How to make Python code faster

blog coding

As a fanatical Python enthusiast, I have frequently tried to convert Matlab users to my preferred language. Alongside common complaints such as “Please stop bothering me” and “Why do you keep going on about this”, one that I’ve heard a few times is “Yeah Python seems great, but it’s so slow”. Sadly, this is correct - Python is slow compared to other languages, including Matlab. While arguably it makes up for this in other ways, speed is still important for many tasks.

New paper on attention during aversive learning

blog papers

I recently had a new paper published, which is the first project I’ve completed as part of my current fellowship. In this blog post I mainly want to talk about how the whole thing came to exist, along with the challenges I faced along the way. I always find “behind the paper stories interesting, and it’s always reassuring to hear about difficulties others have faces and how they’ve overcome them, rather than simply seeing the final, polished project.

Running online experiments using Google Firebase

blog online coding

Online testing is becoming a popular way of running psychological experiments. Services such as Prolific allow large samples to be recruited and tested in a matter of hours. However one aspect of this process that often has people confused is how exactly to host a task online and store data properly. Some services are available that make this straightforward, such as Gorilla, however many of us want flexibility beyond that provided by these services.

How to survive a fellowship interview

blog fellowships

Fellowship interviews are generally terrifying affairs that few escape without some degree of psychological distress. But it’s totally worth it, honest. Having been through this and survived, I thought it might be helpful to write down some of the advice I’ve been given when preparing and given to other prospective interviewees. I’ve only interviewed for Wellcome’s Sir Henry Wellcome fellowship, so this post is based on this, but all early-career interviews share a vaguely similar procedure so hopefully this advice should be at least partially applicable to other schemes too.

Making science with neural networks

blog neural networks

As scientists, our primary aim is to publish papers in flashy journals such as Nature and Science (despite some claims that we should instead be focusing on extending human knowledge). In service of this aim, we spend immeasurable numbers of hours attempting to devise novel and exciting experiments that will seduce the editors of such journals and enable us to further our careers. However, this seems a little inefficient. What if we could instead generate experiments that would be worthy of publication in these top journals instantly and automatically, leaving us to then simply carry out the work safe in the knowledge that the results would be gauranteed to appear in a top-tier publication?

How to apply for a postdoctoral fellowship in ten easy steps

blog fellowships

Figuring out what to do after your PhD can be stressful. If you’ve not become disillusioned with the world of academia, you’ll probably be looking at a postdoctoral position. There are two real alternatives here: a job as a postdoc on someone else’s grant, or a fellowship. Fellowships are an exciting option due to the freedom and opportunities they provide, however many simply aren’t aware of the available schemes or how to actually apply for one.