How Xeek Challenges Build the Scientific Community
Coming together to tackle science problems is good for the entire industry.
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You’ve heard the phrase “two heads are better than one.” At Studio X, we believe that adage scales — thousands of minds working together can create something truly great.
How Python Changed Scientific Research
The more brains working on a problem, the more methods can be used and nuances can be discovered. This has always been true, but what’s changed is how those brains communicate.
Python created a universal language for scientists to convey ideas. Today a geoscientist, an astrophysicist, and an economist can all communicate their ideas and problems by utilizing Python. Once more, every piece of code that is written can be layered on top of another for collaboration — an algorithm used to predict stock market trends can be applied to well data, or a data structure used for geonomics can be applied to geophysical data.
Challenges Lead to Collaboration
Science challenges create environments that spur on this kind of collaboration. When working on a challenge, scientists bring focus to one problem — and can contribute any experience they have to solve it, wherever they are.
Collaboration on Xeek challenges can take many forms. In some cases, Xeek teams have worked together in real life. We often see teams of co-workers or students working together on our data science challenges. However, sometimes teams have never actually met before — they’ve only found each other through challenges and competitions, at Xeek or other organizations.
Regardless of outside affiliations, working with a team on a Xeek challenge is proven to be beneficial. Oftentimes individuals approach competitions with some hypotheses, from their own experience, of what might be the best way to generate a solution. But the data always has a knack for throwing curveballs and contestants often have to try multiple approaches. That’s where having a team makes all the difference. When working on a team, you can test more ideas and you have more experience to pull from. Moving in the right direction and finding a solution is more likely when working with others.
Building the Greater Community
As challenges proceed, we see a larger community begin to form as contestants ask questions on a forum, or perhaps publish their first draft of a solution to the problem. These acts, however minor, allow everyone to connect through ideas and carry on the discussion.
It’s this mindset that builds our entire challenge-busting community. You would think that a challenge could create distance between people — after all, aren’t people competing against one another? But we see the opposite as scientists share their insights and learnings, and establish a network they can access for years to come. Scientific researchers should see challenges as paid research opportunities that further their geoscience education and help them make connections with others in their field. With each challenge, we grow our knowledge and understanding of science and each other — on an individual level, and for our entire industry.
Click here to see our current Xeek challenges and get involved.