CS Celebrates Women in Computing
Picture 1: 2008 CS Grace Hopper Attendees: Prof. Sonia Fahmy, Jeff Blenman, Titaphia Tiet, Shweta Gupte, Yinian Qi, Emily Raymond, and Gita Ruban Mahamandra.
Picture 2: An art performance by David Garibaldi produced a portrait of Grace Hopper.
In October, three graduate students, five undergraduates, and one faculty member had the opportunity to attend the 2008 Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing hosted by the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology.
Five students, accompanied by Prof. Sonia Fahmy, received scholarships from the conference and were asked to present posters that they submitted to the conference earlier this year. The posters were titled Private Searching for Nearest Neighbors, EXAM - A Comprehensive Environment for Access Control Policy Analysis and Management, Protein Representation for Efficient Comparison of Surface Properties, Using Parallel Computing to Search for High Rank Elliptic Curves, and Scholarship Day (presented by Yinian Qi, Prathima Rao, Sael Lee, Shweta Gupte, and Emily Raymond respectively). The posters were based on PhD thesis, research experience, and outreach topics that the students work on at Purdue. Prathima, a graduate student, said, "During the poster session I had the opportunity to explain my work to many graduate students, professors and people from the industry. It was very encouraging to see people express interest in my work."
In addition to presenting posters, the students had the opportunity to attend sessions put on by graduate students, professors, and industry workers. Graduate student Yinian Qi said, “Grace Hopper is a good platform for students to interact with researchers in industry and know what's going on outside.”
The theme of GHC was "We Build a Better World" and many of the sessions were presented by different people who have contributed to changing the world with technology. Just one of many examples was a session about One Laptop per Child (OLPC), where a woman professor had spent two years in Ghana, Africa, piloting OLPC.
Fran Allen, the first woman ACM Turing award winner and IBM Fellow Emerita, was one of the keynote speakers that students from Purdue had the opportunity to meet. Mary Lou Jepsen, CEO Pixel Qi, also was a keynote speaker that shared her experience in changing the world through technology.
Titapha Tiet, an undergraduate senior in computer science, said about Grace Hopper: "It was inspiring going to a conference where there were so many women dedicated to and passionate about computer science. My favorite session was one hosted by ShotSpotter a company who used technology to make the world a better place. It was great to learn about the methods used by the company and the difference their technology made in cutting down violence in cities."
The 2009 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing will be held September 30-October 3 in Tucson, Arizona.