The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing was held in Chicago on October 6-9. This was the fifth such conference, since its inception in 1994. This year there were over 800 attendees from all over the country.
This conference is a forum for discussion of issues faced by women and a showcase for achievements of women in the fields of computing and technology. There were a number of talks on social issues, some technical presentations by young investigators, and a few invited technical talks. There were also a number of social and networking events hosted by IBM, Microsoft, Google and others.
Among the invited talks, there were three I particularly enjoyed.
Jessica Hodgins of CMU talked about connections between ideas in robotics and computer graphics and animation, especially simulation of human movements.
Cynthia Dwork of Microsoft Research spoke about the problem of publishing (transformed) data from public databases (such as census data) so as to maintain a balance between the utility of the published information and the protection of the privacy of individuals represented by the data. Her approach to privacy is influenced by ideas from cryptography.
Daniela Rus of MIT spoke about self-reconfiguring robots. These robots are distributed systems, consisting of a number of identical modules which can dynamically adapt the way that they are connected to each other to best fit the task at hand.