Variety of attendants
This year, it was organised by UvA, VU and CWI. While the event was open to attendees of all genders, it featured a series of keynote talks from exclusively female speakers, a poster contest for female presenters, and an exhibit highlighting achievements of pioneering women in computing.
About 100 people attended throughout the day, hailing from a large variety of institutions, including more than 40 different universities, companies and research institutes.
It got off to an excellent start with a talk from IvI’s own assistant-professor Ana Oprescu, who talked about her journey in software systems starting in Romania, followed by the freshly-minted assistant-professor Marcela Tuler de Oliveira from TU Delft, who discussed challenges faced by developers of trustworthy software and encouraged young aspiring female researchers to not be shy when reaching out out for job opportunities.
After the coffee break assistant-professor Carla Groenland, also from TU Delft, discussed the role of maths problems in computing, whilst sprinkling examples through her talk of female mathematicians having worked on important problems. Professor Lynda Hardman from CWI gave a fascinating talk about using augmented reality to explore relations in literature.
IvI students won poster awards
Then, it was time to peruse the poster session and exhibit while enjoying lunch. An impressive number of abstract submissions resulted in the acceptance of 25 posters. The poster jury, consisting of keynote speakers, awarded two Poster Awards to MSc student Isabella Venancia Gardner and PhD student Shruti Rao, who happened to be both from IvI! They received a monetary prize sponsored by Versen.
Use of AI and deep learning
The afternoon program continued with a talk by Marieke van Erp, group leader at Digital Humanities Research Lab at KNAW, who showed how she uses AI to study the history of smell, entertaining the audience by handing out an actual smell sample reconstructed from historical records, whilst also giving useful advice on how to succesfully conduct interdisciplinary research. Rianne van den Berg, IvI PhD alumna and now principal researcher at Microsoft Research Amsterdam, closed off the talk series by explaining how she uses deep learning to solve challenging molecular simulation problems for computational chemistry and physics in her AI for the Natural Sciences research group.
Passionate panel discussion
Finally associate professor Paola Grosso from IvI lead a panel discussion featuring assistant-professor Emma Beauxis-Aussalet (VU), Prof. Hinda Haned (UvA), and CEO Iffat Rose Gill (Code to Change, LAB42) broadly focused on ‘digital divides’. The discussion was passionate, veering on issues faced by underrepresented groups vis-a-vis the computing world, with constructive interactions with the audience. It unfortunately had to be cut short because the borrel had to start - there, professors, students, and other people working in computing mingled, exchanging experiences, business cards and anecdotes.
The organising committee thanks all speakers for presenting their inspiring work along with their personal perspectives, and all attendees for their attendance. It happily looks back at a successful event, which was a pleasure to host at LAB42, and looks forward to attending the next instalment in 2024!