ACM-W Connections. November 2015

Welcome from the 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

Contributed Article

How Do You Engage and Retain Diverse Students? EngageCSEdu Can Help

by Beth Quinn (NCWIT)

News From ACM-W Scholarships

The ACM-W Scholarship for Attendance of Research Conferences program provides support for women students in Computer Science and related programs who wish to attend research conferences. The student does not have to present a paper at the conference to be eligible. Applications are evaluated 6 times each year, in order to distribute awards across a range of conferences, with 2-6 awards usually given for each group of applications. The 2015-2016 ACM-W Scholarships are made possible by the generous support of Google, Microsoft  and Oracle.

The scholarships expose students to prominent researchers in their field, introduce students to new research, and excite them about doing research themselves. We then ask students to share with us some of their thoughts on the conference they attend and some pictures.  

We just had the applications in for the last round of submissions of 2015 and we’re happy to report that we were able to support the following (eight!)  applicants: Selene Chew, Franka Veltman, Abimbola Afolayan, Rekha R Pai, Oluwatosin Aderinola, Ankita Raturi, Zongyi Xu, Otasowie Iyar. We hope you will have great conferences and learn much people!

The next application deadline is December 15 for conferences taking place in February and March 2016. For more information and to apply visit  If you have any questions, contact scholarship committee chair Prof. Adriana Compagnoni.

News From ACM-W Chapters

Susan Rodger, ACM-W’s wonderful friend at Duke and CRA-W, launched a new Wikipedia project, "Notable Women in Computing".  She also wrote a "how-to" guide with complete directions for creating a Wikipedia biography page and setting up a Wikipedia account, along with a database of Notable Women in Computing.  Finally, there is a spreadsheet that lists each woman and the status of her Wikipedia page.   

Again, everything you need to know (including advice about selecting a woman and collecting information for a Wikipedia page) is a click away at

Adding a page or more is a perfect project for any of our ACM-W Chapters.  Leave a legacy from your chapter by authoring a page about your Notable Woman in Computing, a page that will be read by people all over the world.

News From ACM-W India

Report of Regional Celebration of Women in Computing, East and North-East” 2 – 3 November 2015 at IIT Guwahati

ACM-W India “Regional Celebration of Women in Computing, East and North-East"  was organized and hosted by Department of CSE, IIT Guwahati. This event provided a forum for the lady researchers and faculty members in the region to showcase their work in the form of posters and also get exposure to recent trends in industry and academia. The event had talks delivered by eminent lady academicians, researchers and industry leaders. During the two day event participants got to interact with eminent
personalities and had the opportunity to know what is happening in academic and how the research outcomes can finally get converted to industry deliverables. The inaugural function was attended by:

  • Prof. Gautam Biswas, Director, IIT Guwahati
  • Prof. Ravi Mokashi Punekar, Dean Alumni Affairs and External Relations, IIT Guwahati
  • Dr. Valentina Salapura, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center
  • Ms Kumud Srinivasan, President Intel India
  • Prof. Susmita Sur-Kolay, ISI Kolkata
  • Prof. Dipanwita Roy Choudhuri, IIT Kharagpur
  • Prof. Sheila Anand, ACM-W India Chair
  • Prof. Diganta Goswami, Head, Dept. of CSE, IIT Guwahati

The key organisers of the event, Dr. Hemangee K. Kapoor and Prof. Sukumar Nandi gave an overview of the conference and Prof. Sheila Anand welcomed the guests and delegates to the ACM-W Celebration.  

Ms. Kumud Srinivasan spoke about the “Accelerating Transformation in Today’s Digital World”. She compared industry trends in India and abroad. She motivated the participant ladies by advising them to ask the question “Why?” first and that the “How” and “What” will follow. Dr. Valentina gave an excellent talk on various cloud computing methodologies and virtualisation techniques.

Prof. Susmita gave a talk on the challenges in synthesizing quantum computers. The other talks were in the area of authenticated encryption, Big-Text and Big-Data, Use of thermography to detect breast cancer, Bio-computing and on the data and cloud setup at IISc SERC. Rowena Robinson, Professor of sociology gave an energetic talk on “Girls who play with fire? Women in computing and on the Internet in India”. There was good interaction from the participants and heated discussions on social and family restrictions faced by women in technology. There was also debate on whether it was required to have reservation for girls in higher education institutions.

A panel discussion was held on the theme “On Choosing Career Path: Academics, IT, Research and Entrepreneurship”. The panelists were Dr. Lakshmi, IISc Bangalore, Dr. Valentina, Arati Dixit, University of Pune, Prof. Susmita and Prof. Dipanwita. The discussion, moderated by Arati, focused on the panelists’ careers, how they achieved their goals and the challenges they faced in their respective fields.

Another big attraction for the participants was the poster session. The posters were evaluated by faculty from the department of CSE, IITG and three best posters were recognised by giving a certificate and cash prize. Free ACM membership was offered to all the registered student

The event had 77 registered participants out of which 57 lady participants were from around 12 universities from the North-East. There were 25 poster submissions. The organisers are very thankful to the generous support given by the sponsors: Google, Xerox research India and Tata Consultancy Services.

News From ACM-W Europe

ACM-W UK seeks to Inspire

The ACM-W UK Professional chapter held their first of a series of events called INSPIRE 2015 at Imperial College London in October 2015. Having over 60 participants (both ACM members and non-members) from academia and industry, the event got a good mix of multiple disciplines, and people from work and cultural backgrounds. Following the involvement of the chapter in the conference series of WomENcourage and Grace Hopper, the day was jam packed with great speakers from different backgrounds of academia and industry, discussing their challenges in research and motivation when it comes to women encouragement in computing.

The day involved a number of speakers included Prof Alex Wolf, the president of ACM, based in Imperial College, who discussed the challenges ACM has faced over the years and how we can motivate more members to join ACM. He highlighted how being part of a big community can help researchers find a home to relate to when they are publishing or trying to find like-minded individuals. Wolf was followed by the current president of ACM-W UK, Dr Mariam Kiran, who discussed the missions of the chapter and how they plan to provide support for all (not just women) from all walks of life such as industry or academia, at different stages of their careers. The chapter aims to become a first port of call for advice, mentoring and find a forum to discuss challenges and solutions in progressing further in their careers or finding the right balance in work and family. The chapter aims to partner with established groups such as BCS and Systers to accomplish these goals.

As the day progressed, there were various talks, particularly a very interesting talk by Bev Bachmayer from Intel, who discussed how her experience of working with Internet of Things and teaching girls in Germany and Africa has allowed her to become a lead in the IoT sector at Intel. Prof Daniela Romano discussed how she has balanced her career and family life, and becoming a successful professor in virtual reality and gaming. The ACM-W Europe conference chair Virginia Grande discussed some of her findings on why and how people volunteer for promoting ACM-like activities and what are the individual gains everyone gets. Further talks included Professor Natasa Milic Frayling, who discussed how everyone needs to rethink their career paths relating to their own situations and settings. Finally, the day ended with a talk by Professor Liz Bacon who discussed statistics on how many women are actually being lost through the leaky pipeline of engineering and the unconscious bias females face in the real world. All of the talks discussed some common themes that showed what the UK and ACM-W chapter could work towards.

What do you call yourself – Names? A few participants mentioned how they have changed their names or used a shortened version, to allow to be more accepted in the community. By making the name sound a bit more like a bloke, these have noticed a considerable progress when applying for jobs and interviews. This was mirrored in the findings of the Harvard study where male and female candidates with similar capabilities for the same job had more successes of the male participant getting called in for an interview.
Culture and diversity UK is an extremely diverse and budding society, but there seems to be a disconnect between research groups based on culture and society integration. Further measures need to be taken to help integrate multiple diversity in the computing fields, not only focusing on women but on everyone involved, at all stages of their career.
Do what you like. A number of inspiring speakers repeated the theme and described how you will still be willing to do more because you would be enjoying your work. Computer Science allows people to innovate and introduce new ideas that revolutionize the way we live living in a technology led era. So why would you drift away?
Working on these themes and taking them forward, the day was a true Inspire event for ACM-W UK and there are a number of themes to tackle over the next year. The event will be held on a yearly basis moving across multiple universities and industries across the UK. Lastly, congratulations to the PhD students selected for two best posters of the event:

Second place: Anitta Patience Namanya, University of Bradford. “A Framework for Automated Hybrid Signature Generation for Portable Executable Malware Detection

First place: Weam Binjumah, University of Hertfordshire. “Reducing Bit Error Rate of Optical Data Transmission with Neighboring Symbol Information Using a Linear Support Vector Machine

Further details of the event:


  • ADA Lovelace 200th Birthday Symposium

    10 December 2015 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Ada Lovelace, chiefly known for her work on Charles Babbage’s early mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine.  The Symposium is aimed at a broad audience of those interested in the history and culture of mathematics and computer science, presenting new discoveries from the Oxford archives, current scholarship on Lovelace’s life and work, and linking her ideas to contemporary thinking about mathematics, computing and artificial intelligence.

  • the Heidelberg Forum

    The Heidelberg Laureate Forum was created by the Klaus Tschira Foundation, the Heidelberg Institute of Theoretical Studies, ACM, and Letters to provide an opportunity for young researchers to spend a week with winners of the Turing Award, Abel Prize, Nevanlinna Prize, and Fields Medal.  To date, three forums have been held (2013, 2014, and 2015), and all have been viewed as a major success by the 40 laureates and 200 young researchers in computer science and mathematics who attended each forum.  Details can be found at

    The Fourth Heidelberg Laureate Forum will be held September 18-23, 2016.  
    To be considered for the Heidelberg Forum, young researchers can either apply directly to the International Mathematical Union or the Norwegian Academy of Science, or be nominated by a colleague (or professor, mentor or manager) who can attest to the quality of their work.  Nominations will likely carry a bit more weight within the selection process and can be made at  but require ACM-specific credentials.  If you or a colleague would like to make a nomination, the ACM “Organization Number” is ACM72967.  Applications and nominations must be completed by February 3, 2016.

  • Would you like to contribute an article to the ACM-W Newsletter?
    With a distribution list reaching thousands of ACM-W members, contributing to the newsletter is a wonderful opportunity to share ideas and information across a wide audience. Submit a proposal for an article /submit.