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Grace Hopper Celebration, Largest Gathering of Women in Computing, Attracts Researchers, Industry Leaders

Conference Promotes Career Skills, Networking Opportunities and Celebrates Role of Women in Creating, Utilizing Technology

The Association for Computing Machinery
Advancing Computing as a Science & Profession

Contact: Virginia Gold

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New York, September 16, 2008 – The Keystone Resort in Keystone, Colorado is the site of a three-day technical conference October 1- 4, that is designed to bring the research and career interests of women in computing to the forefront.  The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC), a program of the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology (ABI) and co-presented with ACM (the Association for Computing Machinery), is expecting more than 1400 participants.  With the theme "We Build a Better World," this year's GHC, now an annual celebration, will recognize the significant role women play in creating and utilizing technology to improve world conditions.

The Grace Hopper Celebration attracts an international array of speakers and more than 88 sessions across seven tracks covering technology skills and career opportunities. The program also includes new investigator technical papers, Ph.D. forums, and highly anticipated achievement awards.  The renowned keynote speakers are:

  • Fran Allen, IBM Fellow Emerita and ACM's 2006 Turing Award winner for her work on compilers, compiler optimization, parallelism, and high performance systems
  • Mary Lou Jepsen, founder and CTO of One Laptop per Child, who invented the laptop's sunlight-readable display technology

"I want every single woman in computing to have a low-cost way to network with other women in her own neighborhood," said Gloria Townsend, co-chair of ACM’s Committee on Women in Computing (ACM-W). Townsend, professor of Computer Science at DePauw University in Indiana, will chair a panel on organizing successful regional celebrations throughout the U.S. to eliminate the sense of isolation among women in computing.  The session features accomplished university women and representatives of women's organizations who have experienced this isolation as well as the elation of building communities and creating connections for women in computing.

Among other noteworthy sessions at GHC 2008 is a panel featuring leaders of four major organizations dedicated to advancing women in technology on how to contribute to their ongoing projects and brainstorm new projects and priorities. Speakers include Telle Whitney, president and CEO of ABI and ACM's Secretary/Treasurer from 2003-2004; Elaine Weyuker, co-chair of ACM-W; Carla Ellis, of the Computing Research Association's Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research (CRA-W); and Lucy Sanders, CEO and co-founder of the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT).

The Grace Hopper Celebration also presents a panel on the results and implications of ACM's recently completed Membership Gender Study on how to meet the dynamic needs of women in computing. Panelists include ACM-W's Paula Gabbert; ACM President Wendy Hall and ACM Director of Membership Lillian Israel; NCWIT's Lucy Sanders; ABI's Telle Whitney; and Tracy Camp, an ABI Trustee. Additional sessions include:

  • Business 101: Learning to Speak the Language of Business — introducing students and young researchers to strategies for aligning research with the business goals of a commercial organization, featuring ACM-W co-chair Elaine Weyuker of AT&T Research; Mary Czerwinski of Microsoft Research (and executive vice president of ACM's Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction); and Tessa Lau and Ellen Yoffa of IBM Research.
  • An International Perspective on Successful Programs to Attract Women to Information and Communications Technology (ICT) — presented by ACM-W's international ambassadors. This event highlights political initiatives to encourage diversity in the ICT workforce.  It features ACM President Wendy Hall (who is professor of computer science at the University of Southampton); Reyyan Ayfer of Turkey's Bilkent University; and Aurora Vizcaino of Spain's University of Castilla-LaMancha.

For more information on technical sessions, networking opportunities, career development programs, and registration information, go to

About ACM

ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, is the world's largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field's challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession's collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking.

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