During the first week of October 2019, I had the opportunity to attend the Grace Hoppers Conference. The 2019 GHC was held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, from October 1–October 4. It’s the greatest gathering and celebration of women and other underrepresented groups in computing and technology.
The presence of 26,000 other women and other gender minorities in technology in one space was exhilarating! GHC is filled with networking opporunities, since it took hours to get into the session rooms where keynotes and lighting talks were hosted, and even to get a photo with the stunning GHC signboard there was good amount of time to interact and network with attendees in the waiting line. I would recommend wearing comfortable shoes and carrying a small backpack loaded with energy bars and a water bottle.
It’s recommended to pick up your physical badge before the first day of the conference. I was unable to get my badge before the conference day because the badge system crashed due to heavy load, so, some of us had to rise at 5 a.m to pick up the badge on the first day of the conference. It’s all worth the wait!
With encouraging Keynote presentations and awards, the conference got off to a wonderful start. The theme for GHC 2019 was “We will…”, and you were free to fill in the blanks with your own interpretations.
One of my favorite topics of discussion was igniting the genius in every child by using technology to bring the best quality education to communities all over the world, particularly the most underserved. When this video was shown at the GHC keynote, it literally gave me goosebumps to see high school girls talking about the solutions they want to build using technology. At the same time, I was thinking about society’s craze with “growing up” and then “achieving great things,” by asking questions like “What do you want to become when you grow up?” but, by watching this motivational video, I was wondering the right question could be “what do you want to become right now, what change would you like to make right now.”
Dr. Fei Fei Lee’s keynote session was one of my favorites among the many. She talked about the comments she received from her admiring colleagues about her idea about her product image-net, which is now a key contribution to the Deep Learning revolution and the foundation for how Machine Learning projects are developed. “It’s okay to feel small, but together we can be big enough to accomplish anything,” she said, and finding your circle takes conviction.
According to one unexpected performance that made everyone shiver, women in tech have been sold a false narrative about who we are and what we can do. We’ll flip the script and change the status quo together.
I was looking forward to Aicha Evans’ keynote address. She is one of my most admired female leaders in technology. She discussed her vision and the need for Autonomous Mobility. She concluded by quoting a well-known proverb.
“If you want to go FAST, go ALONE. If you want to go FAR, go TOGETHER.”
Some of the sessions are recorded that can be viewed here.
I had the chance to meet interns from Outreachy; we had always communicated online, so it was wonderful to finally meet in person. Maria Glukhova and I interned at Debian for the same round. (https://wiki.gnome.org/Outreachy/2016/DecemberMarch#Debian)
Intel’s been a proud supporter for GHC for years and has a strong presence at GHC.
Intel is committed to advancing the uses of AI that most positively impact the world. The hardware, software, and algorithms that we create and utilize on a daily basis can help identify children at risk of exploitation, improve medical diagnosis, and protect our natural resources. Intel is passionate about equalizing AI resources, capabilities, and services to benefit all. Source – AI4Good
Few products we put out there as a part of Technology Showcase at GHC:-
Intel’s AI TrailGaurd Camera
- TrailGuard AI camera uses Intel-powered artificial intelligence technology to detect poachers entering Africa’s wildlife reserves and alert park rangers in near real-time so poachers can be stopped before killing endangered animals.
- As per stats, 25k – 35k elephants killed annually for their ivory, every day a Rhino is poached for its horn. Lions have lost 43% of their population over the past 20 years. While many of these animals live on protected reserves, the areas are vast, the infrastructure limited and park ranger resources spread thin that it is difficult to stop poachers before they kill.
- TrailGuard AI builds on anti-poaching prototypes funded by Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation and National Georaphic Society.
- This was a personal favorite project.
- Find more details here -> https://newsroom.intel.com/news/intel-ai-tech-stops-poachers/#gs.dmnt3o
Intel’s Volumetric Capture
- Since Intel has moved its dial from PC-centric to Data-centric, Intel continues to position itself as the leader in immersive media across key segments including sports and entertainment.
- Scenes inside the dome from all directions at once, a technique called “volumetric capture.”
- Data captured by each camera is shaped into voxels (think 3D pixels), which render the virtual environment in multi-perspective 3D.
- It allows audiences to view a scene from any angle – even the middle of the action.
This Grease piece was captured at the world’s largest volumetric stage – Intel Studios.
- Find more details here -> https://newsroom.intel.com/news/intel-studios-volumetric-video-gives-grease-new-life-40-years-later/
At the end of it, attending GHC was truly an extraordinary experience. I felt grateful to be a part of the celebration. Thanks to my employer – Intel and my manager for the opportunity.
I volunteered for the next GHC conferences by revieweing student scholarships, revieweing call-for-proposals for the open-source track at GHC. You can find various kinds of volunteering opportunities as well.