Welcome to Neuromatch for Students

Github Link: https://github.com/NeuromatchAcademy/course-content

Welcome to Neurostars!

We’re all excited for NMA, which is starting on July 13th! Neurostars is the main asynchronous conversation platform for the Neuromatch Academy course. Be sure to check it often! It lets you converse with students both in and outside of your pod, as well as with TAs and mentors, and receive updates from organizers.

If you’re looking for course material and schedule information go to the github page.

Now, let’s learn how to use Neurostars!

Most importantly, when communicating on Neurostars, we treat each other with respect and support people of all backgrounds and identities. If you haven’t already, please read up on our Code of Conduct here. You can report any violations through this form.

Navigating through Neurostars: How to use the Discourse platform

Neurostars runs on Discourse, a software platform for group discussion boards. If you find the interface confusing, you may want to check out Discourse’s New User Guide (https://meta.discourse.org/t/discourse-new-user-guide/96331) for help.

Here is some information specifically on using Neurostars for NMA:

Edit your profile

Naming: please use your actual name as your profile name. We also expect everyone to add the pronouns with which you would like to be addressed. Common examples include: (she/her), (he/him), (they/their), (ze/zir). Or you can use http://pronoun.is/ tool with your preferred pronoun. You will be talking with a lot of people from other countries and this helps everyone to know who they are talking to. We also encourage you to use the Name Coach website to teach people how to pronounce your name: Example: https://www.name-coach.com/brad-wyble

When you get started, first find your pod using it’s number in the list of categories below. Under your pod, please introduce yourself in 2-3 lines. You can share links for contact if you wish (mail/twitter/linkedin).

How to find information

The Neurostars platform serves as a general communication platform for the Neuromatch Academy, simultaneously subserving 3 purposes:

  • Communications from the organizers
  • Internal organization of pods and subgroups
  • General forum for discussions (including with students on the Observer track)

As a communication platform, where content is solely entered in the form of messages, on Neurostars structure is provided by categories and tags given to messages.


Categories determine which groups have access to a message. Because Neurostars is used by the Neuroinformatics community more broadly, you’ll find other categories besides ’Neuromatch Academy’, which are open-access and share the same platform. However, posts in the ’Neuromatch Academy’ category are the only ones we are concerned with here.

At this level, you’ll mostly find general information from the organizers, such as

  • Announcements

  • FAQ (Summaries for each day)

Within the* ’Neuromatch Academy’ category you’ll find sub-categories, which are again used to restrict access to certain groups of people. For example, each pod will have a special sub-category, which can only be seen by members of that pod. Depending on your status, you may find the following subcategories:

  • Your Pod: each group of students share a private interaction space with their TAs and mentors to discuss lectures, tutorials & projects and set up private meetings. You have been automatically added to your pod’s sub-category, so you should be able to see and post messages there.
  • Projects: a space to discuss datasets and ideas across pods
  • Tech stuff: technical issues with Zoom, Colab and other technologies
  • Professional development: mentors offer advice to TAs and students
  • Job board: mentors and TAs can post job opportunities for everyone to see
  • Random: for all leftover questions and discussions


We created a hierarchy of predefined tags and sub-tags, such that messages can efficiently be found by relevant people. Please use them! You may create your own if necessary.

To make the structure of tags a little less confusing, here is a list of tags and corresponding sub-tags to use:

  • WxDy — each day has its own parent tag (e.g. W2D3 for week 2, day 3)
    • concepts — topics taught that day
    • intro
    • outro
  • technical
    • zoom
    • colab
    • pythonSetUp
    • neurostars
    • AV
  • prep — questions and discussions during your preparation for NMA
  • python
    • numpy
    • pandas
    • matplotlib
    • tensorflow
    • pyTorch
  • prof-dev
  • projects
    • dataset
    • tools
    • frameworks
    • github
  • mentors
    • collaboration
    • dataset-published

How to post

Before you post, take a look in the relevant category to see if someone else has already addressed the question you have. For example if you’re stuck on a python issue, search in the Tech Stuff category using one of the python tags,

When you post messages, you’ll need to decide on a category/sub-category (which decides who is supposed to see your message) a tag (what your message is about) and ideally a sub-tag (to be more specific).

Use the drop-down menu to assign your message a sub-category and tags, such that others can find it. Messages to your pod can only be seen by other members of your pod.