ACM-W Connections – November 2018

Welcome from the ACM-W Chair 

Over the past five years, the growth in ACM-W Student Chapters has been nothing short of amazing.  January 2013 saw the chartering of the 11th ACM-W Student Chapter.  Now there are 148 such chapters worldwide!  As more and more young women in computing become young professionals in computing, it is our hope that we can see a similar growth in ACM-W Professional Chapters.  If you are an alum of an ACM-W Student Chapter, I encourage you to consider starting an ACM-W Professional Chapter in your area or joining the one that already exists (see the Professional Chapters report for more info).  Vibrant chapters will build the next generation of ACM/ACM-W members, ensuring that the good work on behalf of women in computing continues well into the future.

Participate in the Global Survey project before December 31st!!

Over the past several months, many in the Computer Science community have participated in the global survey being conducted by the project A Global Approach to the Gender Gap in Mathematical, Computing, and Natural Sciences (https://icsugendergapinscience.org).  The goal is to collect responses from 45,000 scientists worldwide.  If you have not yet had the chance to complete the survey, please do so by December 31st.  Participation is not limited by gender and all undergraduate students, graduate students and professionals who have worked in computing are encouraged to respond. The survey will take approximately 15 minutes of your time to complete and can be accessed in one of seven languages, by visiting http://statisticalresearchcenter.org/global18. Please encourage your colleagues and peers to do the same.   

International Grad Cohort program: 2019 applications being accepted

For the past two years, ACM-W has been sponsoring teams of 2-3 people from countries outside of North America to attend the CRA-W Grad Cohort workshop in hopes that this successful program replicates in areas around the world.  Already we have seen events in India (7/2018) and Spain (10/2018) and another event is planned in Ireland early next year (2/2019).  This year’s workshop will be held April 12-13, 2019 in Chicago, IL. We invite applications to attend now through January 15, 2019.  You can find the form to apply at https://goo.gl/forms/aTWBDGYXWUgfO5BA3.

Other ACM-W News

Reports from several of our programs appear this month:

  • The Celebrations project highlights the ACM Canadian Celebration of Women in Computing (CAN-CWiC).
  • Professional Chapters and Next Generation are looking to connect with ACM-W Student Chapter alums and other young professionals who would like to engage with ACM-W.
  • The Scholarships Committee bids farewell to its longtime chair, Adriana Compagnoni, and welcomes its new leader, Viviana Bono.
  • ACM-W India features the 3rd National ACM Women Hackathon. This exciting competition began with a pool of 300 teams and culminated with the top 10 teams going head to head in a competition held at Ahmedabad University on October 7th and 8th.

Thanks for standing with us as we work to fulfill our mission.

Jodi Tims
ACM-W Chair

News from ACM-W Celebrations

The ACM Canadian Celebration of Women in Computing

On November 2nd and 3rd the ACM Canadian Celebration of Women in Computing (CAN-CWiC) visited the East Coast of Canada for the first time as Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Computer Science hosted the 2018 conference.

Taking place at the Halifax Convention Centre, CAN-CWiC welcomed 480 students, faculty and industry professionals to attend this national event for women studying and working in technology. Students represented 30 academic institutions from across Canada including the University of Waterloo, Queen’s University, McGill University and Carleton University, as well as from closer to home, with large contingents attending from the University of New Brunswick, Mount Allison University, Acadia University, Dalhousie University amongst others.

2018 sponsors included TD, DeepMind, IBM, Google, Microsoft, ACM-W, Irving Oil, Deloitte and many more.  We extend our most sincere thanks to our sponsors without whom the conference would not be possible.

Attendees enjoyed a full program of talks, workshops and panel discussions in four program tracks – Technology, Research, Diversity and Outreach – and heard from three high-profile keynote speakers – Dr. Carol Frieze and Dr. Jeria Quesenberry, Carnegie Mellon University, Dr. Una-May O’Reilly, MIT, and Dr. Carolyn Watters, Dalhousie University.

From creating inclusive environments in industry and effective networking strategies, to building FAQ Bots and live podcasts, delegates left CAN-CWiC 2018 with a lot of food for thought and inspiration.

If you are interested in organizing a Celebration, please contact Wendy Powley, the Celebrations Chair at wendy@cs.queensu.ca.

News from ACM-W Professional Chapters: Looking for recent graduates

One of our goals is to help professional chapters connect with recent graduates, especially those from colleges that have ACM-W student chapters.  We work closely with the ACM-W Next Generation Committee who is looking to engage new computing professionals as they move from academic chapters to the career stage. If you are interested in joining the Next Generation Committee and leading initiatives, contact the Committee chair, Priya Chawla at chawlpr@gmail.com.  Or if you are ready to start your own professional chapter, contact Rachelle Hippler at rhippler@bw.edu.

News from ACM Scholarship for Attendance of Research Conferences

The ACM 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 for a scholarship. Applications are evaluated at 6 occasions each year, to distribute awards across a range of conferences, with usually 3-6 awards given for each group of applications. The ACM Scholarships are made possible due to the generous support of Microsoft, Google and Oracle.

If the award is for attendance at one of the ACM special interest group (SIG) conferences, the SIG will most likely provide complementary conference registration and a mentor during the conference. The number of free registrations available varies from SIG to SIG. ACM-W has helped students attend a wide range of meetings including SIGGRAPH, SIGCHI, ICDIPC, Women in Cyber Security, ACM EC, SIGCSE, IEEE Conferences, DIS, IPDPS, ICCC, ACM CHI, AAMAS, FLAIRS, WIMS, CSCW, New Interfaces for Musical Expressions, GECCO, ICAPS, and ICSE, amongst others.

The scholarship exposes students to prominent researchers in their field, introduces students to new research, and excites them about doing research by themselves. We ask students to share with us some of their thoughts on the conference they attend, preferably with a picture, so that we can show our readers and funders the diversity of our winners. We never cease to find truly inspiring stories!

This month we have big news. Our scholarship committee chair Prof. Adriana Compagnoni  (Stevens Institute of Technology, USA) has passed on the baton and we have a new scholarship committee chair, Prof. Viviana Bono (University of Turin, Italy).  Prof Compagnoni asked us to share a few words. She says:

“It has been a great experience to be the chair of the ACM Scholarships Committee since 2012. Working with the strong women in this committee I learned to view the world through a different lens, the lens of access to an opportunity, a career, and a future. I enjoyed touching the lives of so many scholars in their early steps of their computing careers. Many of them were able to attend their first conference thanks to the support of ACM-W. In many cases we came across the humbling profiles of women battling family bias, cultural opposition, or limited funds, and it has been rewarding to be part of this committee to channel our resources to help them.

I want to personally thank each and every past and present committee member for a great ride. I know Viviana will grow the scholarships program beyond our imagination. The committee is in good hands.”

We welcome Prof Bono and say a heartfelt Thank You!! to Prof Compagnoni, for her several years of dedicated service to the scholarship committee. Prof Compagnoni will carry on helping in the committee, which is very lucky for us.

In other news, we report the award winners for the last round of the scholarship awards. We have five winners on this round, going to conferences as far apart as New Zealand and Namibia. Two of our winners Deborah Ooi (from Malaysia) and Sweta Sharma (from India) are undergraduates.  They are going, respectively, to the Voice Conference in Berlin and to Australasian Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence, in New Zealand.

The other three  awardees are doing their doctorates.  Yasmeen Abdrabou (from Egypt) is going to AfriCHI, in Namibia. Kshitija Taywade (studying at the University of Kentucky, US) is going to Norway, for 16th European Conference on Multi-Agent Systems and Ditty Mathew (from the  Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India) is also going to New Zealand, for the Australian Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Wellington. Congratulations to our five awardees!!

The next application deadline is Dec 15 for conferences taking place in Feb, 2019—Mar, 2019.   For more information and to apply visit: https://women.acm.org/scholarships/.

If you have any questions, please contact  the scholarship committee chair Prof. Viviana Bono, bono@di.unito.it.

News from ACM-W India Hackathon

To celebrate and promote women in computing, the ACM Ahmedabad chapter along with the ACM women chapter of Ahmedabad University, Oracle Academy and Tata Consultancy Services, organized 3rd National level ACM Women Hackathon 2018 on 7th and 8th October, 2018, under the theme “Sustainable Smart Society”.

Hackathons are proving grounds for new ideas and tools to stimulate the creative and problem- solving juices of computer aspirants. The event was specially designed to inspire and empower girls to come forward and unveil their talents in computing technology. The goal of this Hackathon with the theme of sustainable society was to get developers, designers and entrepreneurs come together, form connections and apply their skills to creating something of value. The hackathon was an intellectually stimulating activity that spur ideas for innovation and collaboration.

The grand finale which was held at Ahmedabad University, Ahmedabad, on 7th October, was inaugurated by ribbon cutting and e-lightning of Diya by Ms. Maria Choudhary, Council Member ACM India. Prof. Heena Timani, Secretary, ACM-W India welcomed and introduced all guests to the audience.  Prof.  Heena  Timani  elucidated  the  objective  of ACM-W Hackathon 2018 to support, motivate and inspire women researchers in India by providing them a platform where they can candidly interact with others and hence explained the importance of ACM-W Chapter

During ceremonial address of ACM women in computing, distinguished speaker, Dr. Priyanka Sharma, Professor and Head of IT and Telecommunication department, Raksha Shakti University, discussed about the lack of awareness of Cyber Laws and Cybercrimes amongst the citizen of India and encouraged all the participants to help the society by contributing their knowledge at their best.

The event received a tremendous response through registration of 300 plus teams of computer aspirant’s from all over India, ready for exhibiting their talents and innovative thinking capabilities.

A team of highly professional industrial persons, ACM members and Oracle Academy members evaluated and selected 25 best teams. The top 25 teams were interviewed through Skype on 8th September, 2018, for innovativeness of the idea, its implementation and its application for creating Sustainable Smart Society. They all were strong contestants and selecting top 10 teams for the grand finale was quite tough and brainstorming for the evaluating team members.

All the top 10 finalist teams accompanied with their respective mentors were called for an on-site final round with the theme like Healthcare and Security. These teams were given 24 hours to successfully run their application and showcase their idea to the judging panel. The penal of judges of Hackathon included Ms. Gunjan Lal, a developer Operating engineer at Adobe and a Council member ACM-W India, Mr. Amish Choudhary, The Vice President at MSCI, Mrs. Maria Choudhary from PMTS Oracle India and ACM India Council Member, Mr. Darshan Kansara, Team lead at Turabit Solutions Pvt. Ltd, and Dr. Rutvi Shah, Assistant Professor at Shri Chimanbhai Institute of Computer Applications. The process of evaluation of the projects took place in three phases. In the phases the students were not only evaluated on various technical criteria’s, but they also received valuable feedback from the judges as well as experts and professionals. The collaboration of expert knowledge and the time limit in hackathons creates a uniquely productive atmosphere that forces participants to distill their visionary concepts down to actionable solutions. All the teams were given marks on the basis of these three rounds and the team based on maximum marks were declared the winners.

The Valedictory session on 8th October, started with an address on Women in Computing by Prof. Sanjay Choudhary, Associate Dean, School of Computer Studies and School of Engineering and Applied Science, Ahmedabad University.

The Cash Prize, Trophies and Winning Certificates were awarded to students for holding First, Second and Third rank. A special award prize was also awarded to a team who came up with an innovative idea than rest of the teams.

The Hackathon Winners were sponsored by Oracle Academy, India and announced by Ms. Suji Goplan were:

  1. First Prize Rs.24,000 Awarded to Saloni Chudghar, Dhruvi Gajjar and Arpita Sukhawani, team from School of Engineering And Applied Science, Ahmedabad University for Project Title “Know Your Own Surrounding”
  2. Second Prize Rs.15,000 Awarded to Alisha Lotlekar, Jolwina Fernandes and Yogeeta Laxmikant Shirodker, team from Goa University for Project Title” Medikit”
  3. Third Prize Rs.12,000 Awarded to Mylavarapu HemaSri, Sabbella Lakshmi Prasanna, Priyamvada Mahesh from Amrita School of Engineering, Coimbatore, for Project Title “Elderly Fall Detection System”
  4. Special Mention Innovative Idea prize awarded to Mansi Dhru, Ripal Sanghavi and Tina Adwani team from School of Computer Studies, Ahmedabad University Project Title “Data Security Using Data Masking”

ACM-W Hackathon 2018 and celebration of women in computing was successfully completed under great enthusiasm and the encouraging support and guidance of Prof. Sanjay Choudhary, Associate Dean, School of Computer Studies, Ahmedabad University and Mr. Chandra Shekhar Sahasrabudhe, Chief Operating Officer ACM India, Persistent System Ltd.