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19 April 2022

PhD students present at ACM Women in Computing in Europe

Women PhD students from the Department of Informatics' research groups were invited to attend the 8th ACM Celebration of Women in Computing in Europe.

ACM Women in Computing in Europe 2021 logo

In September 2021, Women PhD students from the Department of Informatics' research groups were invited to attend the 8th ACM Celebration of Women in Computing in Europe. Cristina, Mackenzie and Tanja represented their research groups of Algorithms and Data Analysis, Distributed AI, and Reasoning and Planning at the conference. This year, the conference was virtually held in Prague from 22-24 September.

[the event is] an ACM Celebration of Women in Computing, was initiated by ACM-W Europe and aimed at connecting women from diverse technical disciplines and encouraging them to pursue their education and profession in computing.

The conference sets the ground for undergraduate and graduate students to meet, together with engineers, academics and researchers, and to discuss relevant issues of, and opportunities for, women in the computing profession. A core idea is fostering innovation across boundaries, opposing compartmentalising scientific progress by disciplines.

The Hackathon was divided into an introductory section, a core part about concept design and development, and a final section where the team members pitched their idea to judges. Throughout the hackathon, mentors virtually joined the different teams to give useful feedback and suggestions.

For this competition, the three King's Computer Science PhD students worked alongside a PhD Student in Vancouver, BC. They all specialize in HCI, theoretical CS, algorithmic fairness, and abstract argumentation. Their Hackathon Team had to choose one of the themes presented and work on a project for that given theme. Being in education, they witnessed first hand the impact that different types of schooling can have on students, and they think that still many things can and should be done to improve students’ everyday life and experience.

to be frankie TBF logo

Their team designed an app called “To Be Frankie” (TBF). They wrote down user stories, brainstormed nonfunctional and functional requirements, and designed the application flow (showing an app prototype with the UI flow of the app). TBF aims at providing a safe platform where students can vocalize their discomfort and struggles with a team of professionals who are gravitating around the students’ school environment. Paired with the professional support, peers from the same school can offer to help as an intermediate step in order to facilitate the dialogue between the student and the professional.

Through the Hackathon, the team learned how innovation can be successful across oceans and continents. It was a shame the team could not all be together in the same room racing against the clock eating pizza, but they still managed to get to know each other and develop a meaningful prototype! The team even came in second place, proving how a variety of backgrounds, experiences and teamwork styles can favour profitable and winning strategies and high quality ideas. The PhD Students look forward to the next ACM WomENcourage Conference.