Sujata Baral

GECCO 2017 was the first conference I attended in my research career. Any first experience in life remains memorable as we get the chance to go through a whole new set of experiences. Attending GECCO 2017 to present our research paper was also a unique experience for me on many grounds. I had the opportunity to update myself by gathering knowledge from the workshop, tutorials and presentation sessions. I came to know about ongoing research activities of different universities. I also became aware of the gaps between academic research and industrial requirements. I was enlightened with the knowledge of people’s effort from both of these different but inter-related world, who are working together to bridge the gap. What they are doing to build a common platform. Some of the approaches those failed previously and later how they succeed. From another session, I gathered an insight of real world problems and how researchers are working to improve and apply various algorithms to find a solution. How they are collaborating by sharing data and research findings to realize a big project. In addition to educational and technical knowledge sharing, I also had the opportunity to meet wonderful people who have enriched my knowledge base by discussing academic goals, career, and perspective on working environment. I would also like to acknowledge the contribution of the organizers of GECCO women workshop, who have once again inspired me to chase my dreams, to create a balance between my career goals and social life, to realize that it is alright to go through struggles and hard work to achieve something in life. Last but not the least; I will elaborate a small incident here as an example of the positive outcome of attending a conference like GECCO. I prepared my presentation slides in consultation with my supervisor before I started for Germany. After attending sessions at GECCO, I realized that there is more scope of improvement. I updated those slides and sent to my supervisor again, who also appreciated the new ideas I acquired within those four days. Another positive result of this travel was, I had the chance of exploring a new city all by myself, which has increased my level of confidence. This will help me to pursue for a PhD opportunity in a foreign country in future. I would like to thank my supervisor Dr. Swakkhar Shatabda for his inspiration and support to apply for ACM-W award, all members and sponsors of ACM-W who has created this unique opportunity for women and GECCO organizers for organizing such a magnificent event. I can now proudly say that I have become a part of GECCO and ACM-W network.