Carnegie Mellon Hosts Conference on Computer Science Research Opportunities for Undergraduate Women

BY Byron Spice - Mon, 2007-04-23 12:00  Printer-friendly version

Frances Allen, the first woman to receive the nation's top computer science honor, the A.M. Turing Award, will be a keynote speaker this fall at a conference focusing on computer science research opportunities for undergraduate women.

The first-of-its-kind conference, titled OurCS (Opportunities for Undergraduate Research in Computer Science), will be held Oct. 5-7 at Carnegie Mellon University. Participants will learn about research by doing research — working in teams guided by scientists from academia and industry — and will be given a chance to present talks or posters about their own research. Women graduate students from computer science departments across the country will provide additional insights by sharing their perspectives about life and work in graduate school.

"This conference is unusual because it will enable undergraduates to interact with some of the top women involved in computer science research and get to know like-minded women from across the globe," said Carol Frieze, director of Women@SCS, an organization that promotes opportunities for women at Carnegie Mellon's School of Computer Science and one of the conference sponsors.

Increasing the role of women in computing has been a special interest of Allen since she retired from IBM Research in 2002. This past February, Allen, an IBM Fellow Emerita at the T.J. Watson Research Center in Hawthorne, N.Y., received the Association for Computing Machinery's 2006 Turing Award. The award, considered computer science's equivalent of the Nobel Prize, recognized her pioneering work in optimizing compiler techniques for high-performance computer systems, which became the basis for procedures and technologies widely used throughout the computing industry.

Other keynote speakers will be Jennifer Tour Chayes, manager for mathematics and theoretical computer science at Microsoft Research; and Jeannette Wing, head of the Computer Science Department within Carnegie Mellon's School of Computer Science. On July 1, Wing will become assistant director for Computer Science & Information Science and Engineering at the National Science Foundation.

Motivating young women to explore careers in computer science research is critical in light of recent declines in U.S. enrollments in computer science programs, particularly among women, Frieze said. "Yet computer science is increasingly a critical factor that is driving discoveries in a wide variety of fields," she added. "Computer science needs to draw on diverse talents and interests, so we need to make sure that people are aware of the opportunities available within the discipline."

In addition to Women@SCS, OurCS is sponsored by Carnegie Mellon and Microsoft Research. Registration is $25 and is open to all undergraduate women. Complimentary hotel accommodations will be provided to student participants visiting Pittsburgh. Registration deadline is June 15.

For registration and other information, visit www.cs.cmu.edu/ourcs.

About Carnegie Mellon: Carnegie Mellon is a private research university with a distinctive mix of programs in engineering, computer science, robotics, business, public policy, fine arts and the humanities. More than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students receive an education characterized by its focus on creating and implementing solutions for real problems, interdisciplinary collaboration, and innovation. A small student-to-faculty ratio provides an opportunity for close interaction between students and professors. While technology is pervasive on its 144-acre campus, Carnegie Mellon is also distinctive among leading research universities for the world-renowned programs in its College of Fine Arts. For more, see www.cmu.edu.

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Byron Spice | 412-268-9068 | bspice [atsymbol] cs.cmu.edu