ACM-W Connections. September 2015

Welcome from the ACM-W Chair

Welcome to the September, 2015, issue of ACM-W Connections.  Before we get to news on ACM-W activities, I want to thank those companies that are supporting us during the 2015-2016 year.  Google continues to support the scholarship program, and also supports the development of new ACM-W Chapters through their funding of the project we are launching with NCWIT.  Microsoft Research (MSR) continues to support our Celebrations of Women in Computing, and has given us additional funding this year for events specifically for women at community colleges.  MSR has also contributed funds to the scholarship program, specifically so that we can encourage more early PhD students.  Finally, Oracle has given us funds for the scholarship program that we will be dividing over the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 fiscal years.  Thanks to these companies, and to the people within them who work with me each year to secure these funds!

There’s quite a bit of news as we head into another exciting year of ACM-W activities.  In this newsletter you’ll find a lot of information from ACM-W Europe as they prepare for the upcoming womENcourage event.  There is also information about the Ada Lovelace Symposium, coming up in December at Oxford University.  And check the announcement from ACM-W chapters – there’s an opportunity to apply for funding for your chapter to help engage students at other schools!

One of our Scholarship recipients, Chao Charity Mbogo, University of Cape Town, passed her PhD defense and will be graduating in December.  She very kindly included ACM-W on the thank you message she sent out to “all who encouraged and supported me along the way”. Congratulations Chao, we’re thrilled that we were part of your journey.

You may recall that ACM-W was supporting the TechKobwa summer program for girls in Rwanda.  They had 60 girls and 10 teachers this summer, and there’s lots of information at and a blog at

We have so much going on these days, I think we need a new monthly feature, so here’s the first edition of…..

Where’s ACM-W This Month?

We are looking forward to womENcourage, in Uppsala, Sweden, running September 24-26.  Next is the ACM-W India Celebration of Women in Computing (AICWiC 2015) at Ahmedabad, Gujarat on October 3.  Many of us will be the Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) in Houston, TX, October 14-17.  Overlapping with GHC is MinkWiC, the Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas Celebration of Women in Computing, October 15-16. 

If you are attending Grace Hopper, stop by the ACM-W booth (#S13) and pick up one of our new Ada Lovelace tech tattoos for your laptop!

~Valerie Barr, ACM-W Chair

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

News From ACM-W Chapters

ACM-W is accepting applications for funding ($300 maximum award) that will support existing ACM-W Chapters that wish to hold joint events with schools that do not yet have ACM-W Chapters. The event can be held at any of the participant schools’ campuses. Our Networking Project on-line application can be located at /chapter.  Winning applicants will receive checks after posting a short notice about the successful networking event to our Facebook group. The next deadline is:  October 15, for December – February events.

News From ACM-W Europe

15 days till womENcourage 2015!   Check out the schedule!  Join the Hackathon and the Career Fair!

The overview of the schedule for womENcourage 2015 is posted.  The schedule is interactive, clicking on the title of a session takes you to more details
Career Fair

Let our supporters know that you are interested in talking with them at the Career Fair on 24 September.  When registering for womENcourage 2015, you have the opportunity to add your name to the CV database.  This database is being collected to allow you to inform the supporters in advance that you will be attending the Career Fair.  Our supporters – Inria, Google, Oracle, Bloomberg, Cisco, Facebook, Microsoft Research, Informatics Europe, Intel, and FreeBSD – are very interested in meeting with you and talking with you.  Let them know you are interested in talking with them!  Sign up today.

Build something to help your local community at womENcourage 2015 Hackathon.  Win prizes!  Have fun!

Make something that will improve the world for someone less fortunate than you.  ACM-W Europe and Codess Hackathon sponsored by Intel® and Microsoft will be held in Uppsala, Sweden on September 24th 2015, in conjunction with womENcourage 2015 Celebration of Women in Computing. The challenge is to build innovative and exciting projects which improve the day to day lives of people using the Intel® Edison Development Board and the Intel IOT DevKit.  Your resulting project could be anything that will help humanity.

All you need to bring for the hackathon is your laptop. We will provide the computing supplies, food and drinks.


  • WiSCI 2015 STEAM Camp
    Check out the blog about this international camp encouraging young women to study STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics).
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