An eventful month

Victor's last month working from abroad was busy with a conference, a hackathon and a nice surprise

Being one of the few ESRs still outside of Europe did not prevent my month of September to be full of very interesting experiences from the comfort of my Brazilian home. Apart from the research activities at Maastricht University, I took part in two very interesting online events this month: the Computing in Cardiology (CinC) conference, and the EuroHack20 hackathon. This month’s blog post will be dedicated to my experience attending these events in this unusual year.

CinC is one of the most traditional conferences responsible for bringing together professionals from the clinic and computational sciences. In its 46 years of existence, the conference has been held in 19 countries in Europe, Asia and North America. This year, CinC was held in a hybrid manner, with attendants both online and on site, in Rimini, Italy. This tricky idea proved to work out very nicely, and the event had a very engaged audience despite the distance.

Even without the amazing locations (such as Singapore, in the picture taken during last year’s conference), the 2020 hybrid edition of CinC was a success

I have been to CinC twice before, in 2017 and 2019, presenting work related to my internship and masters, respectively. Despite not being able to see the nice beaches of Rimini in person, this year’s conference was one of the most unique experiences for me. Starting my day at 3 a.m. (8 a.m. in Europe) to follow the live event proved to be a difficult task, but I am glad I could follow the presentations even after they were concluded due to the online nature of the event. Presenting my two posters remotely was much easier than in normal years, as I could calmly present the details in the pre-recorded video and still see an unlimited number of posters during the sessions and afterwards.

The highlight of my experience of the conference was without a doubt to receive the award of best remote poster presentation, together with other 5 researchers from several institutions. Seeing the work developed in my masters being recognized in the conference was an indescribable sensation, and all of this from my living room! I hope I can deliver studies worthy of similar recognition for the work being developed in PersonalizeAF in the coming years.

Receiving a prize from my living room!

Not even a week after CinC I was once again waking up at 3 a.m for the EuroHack20. This hackathon was the sixth installment of this event offered by the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre, which is the home institution from the supercomputer where most of the computer simulations from my project in Maastricht run, and was focused on GPU programming. The hackathon was hosted fully online, which once again has a cost in social interaction but did not prevent the event from being very successful.

For me, the hackathon was a great opportunity to get to know the Propag-5 software, which is used to solve the equations in the ionic models used in the simulation of the atrial electrical activity. It is a very dense and complex software, but the relatively short duration of the event was a great stimulation to learn the code fast and already start doing some improvements. I am still quite a way from understanding the code or GPU programming in depth, but this was a great start and I am excited to see how far we can go in this direction during this project.

In general, this was a very busy and exciting month, opening new fronts of knowledge to explore and keeping myself in touch with the other people developing exciting things in the field of computational cardiology. This is probably my last post writing from Brazil, as I will finally be able to leave the unusually hot spring (sadly related to very careless environmental policies) to find a cozy autumn in Maastricht. Until then, do follow the PersonalizeAF social media pages for more updates from me and the other ESRs (everyone is very active now!).

See you next month!