|Photo credit to my friend Mona El Mahdy|
Aida Ghazizadeh from the Department of Computer Science at Old Dominion University also was awarded travel scholarships to attend this year's GHC. I hope ODU will have more participation in the upcoming years.
The conference theme this year was "Everywhere. Everyone.”. Computer technologies are everywhere and everyone should be included for driving innovations. There were multiple technical tracks featuring the latest technologies in many fields such as cloud computing, data science, security, and Swift Playgrounds Programming language by Apple. Conference presenters represented many different fields, such as academia, industry, and government. The non-profit organization "Computing Research Association Committee on Women in Computing (CRA-W)", also offered sessions targeted towards academics and business. I had a chance to attend Graduate Cohort Workshop in 2013, which was held in Boston, MA, and created a blog post about it.
The first day started off with welcoming the 8,000 conference attendees by Dr. Telle Whitney, the president and the CEO of Anita Borg Institute. She mentioned how the GHC started the first time on 1994 in Washington DC to bring together research and career interests of women in computing and encourage the participation of women in computing. "Join in, connect with one another, be inspired by our speakers, be inspired by our award winners, develop your own skill and knowledge at the leadership workshops and at the technical sessions, let's all inspire and increase the ratio, and make technology for everyone everywhere,” Whitney said. Then she introduced Alex Wolf, the President of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) and a professor in Computing at Imperial College London, UK, for opening remarks.
|Barbara Biungi and Durbana Habib|
- "The next time you witness a technical woman doing something great, please tell her, or better tell others about her."
- "The core of aspiration in computing is a powerful formula recognition plus community.”
- "Technical Women are not outliers."
- "Heads up to all of you employers out there. There is a legion of young women heading your way that will negotiating their salaries ... so budget accordingly!"
The keynote of the first day was for Shafi Goldwasser, RSA Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT and 2012 recipient of the Turing Award, about the history and benefits of cryptography and also her work in cryptography. She discussed the challenges in encryption and cloud computing. Here are some highlights from Goldwasser's talk:
- "With the magic of cryptography, we can get the benefits of technology without the risks."
- "Cryptography is not just about finding the bad guys, it is really about correctness, and privacy of computation"
- "I believe that a lot of the challenges for the future of computer science are to think about new representations of data. And these new representations of data will enable us to solve the challenges of the future."
|Picture taken from My Ramblings blog|
The sessions started after the lunch break. I attended CRA-W track: Finding Your Dream Job Presentations, which had presentations by Jaeyeon Jung from Microsoft Research and Lana Yarosh from University of Minnesota. The session targeted the late stage graduate students for helping them in deciding how to apply for jobs, how to prepare for interview, and also how to negotiate a job offer. The presenters allotted a big time slot for questions after they finished their presentations. For more information about "Finding Your Dream Job Presentations" session and the highlights of the session, here is an informative blog post:
GHC14 - Finding your Dream Job Presentations
|A global community of women leaders panel|
There were many interesting sessions, such as, "Building Your Professional Persona Presentations" and "Building Your Professional Network Presentations", for presenting how to build your professional image and how to promote yourself and present your ideas in a concise and appealing way to the people. These are two blog posts that cover the two sessions in details:
|Facebook booth in the career fair #GHC14|
|Cotton candy in the career fair #GHC14|
Day 2 started with welcoming from the audience by Barb Gee, the vice president of programs for Anita Borg institute. Gee presented the GirlRising videoclip "I'm not a number".
After the clip, Dr. Whitney introduced the special guest, the amazing Megan Smith, the new Chief Technology Officer of the United States and the previously vice president of Google[x]. Smith was a last year's keynote speaker, in which she gave a very inspiring talk entitled, "Passion, Adventure and Heroic Engineering". Smith welcomed the audience and talked about her new position as the CTO of the United States. She expressed her happiness to serve the president of USA and serve her country. "Let’s work together together to bring everyone a long and to bring technology that we know how to solve the problems with," Smith said at the end of her short inspiring talk.
The 2014 GHC technical leadership ABIE award went to Anne Condon, a professor and the head of the Department of Computer Science at University of British Columbia. Condon donated her award to Grace Hopper India and Programs of the Computing Research Association (CRA).
|Maria Kawle on the right Satya Nadella on the left|
In answer to a tough question "Why does Microsoft hire fewer female engineer employers than male?", Nadella said that they all now have the numbers out there. Microsoft number is about 17% and it is almost the same numbers as Google, Facebook, and little below Apple. He said, "the real issue in our company how to make sure that we are getting women who are very capable into company and well represented".
In response to a question about how to ask for a raise in salary, Nadella said: "It’s not really about asking for a raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will give you the right raise." Nadella got a torrent of criticism and irate reaction on twitter.
Nadella later apologized for his "inarticulate” remarks in a tweet, followed by an issued statement to Microsoft employee, which was published on company's website.
Was inarticulate re how women should ask for raise. Our industry must close gender pay gap so a raise is not needed because of a bias #GHC14
— Satya Nadella (@satyanadella) October 9, 2014
"I answered that question completely wrong," said Nadella. "I believe men and women should get equal pay for equal work. And when it comes to career advice on getting a raise when you think it’s deserved, Maria’s advice was the right advice. If you think you deserve a raise, you should just ask."
Here are some links for the reaction on Nadella's talk:
- Microsoft CEO criticized for suggesting women not ask for raises
- Microsoft’s Nadella Sets Off a Furor on Women’s Pay
- Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella to Women: Don't Ask For A Raise, Trust Karma
- Microsoft CEO Suggests Women Not Ask for Raises, Trust in 'Karma'
- Microsoft's Nadella does about-face on women and raises
- Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella apologises after saying women should not ask for a pay raise because 'it's not good karma'
- Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella apologises after saying women should not ask for a pay raise because 'it's not good karma’
- Why women don't get raises
- After Nadella’s Advice on Raises, Can Microsoft Women Go to the NLRB?
Arati Prabhakar, the Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Dr. Prabhakar talked about "how do we shape our times with the technology that we work on and we passionate about?". Dr. Prabhakar shared neat technologies with us in her keynote. She started with a video of a quadriplegic using her thoughts to control a robotic arm by blogged her brain to the computer. She talked about building technologies at DARPA. She answered many questions from at the end related to her work in DARPA. It is an amazing to see a successful women who creates technology that serves her country. The keynote ended with a nice video promoting GHC 2015.
|Latest trends and technical challenges of big data panel|
|ArabWIC lunch table|
After that I attended the "Data Science in Social Media Analysis Presentations", which included three presentations that talk about data analysis. The three useful presentations were:
|"How to be a data scientist?" by Christina Zou|
- Lexicon-Based Sentiment Analysis Using the Most- Mentioned Word Tree by Bo-Hyun Kim (HP Vertica)
- Big Data Products: How do I start? by Divya Jain (Box Inc.)
- How Do Celebrities Use Twitter? A Social Media Clustering Study by Christina Zou (Twitter)
|The picture taken from GHC Facebook page|
At the end of the day, Friday celebration, which was sponsored by Google, Microsoft, GoDaddy, begins at 7:30. The dancing floor was full of amazing ladies celebrating and dancing with glowing sticks!
It was fantastic meeting a large number of like-minded peers and future employers. I'm pleased to have this great opportunity which allowed me to network and communicate with many great women in computing. GHC allowed me to discuss my research ideas with many senior women and got positive feedback about it. I came back with multiple ideas that will help me shape my next phase of my research and my next career path.