Hackation: A Combination of Hackathon and Vacation

October 1, 2018
Arnaud Delorme, Science

We are happy to announce that IONS has secured a limited amount of funding to organize our 3rd annual Hackation — a combination of a hackathon and vacation. We started these a couple of years ago as an enjoyable way to hack away at interesting problems and have fun at the same time. This is the third installment — past participants have loved it!

As part of the IONS NextGen initiative, the Hackation is designed to address two practical challenges faced by scientific research on parapsychological phenomena — the small effect sizes typically observed in laboratory studies and the large sample sizes required to reliably detect those effects. Most research projects are conducted by researchers in laboratories, who together formulate hypotheses, collect information, conduct analyses, and report findings. These small groups operate as isolated units, and can only gather a limited amount of data.

Efforts to overcome the limitations of these methods have focused on use of the Internet as a platform for conducting psi experiments. Web-based studies offer a number of significant advantages over more traditional laboratory tests. Large amounts of data can be gathered at a low cost, tests can be provided automatically to practically anyone, anytime, and people can participate from the comfort and quiet of their living rooms. Starting in 2000, IONS Chief Scientist Dean Radin developed and launched a series of web-based psi experiments to study these issues and to more systematically identify the advantages and limitations of online psi tests, in particular the website. To date, this site has recorded over 250 million individual trials from more than 300,000 people around the world. Other similar efforts, like the global consciousness project, have collected data on random number generator distributed around the globe for the past 15 years.

This is a substantial amount of data, and few psi researchers are expert in big data analysis. With the popularity of big data science and artificial intelligence, surely the extensive brain power in the San Francisco Bay Area would be put to good use on that incredible resource.

If you are interested in psi phenomena and want to have fun getting your hands dirty processing some of the most amazing psi databases on Earth, and at the same time enjoy massages, mediumship readings, time in our hot tub, fantastic food, a rural mountaintop setting — and all of this for free — then this event is for you! Please visit our Hackation page to sign up.

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