VR technology, we are teaming up with Laval Virtual to host the BayesiaLab Conference. As a leading company in this field, they are also the organizers of the International Exhibition and Conference on VR/AR and Immersive Techniques, which traditionally takes place in Laval, France, each year. This year, due to COVID-19, their conference had to go virtual as well. Of course, as hosts of a VR conference, they were in the best position to pick the most advanced solution for the event. They chose VirBELA, and that's going to be our platform as well!
Not Another Zoom Meeting!
In 2020, most of us have already sat through plenty of web meetings. And, we realize that nobody wants to binge-watch a week's worth of presentations on their laptop screen. So, our virtual BayesiaLab Conference will be entirely different!
While you can't be there in person, you are part of the conference by means of an avatar. So, you have a first-person view of the event as if you were in the conference hall yourself. You are able to enter meeting rooms for breakout sessions, connect with fellow attendees, and, most importantly, speak with them naturally, as if they stood next to you.
Our team has already tested the Laval Virtual World in several meetings and day-long brainstorming sessions, and we can say with confidence that this technology is ready for prime-time. We will be posting a few demo videos shortly so you can get a feel for what it's like to be an avatar in a virtual conference room.
Minimum Cost — Maximum Connections
Without a doubt, attending virtually will save everyone a lot of time and money. As a result, we expect a larger number of attendees, including many students and teachers, who perhaps couldn't join us in the past due to budget constraints. So, be prepared to meet and greet researchers and practitioners from all over the world. There are no social distancing rules to observe, and we can safely leave our facemasks behind in the real world. Perhaps our escape from reality will feel rather liberating!
All Avatars Are Created Equal!
One perhaps unexpected benefit is that avatars are great equalizers. While everyone can configure their own avatar to resemble their real-world appearance, we will all still look a bit like cartoon characters, and that's great! There won't be that awkward moment when you'd like to start a conversation but hesitate because of someone's apparent status or seniority. Whether you are a first-time participant or a veteran presenter, you can connect with confidence and learn from everybody.
The conference will run on Universal Time Code (UTC), so all program items will be listed in UTC and not reference any particular location. Given that participants will join from around the world, the usual day-long conference sessions won't work any longer. So, instead of two full days of back-to-back presentations, we'll divide the program into multiple shorter segments and spread them out across the week, Monday through Friday. Each day, the conference sessions will run from 13:00 to 17:00 (UTC). That will be the morning for the Americas, the afternoon for Europe, and the evening/nighttime for Asia. This way, we hope to reach a majority of the BayesiaLab community during waking hours.
Alas, the Pacific side of the planet will be at a disadvantage with our program running in the middle of the night for them. For them, and anybody else who is interested, we'll offer an on-demand replay of the daily presentations.