The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology concluded this year's Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing with the Code-a-thon for Humanity, part of the conference's Open Source Day activities. Participants coded for humanitarian causes including Google Crisis Response, Kids on Computers, and Sahana Software Foundation.
The world's largest gathering of women in computing, the Grace Hopper Celebration is a four-day technical conference designed to bring together the research and career interests of women in computing and highlight their accomplishments across industry, academia and government. The conference, attended by a record-breaking 2,908 people, was held in Portland, OR, November 9-12, 2011.
Events Friday were highlighted by keynote speaker, Shirley Ann Jackson, president, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. A theoretical physicist, Jackson was chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the 1990s, and currently serves on the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, appointed by President Obama in 2009.
Jackson's keynote, "What if I Lived on the World Stage?," addressed the importance of meeting today's challenges and opportunities with a global perspective: "We are fortunate to live in a time of interconnectedness, where communications and collective action are possible at an international level," Jackson said. "We have seen the consequence of this in terms of social and structural change in a number of countries recently. However, in thrusting people of different cultures together daily and rapidly, our smaller world also creates difficulties in achieving true understanding and consideration."
She continued, "Science and technology work across language and culture in a special way. They are global disciplines that reach past nationalities and ethnicities. Thanks to new technologies, we have the opportunity to work in a coordinated way as we face challenges that affect everyone on this planet."
High-ranking technology executives spoke on a plenary panel titled Partnering with Executive Leaders for Shared Vision and Career Growth. The plenary addressed how increasing women at executive levels can only be accomplished when men and women have frank and open conversations that bring together organizational and personal strengths, and map them to business goals and objectives.
The Award Ceremony featured technical women whose work has not only impacted the development of technology but also positively impacted the lives of women in technology:
The conference concluded Saturday with Code-a-thon for Humanity, a collaboration of technologists who wrote code for OSS projects supporting humanitarian initiatives, including:
"The tremendous growth and impact of this year's Grace Hopper Celebration is nothing short of amazing," said Deanna Kosaraju, vice president of strategic initiatives, Anita Borg Institute. "Our attendees have come to expect new programs and opportunities for growth that will support them in their academic and professional endeavors. The Code-a-thon for Humanity is just one of many innovative initiatives we strive to deliver that not only facilitates learning for technical women, but also showcases the benefits of technology as it applies to our society."
The next Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing will be held at the Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, MD, October 3-6, 2012.
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