Lecture: 'Cloud-mounted Computational Experiments during COVID times'

In this talk, Dr. Glowacki will briefly describe recent research utilizing cloud computing to carry out a range of scientific studies during COVID times. Specifically, he will describe three projects:

  1. Crowd-sourced attempts to search the space of ML strategies and develop algorithms for predicting quantum mechanical molecular properties. Using an open-source dataset, we worked with Kaggle to design and host a 3-month competition which received 47,800 ML model predictions from 2,700 teams in 84 countries. By the end of the competition, the Kaggle community produced models with accuracy 7-19x better than the state-of-the-art.
  2. 'Narupa': a flexible, open-source, cloud-mounted, multi-person VR software framework which enables groups of researchers distributed across the world to simultaneously cohabit real-time simulation environments and interactively build, inspect, visualize,  and manipulate the dynamics of complex molecular structures with atomic-level precision.
  3. 'Isness,, a cloud-mounted multi-person VR experience which we have shown produces effects on participants which are statistically indistinguishable from moderate to high doses of psilocybin, a serotonergic psychedelic drug that is being used to treat anxiety, depression, and addiction in clinical contexts. The efficacy of Isness illustrates how VR can be designed to provide therapeutic and mental health benefits comparable to drug interventions, but without the associated risks.

About the speaker

David Glowacki is from Milwaukee. He obtained his bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania (United States), his master of arts from the University of Manchester (UK), and his Ph.D. from the University of Leeds (U.K.). He is a Senior Research Fellow, Philip Leverhulme Prize Winner, and ERC awardee. At the University of Bristol, he heads up the Intangible Realities Laboratory (IRL), an eclectic research group joint between the Centre for Computational Chemistry and the Department of Computer Science. More research details at www.glow-wacky.com.