Mission Statement

ACM-W supports, celebrates, and advocates internationally for the full engagement of women in all aspects of the computing field, providing a wide range of programs and services to ACM members and working in the larger community to advance the contributions of technical women.

Our Corporate Supporters

We are very grateful for the support of several corporate sponsors. At present, ACM-W has funding from Oracle (through Oracle Academy), Microsoft Research, and Google for our scholarships, from Google for the Athena Lecturer Award, and continuing support from Microsoft Research for the Celebrations. Thanks to their generosity in helping us to support, celebrate and advocate for women in computing.

Letter from ACM-W chair

Welcome to the November, 2015, issue of ACM-W Connections.  We’ve got lots of news from ACM-W Europe, ACM-W India, the Scholarships Ctte., and the Chapters Ctte.   I hope you enjoy reading about all of these activities.

We also have a contributed article this month from Beth Quinn at NCWIT.  Beth has written about EngageCSEdu, the curated collection of peer reviewed materials for the CS1 and CS2 courses.  If you are a college or university CS faculty member, or are at all concerned with how to better engage and retain a diverse population of CS students, you definitely should read Beth’s piece!  While contributors to the repository are largely US-based, the materials can certainly be used all over.

Where’s ACM-W This Month?

As I’m writing this, people are on their way to SEWiC, the Southeast Celebration of Women in Computing (Atlanta, November 13-15).

I’m very excited about the upcoming Ada Lovelace Symposium, December 9 & 10 in Oxford, England.  I will be representing ACM-W and ACM, along with Vicki Hanson (ACM Vice President), Alex Wolf (ACM President), and Moshe Vardi (Editor-in-Chief of CACM).  Look for a report in December’s ACM-W Connections.

Interested in volunteering with ACM-W?

We are looking for people interested in joining some of our committees.   If you want to work with ACM-W, keep an eye on this section each month to see if there’s a role that interests you.  Contact me if you are ready to volunteer!  Right now we are looking for the following:

Celebrations Committee:    

  • Administrative communications coordinator - this is a two-year position on the Celebrations Committee with two primary responsibilities:
    • Maintain the Celebrations web pages to ensure that the information and resources contained within are current and complete;
    • Generate reports from the data collected on Celebrations events over the course of the year, for use by members of the ACM-W Council.  

Communications Committee:

  • Interested in starting a new newsletter feature?  We would like to introduce a People of ACM-W section, featuring interviews with ACM-W volunteers.  Work on developing interview questions, carrying out interviews, and prepare material for publication.

Thanks for your interest in ACM-W, and thanks for supporting women in computing!

~Valerie Barr, ACM-W Chair

What's NEW

Check out news from celebrations, scholarships, chapters and our international partners in Europe and India in the August 2015 issue of ACM-W Connections.

Special Tribute: Celebrating the 200th birthday of Ada Lovelace

In 2015 the University of Oxford will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of computer visionary Ada Lovelace.  The centrepiece of the celebrations will be a display at the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Library (13 October – 18 December 2015) and a Symposium (9 and 10 December 2015), presenting Lovelace’s life and work, and contemporary thinking on computing and artificial intelligence.

Ada, Countess of Lovelace (1815–1852), is best known for a remarkable article about Charles Babbage’s unbuilt computer, the Analytical Engine. This presented the first documented computer program, to calculate the Bernoulli numbers, and explained the ideas underlying Babbage’s  machine – and every one of the billions of computers and computer programs in use today. Going beyond Babbage’s ideas of computers as manipulating numbers, Lovelace also wrote about their creative possibilities and limits: her contribution was highlighted in one of Alan Turing’s most famous papers ‘Can a machine think?’ Lovelace had wide scientific and intellectual interests and studied with scientist Mary Somerville, and with Augustus De Morgan, a leading mathematician and pioneer in logic and algebra.

The display, in the Bodleian’s new Weston Library, will offer a chance to see Lovelace’s correspondence with Babbage, De Morgan, Somerville and others, and her childhood exercises and  mathematical notes.  The Symposium, on 9th and 10th December 2015, is aimed at a broad audience interested in the history and culture of mathematics and computer science, presenting current scholarship on Lovelace’s life and work, and linking her ideas to contemporary thinking about computing, artificial intelligence and the brain. Confirmed speakers so far include Lovelace’s direct descendant the Earl of Lytton, Lovelace biographer Betty Toole, computer historian Doron Swade, historian Richard Holmes, computer scientist Moshe Vardi, graphic novelist Sydney Padua, ACM Vice President Vicki Hanson, and ACM-W Chair Valerie Barr. Other activities will include a workshop for early career researchers, a “Music and Machines” event, and a dinner in Balliol College on 9th December, the eve of Lovelace’s 200th birthday.

Oxford’s celebration is led by the Bodleian Libraries and the University of Oxford’s Department of Computer Science, working with colleagues in the Mathematics Institute, Oxford e-Research Centre, Balliol College, Somerville College, the Department of English and TORCH. External sponsors include ACM, AdaCore, BCS, BCSwomen, Clay Mathematics Institute, Google, Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, and the London Mathematical Society. 

Oxford has a remarkable history of programming research, with two winners of the ACM A M Turing Award, the Nobel Prize for Computer Science, and the unique breadth and depth of Oxford’s expertise brings a variety of perspectives to understanding Lovelace and the remarkable intellectual community around her, whose ideas underpin modern computing.

For more information or to register see http://blogs.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/adalovelace/

ACM-W Celebrations Transitions to a New Year

- letter from Wendy Powley, ACM-W Celebration Chair

I would like to thank Valerie and Jodi for their warm welcome in the August newsletter. I am delighted to be taking on the role as Chair of the Celebrations project, an initiative that I am very passionate and excited about.

In 2010, my friend Kelly Lyons informed me of the ACM-W’s initiative to launch Celebration events to provide young women with the inspiration and experience that comes from attending a conference filled with enthusiastic, like-minded women. She e-introduced me to Gloria Childress Townsend and Elaine Weyuker who were heading up the project at the time. I downloaded Gloria’s One Hundred One Ideas for Small Regional Celebrations of Women in Computing guide, gathered some keen students from our School, and got to work on the first Ontario Celebration of Women in Computing (ONCWIC) event. This was completely out of character for me. It was risky and scary. Where would the funding come from? I had no industry connections. I had never been involved in large-scale fund-raising. I worried that no one would come to the conference. The one thing that kept me focused and determined was Gloria’s comment “Organizing a Celebration event was the single most rewarding thing I have done in my life”.

The first event was a huge success and since then ONCWIC has been organized by four different universities across Ontario. This year we are extremely excited to be launching the first Canadian Celebration of Women in Computing (CAN-CWiC). This conference represents a merging of three Canadian Celebrations: the Ontario Celebration of Women in Computing, the Pacific Northwest Celebration of Women in Computing, and the Atlantic Canada Celebration of Women in Computing.

There are many Celebrations planned for the 2015/2016 year with at least a dozen events planned in areas across the US, two events in India, and Celebrations in Cuba, Puerto Rico and Europe. Check out the ACM-W Celebrations page to find an event near you!

If you are interested in organizing an event, I would be happy to talk with you about what it entails. Seed funding is available for all events from ACM-W and Microsoft Research, and many supports are in place to assist with planning and execution of events.

Perhaps you are not quite ready to organize your own Celebration yet, but you would like to help out in some way with the Celebrations project? We are looking for new members to join the Celebrations committee. The workload is light, but your help would really be appreciated.

I can be reached by email at wendy@cs.queensu.ca. I look forward to getting to know all the Celebration organizers over the coming months and working with you to make your Celebration a huge success. And, for the record, I agree with Gloria that organizing a Celebration was the single most rewarding thing I have done in my life. Try it! When you see the smiles on the faces of your young attendees, you are sure to agree with us.

Why You Should Join ACM-W

If you think it is important to recruit and retain as many women as possible in the computing field, you should join ACM-W! Together, we will help celebrate, inform and support women in computing:

  • Celebrate: One of the most popular ways to celebrate women in computing is by starting and/or attending an ACM-W Celebration of Women in Computing; the accomplishments of women in computing are at the heart of ACM-W's e-Newsletter and Blog. And ACM-W encourages its members to celebrate the work of prominent women by nominating them for Awards -- such as the Athena Award & Lecture -- as well as ACM Advanced Grade Membership.
  • Inform: Via ACM-W's student scholarship program, young women are informed about the research going on, and become acquainted with the researchers, in their field. Members of ACM-W Student Chapters are informed about the educational and career opportunities available to them.
  • Support: Lend your enthusiasm, inspiration, and support to ACM-W, and help make a difference in the global computing community!

When you join ACM, or renew your membership, check the box for ACM-W. You will be added to our email list and receive our ACM-W Connection newsletter.

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