ACM-W Connections–October 2019

Welcome from the ACM-W Chair

The 2019 Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) was held on October 2-4 in Orlando, FL.  ACM-W once again participated in several activities during the conference.  In collaboration with our partners at CRA-WP and NCWIT, we presented a session entitled “What Does Success Look Like?”.  Tracy Camp, Lucy Sanders and I were joined by Kim Vorrath (Apple), Ed Lazowska (University of Washington), and two of our ACM-W student chapter leaders from College of William & Mary, Katherine Lannen and Linda Wu.  Each of the presenters told their story of success in increasing participation of women in computing in their setting.  I was particularly proud of our student leaders as they talked about the dynamic ACM-W student chapter they have built, which has won Chapter Excellence awards each of the past two years.

ACM-W, in partnership with CRA-WP, sponsored a session entitled “ACM Award Winning Research in Cybersecurity”.  Aisha Ali-Gomba Alexandra Dmitrienko, and Shagufta Mehnaz gave encore presentations of their presentations that earned them best paper honors at ACM conferences during the last year.

Finally, I want to give a shout out to Bettina Bair, Communications Chair, and the team of ACM-W faculty and student volunteers who helped make our ACM-W booth in the exhibit hall a huge success. (See Bettina’s report below for more details).  Many visitors to the booth helped fill our maps with sticky notes representing their interest in starting a new student or professional chapter or holding a celebration in their home region.  As we follow up on these leads, we hope to see a surge in ACM-W presence worldwide in the coming months. 

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

Jodi Tims
ACM-W Chair

Reminder: Rising Star Award Nominations are Open!

The ACM-W Rising Star Award is a new award to recognize a woman whose early-career research has had a significant impact on the computing discipline, as measured by factors such as frequent citation of their work, creation of a new research area, a high degree of technology transfer and/or other positive influences and societal impact. The award will be given annually, and the recipient will receive a framed certificate and $1,000 stipend. Nominations will remain open until November 15, 2019. ACM-W thanks Andrea Goldsmith, ACM Athena Award winner, for her generous donation that made this award possible. More information about the award and the nomination form can be found at https://women.acm.org/acm-w-awards/rising-star-award/

Meeting the community at GHC 2019

Bettina Bair, ACM-W Communications Chair

ACM-W had a booth at last week’s Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. Over the four days of the event, the booth was continuously staffed by ACM-W committee members and ACM-W student chapter members. ACM-W is especially grateful for the generous help by members of student chapters who volunteered in our booth. They really provided an incredible boost and positive energy.

Lillian Chow and Jenni Silverstein, of the Ohio State University ACM-W Student Chapter. Photo by Bettina Bair

The volunteers seemed to be having fun as well. Jin Koay, of the University of Central Florida ACM-W Student Chapter said, “Getting to volunteer at the ACM-W booth made my GHC experience all the more memorable. After a whole day and a half of visiting company booths, it was nice to do something a little different and meaningful for the community around me. I enjoyed meeting other ACM-W members, sharing about what my chapter (UCF) does, and encouraging prospective members to start an ACM-W chapter at their institutions. Side note: I absolutely loved the cute stickers at the ACM-W booth!”

Volunteer booth staff distributed more than 20k of those cute ACM-W stickers.  They also gave away thousands of pieces of ACM swag that included pamphlets, pens, pencils, and small notebooks.

We were pleased to be able to meet so many talented women in computing during the conference. There was a continuous stream of people at our booth who were interested in learning more about ACM-W.

Visitors heard about the benefits of ACM-W Chapter membership and attending a Regional Celebration. ACM-W has nearly 200 chapters and more than 70,000 members worldwide. Many times we were able to connect a booth visitor to an existing chapter already active in her school. We were also able to collect information from several attendees who were interested in starting a new chapter in their area.  

More than 70 women said that they would like to start an ACM-W Professional Chapter in their area. Popular locations included: SF, LA, Chicago, Cincinnati, Seattle and Richmond, VA. If you are interested in starting an ACM-W Professional Chapter in your area, please visit: https://www.acm.org/chapters/professionals/how-to-start-a-professional-acm-w-chapter

More than 30 girls said that they wanted to start an ACM-W Student Chapter in their school. If you are interested in starting an ACM-W Student Chapter in your school, please visit: https://women.acm.org/chapter/student-chapter-quick-start-guide/

Please visit our Facebook page to see our GHC19 photo album, and tribute to all of our volunteers: https://www.facebook.com/women.acm.org/

News from ACM-W Student Chapters

We’re excited to welcome our five new chapters: Sri Venkateswara College of Engineering in Tamil Nadu, India; Oregon State University in Cascades; University of Massachusetts in Lowell; University of Alabama in Huntsville; and Kent State University.

It was so exciting to meet many ACM-W members from around the world at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing.  We’d like to thank all the student volunteers who helped out at the booth in the Exhibit Hall.  We collected information from people interested in joining or starting both student and professional chapters as well as distributing a lot of our ACM-W stickers.

News from ACM Scholarships

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 conferences (SIG conferences), the SIG will most likely provide complimentary 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, Women in Cyber Security, ACM EC, SIGCSE, IEEE Conferences, DIS, IPDPS, ICCC, ACM CHI, AAMAS, FLAIRS, WIMS, CSCW, 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!

Since we are now in the process of putting up the full collection of reports from previous winners online at https://women.acm.org/scholars/acm-w-scholars/?sch_year=2019, here we simply report the award winners for the last round of the scholarship decisions. (actually, we’re still working on the backlog, but getting there!)

Bianca Teixeira, a Master’s student from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil went to INTERACT, a conference in Human-Computer Interaction in Paphos, Cyprus and wrote to us “INTERACT 2019 was my first Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) conference, which is my field of study. I am a Master’s student with little experience in academia, so attending the conference was very eye-opening. I got to meet people from all over the world who work in so many fascinating projects in HCI, and this only made me more excited to keep working and researching. I loved presenting my paper on fake news and misinformation at a workshop, and loved discussing my research with fellow researchers. The community seemed very open to engage in debate on the future of the information world regarding misinformation, which was really cool.” Kritika Agrawal, from Hyderabad, India attended the  2019 Annual Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (NAACL 2019) in  Minnesota, United States and sweetly wrote to us: “NAACL 2019 in Minneapolis, USA was a life changing experience for me and I cannot thank ACM W and my institute’s lab, DSAC, enough for giving me this wonderful opportunity. […] NAACL was an absolutely amazing experience for me as I got to experience a community that I wish to become an integral part of some day. Though initially a little overwhelming, the numerous formal and informal sessions provided a platform for insightful, comfortable, and fun interactions. For my first conference, I could not have asked for a better experience!” 

We are proud to see our students going places and striving to give back to others. Congratulations to all our awardees!!

The next application deadline is October 15 for conferences taking place in Dec 1 – Jan 30, 2020.   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, at bono@di.unito.it.

News from ACM-W Europe

Rome, Italy  September 16-18, 2019
https://womencourage.acm.org

womENcourage 2019 ACM Celebration of Women in Technology brought the buzz and much excitement to Rome in September. Women in the computing profession came together for a programme packed with insightful topics and engaging educational and networking activities. 

In the spirit of diversity, 350 participants from 32 countries across Europe, Asia, Africa and America included more than half students (62% graduate and 38% undergraduate) and 15% malen attendees.

Participants were delighted with opportunities to learn from each other, to inspire and to be inspired.  After attending the womEncourage, Joanna Broniarek sent a note : 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the organizers of the ACM Celebration of Women in Computing, womENcourage 2019 conference held in Rome, for the scholarship and wonderful experience. I enjoyed all of the aspects of this three-day event. The first day was quite challenging for me as it was my first hackathon. However, after meeting my teammates and spending a few hours building our business product we unanimously agreed that it was above all great fun and we are proud of our work.

Nevertheless, that was not the end of my challenges, because I had the pleasure to present my poster for the next day. It was also my first experience of this kind and that is why I am even more grateful for nominating my poster for the 10 best posters at the conference. It is a great honour for me. All the workshops, important talks and wonderful people were very inspiring to me. I hope to see you again at next year’s conference.”

Read more about the Hackathon and the WSense Lab in our blog: https://acmweurope.acm.org/inspire-learn-and-experience-at-the-heart-of-womencourage-2019/

In the following months, our blog will be used by womENcourage participants to share their experiences and reflections. Stay tuned!

ADA University to host womENcourage 2020 in Baku

We have exciting news! The 7th ACM Celebration of Women in Computing: womENcourage 2020 will be  held in Baku, Azerbaijan at the ADA University.

Azerbaijan is a culturally rich region, upholding its traditions. It is known as the first democratic republic (1918) in the Muslim East, where women were granted the right to vote in 1919, before many Western democracies.

Baku has been a popular destination for many international events from Eurovision in 2012 to European Games in 2015 and annual F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix starting from 2017. Most recently, it has been the home of the 31st International Olympiad in Informatics IOI2019 (www.ioi2019.az) in August 2019.

womENcourage 2020 host, the ADA University (www.ada.edu.az) is a young progressive university and has held local annual Ada’s Legacy events since 2016.

Join us in Azerbaijan! We look forward to seeing you there for another exciting and trully enthrilling womENcourage event!

News from ACM-W India

ACM-W India Celebration of Women in Computing 2019

ACM-W India Celebration of Women in Computing 2019 was organized by ACM W India and  ACM Ahmedabad Chapter at IIT Gandhinagar on 13th July 2019 under the theme “Soft Computing for Global Development”. The conference focused on the importance of Soft Computing for humanity and the career paths for Women in Computing.

Prof. Rutvi Shah, Assistant Professor, Chimanbhai Institute of Technology

The inaugural ceremony started with a Welcome Address by Prof. Rutvi Shah, Vice Chairman of ACM Ahmedabad Chapter.

Prof. Heena Timani, ACM-W India Executive Council Chair

This was followed by a Ceremonial Address by Prof. Heena Timani, ACM-W India Executive Council Chair in which she talked about the motto and purpose of ACM-W and how each one of us can contribute. During the Ceremonial Address, Prof. Timani, briefed the audience about Association of Computing Machinery being the largest computing education society worldwide that strives unconditionally to raise the bar of students by helping them in terms of career resources, mentoring, workshops, conferences and publications She focused on the objective of AICWiC’19 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. She also discussed the various events and awards conducted by ACM and ACM-W in India.

Dr Gargi Das Gupta, Director of IBM Research India and CTO of IBM India and South Asia

The first Keynote address of the day was delivered by Dr Gargi Das Gupta, Director of IBM Research India and CTO of IBM India and South Asia. She elaborated on how Artificial Intelligence is omnipresent in today’s world and how it can be applied to solve real-world problems, particularly in the sphere of Retail and Agriculture. She also explained the evolution of AI from Narrow to Broad to General AI and how IBM is contributing to the advancements in the field.

Prof. Joycee M Mekie, IIT Gandhinagar

The second keynote was delivered by Prof. Joycee M Mekie, IIT Gandhinagar, on the topic “Energy Efficient Hardware for AI/ML”. She highlighted the often-ignored hardware aspects of technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning and introduced the performance and energy challenges faced by researchers today. She focused on the trade-offs between error-resiliency and energy consumption. Other research areas explained by her include Approximation, Energy Efficient Memory Design, Radiation Hardened designs for Space, etc.

The two sessions were very complementary to each other as one highlighted the software aspects of AI, while the other drew the audience’s attention to the hardware aspects.

The keynotes were followed by a Poster presentation in which various students displayed their research work before the jury in the form of posters.

After a lunch break, the session continued with Panel Discussion on the theme “Soft Computing for Global Development/ Women in Computing”.

The Expert Panelists were:

  • Prof. Hiteishi Diwanji, Head IT Department, L.D. College of Engineering
  • Prof. Neeldhara Misra, Assistant Professor CSE, IIT Gandhinagar
  • Prof. Rutvi Shah, Assistant Professor, Chimanbhai Institute of Technology
  • Ms. Gunjan Lal, DevOps Engineer, Adobe India and ACM-W Council Member

The Panel Discussion was moderated by Prof. Heena Timani. The panelists elaborated on their career path and encouraged the girls to take their technical careers further.

(L to R) Prof. Heena Timani, ACM-W India Executive Council Chair Prof. Hiteishi Diwanji, Head It Department, L.D. College of Engineering Prof. Neeldhara Misra, Assistant Professor CSE, IIT Gandhinagar Prof. Rutvi Shah, Assistant Professor, Chimanbhai Institute of Technology Ms. Gunjan Lal, DevOps Engineer, Adobe India and ACM-W Council Member

Prof. Hiteishi Diwanji shared her thoughts on Information Technology and Humanity, and also highlighted the Pros and cons of teaching in Government set up. Prof. Neeldhara Misra connected with the students with various examples from her own life and explained how she made her career in teaching Computer Science to the bright undergraduate students. Prof. Rutvi Shah elaborated on her research in Soft computing and also focused on the non-academic activities in teaching. Ms. Gunjan Lal gave an overview of issues in education for women in STEM fields and emphasized on the different domains in the corporate world in Computing.  All the panelists shared how their association with ACM and ACM-W had helped them in their careers.

The session came to an end with a Valedictory Award Ceremony where the winners for Lady Ada Programming Competition and Poster Presentation were felicitated with prizes by Dr. Chandrashekhar Sahasrabudhe, COO of ACM India and Suji Gopalan, Country Manager of Oracle Academy India.

        The Official Vote of Thanks was delivered by Ms. Gunjan Lal who thanked Oracle, TCS and Reliscore for supporting this initiative and the whole team at IIT Gandhinagar for being such great hosts.

In her Concluding Remarks, Prof. Neeldhara Misra expressed her gratitude to the whole organizing team of AICWiC’19 and the audience for making the event a huge success.

ACM India Summer School for Women, 2-14 July 2019

The ACM-W Summer School on Algorithmic Game Theory was held from 2nd July to 14th July 2019 at the Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar. The school saw 50 hours of lectures by nine speakers, namely: Meghana Nasre (IIT Madras), Prajakta Nimbhorkar (CMI), Sushmita Gupta (NISER Bhubaneswar), Dinesh Garg (IBM), Siddharth Barman (IISc), Nidhi Rathi (IISc), Palash Dey (IIT Kharagpur) and Neeldhara Misra (IIT Gandhinagar), apart from several tutorials supported by Chinmay Sonar (MTech scholar, IIT Gandhinagar) and Suman Banerjee (PhD scholar, IIT Kharagpur). 

The students appreciated the overall experience of the school. Apoorva Manerikar, a B.Tech final year student in Computer Science at MIT-World Peace University, Pune and a participant at the Summer School 2019, said: “A variety of eminent speakers, a fair-mix of mathematics and engineering graduates and algorithmic game theory – it was a perfect combination for us! The topics were new and we were thrilled at the way they were explained to us here. It was a wonderful and enriching experience.” Another participant, Namrata Sahayam, a Ph.D. scholar from Shri Govindram Seksaria Institute of Technology and Science, Indore, explained that this initiative by IIT Gandhinagar will be very beneficial for all the women-participants in their future careers. According to her, the most interesting part was the ease with which the speakers switched between the basics and detailed real-life examples while covering a wide range of topics. “To experience the education and the entire academic structure of IIT Gandhinagar was like a dream come true! The excellently managed library services and world-class faculty are some of the best features of this Institute,” she said. All participants received certificates of participation in summer school.

The school focused on topics in computational social choice, covering traditional topics and recent advances alike. The broad themes that were covered included stable and popular matchings, fair division of indivisible items and cake cutting and problems related to elections and voting.. The school witnessed participation from 35 girls who had come from across various colleges in the country. A special session was hosted by Ms. Pallavi Khandelwal from Codechef, who addressed various issues related to women in computing, in particular calling out gender stereotypes related to coding and math, and also issues related to societal biases. This was an especially inspiring session that lasted well beyond the planned time, and participants opened up about the various challenges that they faced even in being able to make it to the present school.

The lecture videos are now available online from this link