Computing Applications Tapia conference letter

Diverse Connections

  1. Introduction
  2. How Can You Help?
  3. Author
  4. Footnotes

Which computer science conference:

  • Includes a past president of the National Academy of Engineering, a past chair of IBM Academy of Technology, a past president of ACM, a past chair of the Computing Research Association, several members of the National Academy of Engineering, and the current executive vice president of Research and Engineering at Google?
  • Has Google, Intel, Microsoft, Cisco, and NetApp as major sponsors?
  • Has attendance that averages 50% female, 40% African American, and 30% Hispanic?

The answer is the Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference, to be held April 3–5, 2011 (

Created as a supportive networking environment for underrepresented groups in computing and information technology, the Tapia conference celebrates and attracts students and professionals from diverse backgrounds pursuing careers in our field. This biannual event features inspiring speakers, a dynamic technical program, and a community of encouragement and motivation. While there have long been computing conferences focused on individual minority groups, Tapia was founded as an inclusive conference transcending demographic changes over time. And it works!

A survey from Tapia 2009 found that 82% of the attendees agreed the conference increased their dedication to complete their degree and reaffirmed their belief that computing was the right career path for them. One reason is that the Tapia Conference helps people from underrepresented groups overcome the feelings of isolation sadly all too common in our field.

Tapia 2011 marks the 10th anniversary of the conference. Tapped to serve as general chair is David Patterson, UC Berkeley—past president of ACM, past chair of the CRA, member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Sciences.

Some of the highlights planned for the event include:

  • The Memorial Ken Kennedy Lecture will be given by Irving Wladawsky-Berger, former chair of the IBM Academy of Engineering and the HENAAC Hispanic Engineer of the Year;
  • A speech on the future of IT by Alan Eustace, executive vice president for Research and Engineering at Google;
  • Presentation of the 2011 Richard Tapia Award to William Wulf, University of Virginia, and past president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The program will feature luminaries like Deborah Estrin of UCLA, Blaise Aguera y Arcas of Microsoft, John Kubiatowicz of UC Berkeley, and rising stars like Ayanna Howard of Georgia Tech, Ilya Hicks of Rice University, and Patty Lopez of Intel. There will be workshops on resumé writing, professional development, and a doctoral consortium.

New this year is a focus on connections: between speakers and audience, among students and professionals, and beyond the conference via remote research collaborations. The program provides many opportunities to network and build relationships, including an opening reception, a poster session displaying exciting research by students, and a “meetup” day designed to match students with opportunities.

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How Can You Help?

We predict this Tapia conference will be the largest yet. If you would like to help, here are some suggestions:

*  Faculty

  • Encourage your undergraduate and graduate students to apply for a travel scholarship to Tapia; applications are available at;
  • Provide departmental funds (or raise funds from industry) to send people not funded by scholarships.
  • If your university sends at least 10 students, you can create a poster to help recruit students to your institution.
  • If you are passionate about these topics, consider registering.

*  Professionals

*  Students

Tapia 2011 promises to be inspirational, educational, and a lot of fun. We look forward to seeing you April 3 in San Francisco.

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