Thursday, December 20, 2007

Women in Theory of Computer Science Meeting

Although it's been well-covered in other blogs, I would be remiss not to mention the workshop for women in theory of computer science being organized at Princeton.

I'm always torn when I hear about such things. I think it's a very good and important idea, but at the same time, I look forward to the day when such workshops won't be necessary (and wonder why we're not there yet).

I do think that peer support is key to getting women into computer science, and having them stay. Some years ago at Harvard we were fortunate to have a group of four very mathematically talented undergraduate women, all of whom apparently had at least met each other in high school, come through the computer science ranks. It was clear that the "group dynamic" of being able to work together and talk with each other was very helpful to them. Three of the four went to graduate school in computer science; two are/have finished (in theory), one switched over to economics. While I have seen many strong women undergraduates come through Harvard, I haven't seen a group quite like this one, and I wish I saw more.

Of course, it also helps to have successful role models, so I suppose now is an apropos time to belatedly congratulate Susanne Albers for winning the Leibniz Prize. I had the great fortune to start working with Susanne while I was a graduate student at Berkeley and she was a postdoc at ICSI. It was a great experience for me, as at the time, I was still figuring out how this whole research thing worked; I learned a lot working with her. I'm thrilled she's getting this outstanding prize and the corresponding recognition for her body of work.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A typo: It's the Leibniz Prize.