Leading Professional Society for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics
Connecting, Training, Empowering, Worldwide



Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is ISCB?
A: The International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB) is the parent organization of the annual conference on Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology (ISMB). The ISCB is dedicated to advancing the scientific understanding of living systems through computation. The ISCB communicates the significance of our science to the larger scientific community, governments, and the public at large. The ISCB serves a global membership by impacting government and scientific policies, providing high quality publications and meetings, and through distribution of valuable information about training, education, employment and relevant news from related fields. ISCB membership offers many benefits including reduced conference registration fees to several high impact events and reduced subscription prices for a selection of journals of Computational Biology and Bioinformatics. Members are from more than 50 countries and include over 800 students and nearly 500 post doctoral researchers. A member's meeting and a meeting of the Board of Directors for the Society are held annually in conjunction with the ISMB conference.

Q: Who do I contact for information on the conference?
A: You can get information on the conference from:

Steven Leard
ISMB Conference Director
Phone: +1-780-414-1663
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Q: Where will the conference be held?
A: The conference will be held at the Palais des congrès de Montréal. The main entrance is located at:
1001 Place Jean-Paul-Riopelle, Montréal. The conference will be held on the 5th Level. There are multiple entries to the Palais.

The Palais des congrès is conveniently located in the heart of Montréal near a plethora of attractions and famous districts, including Chinatown, Old Montréal, the business district, and the Quartier des spectacles.

Q: What are the conference hotels?
A: In partnership with onPeak, we've secured discounted rates at a selection of Palais des congrès de Montréal, Canada hotels. Through onPeak we're able to offer you convenient and affordable options for your trip to ISMB 2020. onPeak is the only hotel provider endorsed by ISMB 2020, and we encourage you to book through them early for the best selection and price. for details visit: https://www.iscb.org/ismb2020-hotels 

Q: Are Children allowed at the conference?
A: ISCB conferences are professional events. Children of registered ISCB conference attendees are welcome to attend the conference with their parent or guardian, as long as younger children are under the supervision of a parent or guardian at all times. Parents or guardians may bring children to educational events provided the child does not disrupt the event.

Q: Will child care be available at ISMB 2020?
A: Yes, child care arrangements will be available through a professional child care service - more details will be available soon on how to register for this service.

Q: Do I need a visa to visit  Canada?
A: All international visitors, regardless of country of origin, must present a passport when entering Canada and in many cases an entry visa may also required.

You can find details on visiting Canada here: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/visit-canada/business.html

Submission of Applications

Canada does not have a visa office in every country so it is important that delegates visit the website of the Canadian visa office responsible for processing their visa application.  Information is available on the website on how to submit a visa application and the documentation required. 

Processing times for visa applications vary depending on the visa office and the time of the year.  Participants are encouraged to apply approximately 12 weeks in advance of their departure date to ensure they receive the visa in time.

ISCB and the ISMB 2020 conference organizers assume no responsibility for the accuracy of information on any of the above websites and encourage you to communicate directly with the Canadian authorities regarding visa and entry information.


Invitation letters required for visa applications will be sent with your confirmation after registration and full payment have been received. You must be registered and paid-in-full for the conference in order to receive an invitation letter. IMPORTANT: If you require a visa for entrance register early, it can take time for your visa application to be processed (often 12 weeks) - do not delay in submitting your visa application.

Q: Travel to and within Montréal?
A: Montréal-Trudeau Airport

Montréal is one Canada’s biggest cities. Many direct flights link Montréal to more than 150 Canadian, American, and overseas destinations.Getting to the Palais des congrès from Montréal-Trudeau Airport

Montréal-Trudeau Airport is located in Dorval, about 20 minutes away from downtown Montréal. Here are the best ways to get to the Palais from the airport:


Q: What is the local Time Zone?
A:  Eastern Standard Time (EST) applies in Montréal.

Q: What is the Electrical Current?
A: The electrical current in Montréal and in North America has a standard voltage of 110-120 V (with a standard frequency of 60 Hz) rather than the 220 volts used in Europe. European plugs are not compatible with Canadian electrical sockets.

Q. In what language will the conference sessions and materials be presented?
A. All conference presentations and materials will be presented in English.

Q: What is the climate?
A: Montréal’s summer weather in July ranges from a temperature of 26 degrees Celsius on a high to a low of 16 degrees Celsius with the average about 21 degrees Celsius. Montréal can be humid and rain is not unusual during the summer with about a 40% chance of rain throughout the month. Delegates should consider bring a light jacket or rain coat in case of summer rain showers.

Q: Where can I find medical or emergency information?
A: General emergency calls   911

Q: What is the custom on tipping?
A: Service is almost always never included in hotel and restaurant bills. A tip of 15-18% percent in restaurants is common.

Q: What is the currency?
A: All official prices are indicated in Canadian Dollars. All major credit cards are accepted in most hotels, restaurants and shops.

Q: How can I pay to register for ISMB?
A: Delegates can pay on line during registration using a Visa, MasterCard or American Express credit card. Delegates wishing to pay using a wire transfer would create an invoice at time of registration and then contract the conference registrar for instructions.

Q: Where do I register when I arrive?
A: Conference Registration is available from Sunday, July 12 to Thursday, July 15 at the Palais des congrès de Montréal, 5th. Floor Foyer.


Palais des congrès de Montréal - 5th. Floor Foyer

Sunday, July 12

3:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
* registrants in the Student Council Symposium and Tutorials will receive instructions to collect their badge on-site in advance of general registration opening on July 12.

Monday, July 13 7:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, July 14 7:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, July 15 7:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, July 16 7:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (Noon)


Q: What should I do if I lose something at the conference venue?
A: A conference lost and found will be located at the conference information booth located at the Palais des congrès de Montréal

Q: What sightseeing opportunities are available in Montréal?
A: Montréal is a big, busy, exhilarating city, with so much to see and do. To give you some ideas and inspiration for your next trip to Montréal, explore the many “moments” you can live in the city. Think of them as bite-sized snacks of information to whet your appetite for the big buffet of choices you have when you get here. The more you like and interact with moments, the more you will receive personalized recommendations along similar themes. And, of course, it’s Montréal, so prepare for a few surprises along the way! https://www.mtl.org/en/explore/whats-on

Explore Montréal MOBILE APP: download the app at: https://www.mtl.org/en/plan/my-official-montreal-city-guide

Q: Can more than one talk be presented at ISMB?
A: The same talk is not permitted to be given more than once as an oral presentation at ISMB. Research may presented as both a talk and poster. Researchers may submit more than one talk to the meeting. Having the same person deliver two (or more) different talks is possible (and not prohibited), but it is not encouraged. This allows for many people from one lab to present the work of the lab.

Q: What is the policy of photography or image capture at ISMB?
A: ISCB encourages open sharing of science. As an author, you have the right to restrict the use of photography or any other form of capture of your research. If you do not wish to allow others to share your research, simply disclose this at the start of your oral presentation or add a note to your poster.

Q: What are the hashtags, twitter information for the conference?
A: These are the hashtags:

ISMB is #ismb2020.   @ISCB is the ISCB twitter handle.  (@infoISMB has been redirected to @ISCB)

We strongly encourage the use of Twitter at the conference to disseminate information.  ISCB kindly requests that you observe the Conference Code of Conduct when tweeting.  If you have a specific complaint, suggestion, or comment related to conference logistics, audio, heating and cooling, bathroom cleanliness, etc, we kindly request that you communicate your wish to a volunteer wearing a yellow shirt, go to the conference registration desk, or an ISCB team member.  Due to limited resources and the demands of managing the conference ISCB is unable to monitor Twitter fully and may miss an improvement request.

Q: Is there a nursing/lactation room available?
A: Yes, a room will be available at the Palais des congrès de Montréal and the room location can be confirmed by visiting the conference information desk.

Q: What is a COSI?
A: A COSI is an ISCB community of special interest. These member communities are self-organized and have multiple activities or interactions throughout the year, as well as a dedicated scientific track at the ISMB conference. An important goal of any COSI is to foster a topically-focused collaborative community wherein scientists communicate with one another on research problems and/or opportunities in specific areas of computational biology.

Q: What is the URL to the web version of the app?
The web version will be shown on the conference home page closer to the conference opening.