HARMONY 2012 Exit Survey

Question #1. If you had to pick one thing that you wish had been different about the meeting and could be improved, what would it be?

  1. Nothing!
  2. Internet connection: there seemed to be not enough IPs available. Often the connection was extremely slow and sometimes completely broke.
  3. That most people hadn't left early on the last day. I felt like Friday was a waste of time.
  4. Providing a better schedule of the meeting in advance.
  5. Nothing.
  6. Having working Internet access to install packages which may be needed for demonstration purposes.
  7. The Internet connection issues were the only real problem. Good connectivity from beginning to end is important, especially for hackathons.
  8. The lunch time food :-) The internet connection, both in the hotel and the meeting location. More EVO feed and video provided as some sessions would have been nice if more people could have at least listened to them. Knowing the agenda a bit more in advance.
  9. More code review sessions for the libs, such as libSBML and libSBGN.
  10. Internet connection.
  11. The meeting was really quite good, but it would have been even better if wireless internet access had been more reliable (in particular on day 1. After that, things did improve a lot and there was usually some ethernet cable available if all else failed).
  12. Improve the wifi connection
  13. Better scheduling much more in advance of the meeting.
  14. The only point to criticise is the internet connection - however not a not a major point.
  15. Maybe the organizers of the different sessions could discuss the schedule in advance (together with the respective community). This would enable people to organise their traveling better.
  16. Stable Internet connection.
  17. I'd have one criticism: the idea of having competitions is really nice, but could the calls for competitions be made far earlier next year? For comp2 and comp3, I reckon the calls came pretty late, so there was not much time to actually participate.
  18. HARMONY 2012 was a great meeting, very well done to all the people that undoubtedly worked hard to make it happen. If there was one thing that could be improved, it would probably be the internet connectivity. The ethernet cables certainly helped, but there were just too many people trying to use them simultaneously.
  19. Nothing, it was absolutely great!
  20. Faster internet
  21. Place for the posters to be available for a few days. A single 2 hr slot is not enough.
  22. It would be nice to work out the schedule in a way that does not cause so many conflicts for people. Not sure how to achieve this though. Perhaps some sessions of fairly general interest should revert to single track.
  23. I would have love to see some tutorials/live-hacking of libraries. For example for BioPAX library or SBGN library.
  24. Wifi :) Probably the main thing would be having the schedule, especially for the first day, available (much) earlier.
  25. Better wireless :) A bit more organized creation of sessions... On an unconference you normally have clear boards up showing who is doing what, and where. And in coffee breaks something should happen to update everyone on progress.

Question #2. If you had to pick one thing that you think worked well about the meeting and you think should be done the same way in the future, what would it be?

  1. It was really good to have a face to face meeting and be able to ask questions on the library, code, and have time to actually hack.
  2. The scheduling of the sessions was very efficient. The plenary meetings summarizing all parallel sessions were very informative.
  3. The clear scheduling of the parallel sessions meant that it was clear what was going on and allowed you to switch rooms. The juggling to avoid clashes and enable key people to attend key sessions worked well too.
  4. The conclusion of the end of the day to bring together the different parallel parts.
  5. Parallel sessions.
  6. The loose format three days worth of hacking time.
  7. This was close to perfect. Hard to pick anything in particular. Everything worked very well (except for the problem listed above).
  8. The three parallel sessions and the wrap up were nice.
  9. Discussions of future developments in standards.
  10. Plenty of rooms available.
  11. The location was really good: close to transport links like trains, hotel and conference venue; within a short walking distance of each others, and restaurants and bars not too far away, yet not so close you'd be tempted to skip a session during the day.  ;)
  12. 1st day symposium.
  13. The catering during the breaks was quite good, and the location was easy to reach by public transport.
  14. Being close together with one central room for breaks.
  15. The ad-hoc organization of meetings worked well.
  16. It worked great to have (the same) dedicated rooms for the different communities during the complete meeting.
  17. Collaboration and more or less ad-hoc organization.
  18. Difficult to choose one, but the way the programme was conceived seems an absolute treat: various rooms for various topics plus a separate "hacking" room so that people have the flexibility to make the most of their time at HARMONY.
  19. The location at the Maastricht school of Management worked out really well I think.
  20. The breakout rooms and scheduling were great - great job by Tina! The conference dinner was also excellent.
  21. The 3 parallel sessions in rooms that were located close enough to one another to easily move between them.
  22. The meeting actually was extremely productive. I think the fairly informal discussion-based meeting should be maintained.
  23. I loved the organisation in multiple small rooms.
  24. The parallel sessions worked very well for me. Scheduling the sessions on-the-fly using the Google spreadsheet worked well as long as there was access to the internet to check for updates.
  25. Lunch.

Question #3. Did you find the first day (with tutorials and general presentations) useful? Should the arrangement be repeated in future HARMONY meetings, or should it be changed somehow?

  1. Very good. Having tutorials and a symposium before the actual HARMONY helps get a brief overview about the current status of projects and standards.
  2. No. I would scrap that day. It's a waste of time. Better still make the hackathon start at runtime Monday and end lunchtime Friday to allow travel time at either end.
  3. Yes.
  4. Even if there was a lot of already known content, I think it is useful to do do such a first day tutorial to keep everybody up to date.
  5. Yes.
  6. Yes, they were useful for everyone to catch up on what has happened in the various groups over the past year. I'd say it is important to keep these presentations at 10-15min max. The "tutorials" in my view didn't work out as I thought they would -- no hands-on trying-out... so, I'd either skip them, or better: put them in a more dedicated session, extend the time frame a bit, and instruct the presenters that these will really be hands-on sessions, without any detailed conceptual explanation etc (these could go into a general presentation before the tutorials). Maybe tutorials at day 1 could even be split into several tracks, taking place in the different meeting rooms.
  7. In principle this is a reasonable idea. Personally the tutorials were not useful and the focus/theme of the presentations wasn't exactly clear.
  8. Not particularly, but it may be for people who are less experts.
  9. I missed the tutorials in the morning, but the afternoon presentations were very useful. Might be nice to have representatives from the editorial boards of each of the standards involved in COMBINE to give a brief (5 minute?) update on recent progress, just to give people not directly involved in all the standards a catch-up on what the standards are trying to achieve.

Question #4. How did you like the organization of the sessions, for example the parallel tracks and the round-up session at the end of each day?

  1. Scheduling of the sessions was very effective. Having the plenary sessions each day was great.
  2. Liked it very much and thought it worked well.
  3. ++
  4. The round-up was very good. The parallel sessions should be better planned in advance.
  5. That was fine for me. The round-ups were useful in that installment of parallel tracks.
  6. Yes, liked it. In particular the wrap-up sessions were important.
  7. Excellent ... especially with the parallel track rooms being located near to one another.
  8. Some issues with parallel tracks in that there were some sessions which were likely of broad interest that should have been single tracked. The round up session was good.
  9. I liked it a lot. Might have been nice to have a slightly more concrete layout of the schedule in each of the separate sessions beforehand, but generally it worked very well for me.

Question #5. How did you like the venue and its facilities and arrangements?

  1. Venue was appropriate (except for the problems with the network connections). Hotels next door were very convenient. The arrangement with the free buses was good (even though I have never used it myself).
  2. Good. Being slightly out of the centre also helped keep everyone in-situ. Networking was a real problem, both at venue and hotel.
  3. Wifi a little spotty. Otherwise fine.
  4. ++
  5. Fine.
  6. Fine with that, aside from the Internet connection.
  7. Great venue, great facilities (except internet), great arrangements.
  8. Nice facility and excellent arrangements. Internet connection could have been a bit better.
  9. Excellent!
  10. The venue was fantastic, the facilities (once the networking cables were laid out) were great, the food/drinks awesome...

Question #6. What did you achieve during this meeting? (It can be more than one thing.)

  1. Cross-linkings between our system and other systems were improved - Collaborations were succesfully continued and extended - We were pointed to some bugs in our systems and could fix a few of them - Better understanding of some of the standards
  2. One project, less than hoped for by a mile. Very disappointed. Others went really well -- as well as I could have hoped.
  3. New ideas for my work.
  4. Got some stuff implemented and created a road map with colleagues to continue on that implementation.
  5. Bringing forward standards and outreach, personal communication with many involved people.
  6. Strong collaboration.
  7. I had plenty of time to discuss with various people the different projects I am involved in, got an opportunity to present my work, and I got to make progress in the projects that I am contributing to -- all I expected from HARMONY.
  8. Was involved in technical discussion on 3 standards. Started drafting a new specification.
  9. I think we got a pretty good handle on the status of all SBML packages and plans to bring many of them to formal approval. Interesting ideas were proposed for SBML L3V2 that I think are major improvements.
  10. A lot of discussion on SED-ML development and tool support, including some hacking on examples and code. Got an update on some SBML level 3 packages that are vaguely related to my work. Some work towards registering an identifiers.org data collection for our model repository. Renewing contacts and networking.

Question #7. Tell us about the good, the bad, and the ugly, in your opinion, about HARMONY 2012. Since this survey is anonymous, you can feel free to be as direct as you want to be. We won't be offended—we're asking for the feedback, after all. We will read all of the feedback and act on as much of it as is practical.

  1. Martina and Chris were great hosts! Maastricht is a very nice town for such meetings and promotes networking in 'evening sessions.' Number of attendees, duration of the meeting and structuring of the sessions were the perfect framework for best interactions between attendees. Only one thing was annoying: the network connection was not approprioate for such type of meeting. There were not enough IP addresses available, and the connections were often very slow and sometimes broke.
  2. I think Martina did an excellent job organising the meeting. It went pretty smoothly, and where it didn't it was generally fixed. Maastricht was also a surprisingly good venue for the meeting. I think we were all pleasantly surprised how nice it was. The hotel we stayed in wasn't great though (the former hall of residence).
  3. Wifi not so good. Heineken also not good. Venue could be a little more comfy.
  4. I really liked the meeting. It had a good ratio of input-output, and I think it revived activity in different projects. We could see real progress in some projects and had good discussions on open issues (which are not as effective via mail/skype). Also, the networking aspect is really important, and I think even in this sense the meeting was great success. Maybe worth mentioning the dinner here: it was a very good idea to have the pre-dinner snacks & wine outside, so there was again plenty of time for socialising.
  5. One of the smoothest-running and productive HARMONYs so far.
  6. Good location and good results. No bad or ugly.