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Doctoral College

DERI Seminar with Gonçalo Lopes, Director of NeuroGEARS

Please join us on the 3rd March 2022 and welcome Gonçalo Lopes from NeuroGEARS who will be presenting on:
Bonsai - A visual language for scientific experimentation

Zoom link: 

Gonçalo is the director of NeuroGEARS, a London-based technology company dedicated to creating and sharing tools and knowledge so that scientists can better understand the tools of their research and realize their scientific imagination.


Title: Bonsai - A visual language for scientific experimentation

Abstract:  The design of a modern systems neuroscience experiment demands the combination of multiple technologies for monitoring behaviour and neural activity. The growing complexity on both the amount of neural data that is collected, and the naturalistic conditions under which behaviour must be investigated, place an increasing burden on the experimenter to become a jack of all trades. Furthermore, the sheer number of techniques and devices involved often require experimental design to be iterated and tweaked multiple times.

I will present Bonsai, a high-performance, easy to use, and flexible visual programming language for acquiring and processing streams of data in real-time. This language has allowed scientists with no previous programming experience to quickly develop their own high-performance data acquisition systems, as well as the logic of experimental behaviour protocols. Bonsai was designed to make it easy to integrate streams of data from multiple devices in parallel and combine them to control reactive and interactive closed-loop environments. I will show live demos of how the system works, which will be used to briefly describe the key concepts of the language and demonstrate how its event-based algebra allows for the rapid and flexible prototyping of many different experimental designs.

Bio:  Gonçalo is a neuroscientist and software engineer who is fascinated by the intersection of intelligence, life, and computation. His early research focused on computer vision, virtual reality, and the creation of new programming languages, before switching to basic research in neuroscience. He completed his PhD with Adam Kampff and Joe Paton at the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown in Lisbon, studying how the motor cortex is responsible for robust control of movement in rodents facing unexpected situations. Gonçalo is extremely passionate about open-source software and making technology more accessible to everyone. This has ultimately led him to develop the Bonsai programming language to help and inspire researchers everywhere to build their own tools and remove barriers to answering scientific questions.



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