Wednesday, August 27, 2008

“Ch, ch, ch, change…”

As we enter another season of political posturing before we enter the poll booth in November (or in my case, the cardboard shield), there is a word being thrown out there -- yet again… “change”. Every election promises change, and yet, there seems to be so little of it.

As we enter the season where we celebrate at the Grace Hopper Conference for Women and Computing (GHC), I see technology and it is full of change, and it’s amazing. Some of it is reality, and some is in the not too distant future.

This years’ theme, “We Build a Better World” takes on an importance never seen before at GHC. We are facing some serious issues in 2008 and beyond. I don’t need to list them; we all know what they are. The cool thing about women in technology is when they see a problem they are passionate about, they will not stop until they have found a solution. Women are not about trying to achieve the longest work week of anyone in the cube farm, writing the most lines of code, or trying to figure out how many empty Red Bull cans they can stack without them toppling over -- they are solving REAL problems in a collaborative and unconventional way while doing the 500 other things that life requires. Don’t believe me? I have a couple hundred examples to choose from just in the GHC2008 program alone, but here are a few:

  • Gunshot location systems direct police to crime scenes quickly, saving lives and catching criminals. From theory to practice, the technology is incredible.
  • How different technologies have benefited humanity by enabling nonprofits to better meet their missions and improve impact such as bringing and teaching computers to students in rural Tanzania.
  • The realities of implementing One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) technology in a developing country such as Ghana, West Africa
  • Implications of Frontier Nano Science and Technology for the Energy Sector.
  • Scaling Applications to Enable Unprecedented Science on Petaflop Platforms and the challenges in scaling applications on BlueGene for enabling biological simulations. The future of medicine can be found here.

Want to look even further into the future? There are over 100 posters in the GHC2008 poster session. Look at what they are working on:

  • Exploring a way to multicast data to servers across developing countries while adapting current technology to the physical nature of their network. Allowing those in poverty access to knowledge in remote areas.
  • SenseCam is a wearable recording device which captures pictures automatically, and was designed to help individuals with memory impairments.
  • We propose a Crisis Web Portal that automates the process of gathering information sharing activity on the Internet, processing it, and presenting it for use during times of disaster.
  • “Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN)”are attracting attention by researchers and commercial entities who foresee the importance of these networks in such areas as health monitoring for the elderly and infirm.
  • The electrocardiogram (ECG also called EKG) trace expresses cardiac features that are unique to an individual. The ECG varies from person to person. In fact this is the only biometric token which doesn’t exist if the owner is not alive. From the fiducial points, stable features were computed that characterize the uniqueness of an individual. Imagine the possibilities here!
  • Volunteer work done by technical professionals for a non-profit, healthcare project in Africa. The specific project that the group works on will be used as context for a broader discussion on the ‘why and how’ of matching particular project needs to technical volunteer skills from an international group.

Had enough? I didn’t think so. This is why I LOVE my job. So, now it’s over to you. Are you coming to GHC to join the conversation? No? Tell us what you or your friends are doing to “build a better world”. Don’t keep it to yourself!

Note: This blog post is also posted on my bosses' blog - she is on vacation and I am filling in.

Your partner in crime - Deanna

1 comment:

Kim said...

Great blog post Deanna!

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