School structure

NMA 2020 ran from July 13th to July 31st, 2020. The school was split into interactive and observer tracks.

Interactive track

Interactive students received the full Neuromatch Academy experience. They were expected to virtually attend the school for 6+ hours a day, Monday through Friday between July 13 and July 31. In addition, they spent ~2 hours/day working with members of their group on a group project. 1757 students started the interactive track, and 1524 of these students completed over half the curriculum.

191 TAs participated in the interactive track. Each TA lead a pod of on average 9 students who worked together . Pods were formed using the neuromatch algorithm that takes into account research interests, time zones, language, and skill level. Each day contained pre-recorded lectures interspersed with live tutorial sessions wherein TAs and fellow students work together on coding exercises. This is in addition to live Q&A sessions with lecturers and mentors.

A typical day’s schedule:

-Introductory lecture
(watched on student’s own time)
9:30amLecture discussion with pod TAlive
9:50Hands-on coding tutorialslive
11:05Discussion with pod TAlive
11:25Break
12:25Hands-on coding tutorialslive
13:40Discussion with pod TAlive
14:05Outro lecture
14:35Q&A with lecturer/mentorslive
15:00Project timelive
17:00End

Group Projects: Interactive students formed small groups of 3-5 students from their pod to work on a group project together. This project was performed on one of several available datasets and was guided by the principles of modeling that are taught in the first week of the course. In addition, TAs and faculty mentors provided feedback to groups to help shape their project ideas and troubleshoot problems.

Professional Development and Socializing: Optional weekend sessions on professional development were offered by people working in and outside of academia. Students wwere also be able to interact with other students outside their pods through planned social events and an online discussion channel.

Upon successful participation in the full course, interactive students received a certificate of completion.

Observer track

Observer applicants were not screened and could attend the Neuromatch Academy for free. They had access to all pre-recorded lectures, as well as the opportunity to watch some live events. They were also be offered the opportunity to work on projects or tutorials together, but without the assistance of a TA. In addition, they could sign up to be matched with up to 10 other peers with the Neuromatch algorithm to provide further networking opportunities. Finally, observers were offered the opportunity to participate in an online message board and discussion forum for the Academy.