QCTIP2020 – virtually seamless
Our Quantum Computing Theory in Practice conference was very different this year. With the world turned upside down by the global pandemic, we have all had to adapt and rethink how we live our daily lives. With a fully remote team, and no one able to travel, QCTIP2020 became a fully virtual event.
542 registrations, 22 talks, 60 posters, and 4,701 slack messages later, we reflect on our experience of running a successful virtual conference.
1. Keep it simple
We used only two platforms to deliver the event:
Zoom – to broadcast the talks
Slack – for Q&A to speakers, the poster session, and general interaction among participants
The talks were broken down into ‘sessions’, with four sessions a day, with one to four talks per session. All of the talks were delivered live, which meant we had to take extra care with time zones for our international colleagues. Despite this, engagement was excellent with a maximum live audience size of 242, averaging at 158.
All communication outside of the talks took place via slack. There was a separate channel for each talk where the audience could submit their questions to the speakers. This worked remarkably well as it made it easy to have focused and meaningful discussions around each topic. Most of the speakers hopped on to the slack channel after their talks to answer a few extra questions. In total, 75% of registrants used the slack channel. We received many comments from the feedback survey hailing slack as a great method for managing Q&A to speakers and for communicating with each other.
2. Be crystal clear
3. Practice, practice, practice!
4. Make it fun!