Grace Hopper Conference Inspires Women in Computing, Technology

by Monica Spehar

AI, and how it can help machines and humans unite in tackling some of society’s biggest challenges, was our theme in Houston, where 40 NVIDIANs recently joined the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference — the world’s largest gathering of women technologists.

Preventing security vulnerabilities in public charging stations. Foveated rendering for VR. Graphics simulators for creating training data for deep learning. These were some of the technical talks and posters offered by NVIDIANs to packed audiences during the event.

Julie Bernauer, a director of deep learning systems engineering, hosted a workshop with two colleagues on “Training Generative Adversarial Networks: A Challenge?” They introduced participants to GANs, a potentially thorny and dense topic, with hands-on challenges that left a memorable impression: generating an image of a pizza.

“In a technical workshop that’s less than an hour, we want people to have something to take home,” she said. “People can ask questions, and we push them – how do you make your pizza better? The goal is to engage, and everyone could find us afterwards in our booth.”

NVIDIA presenters attending Grace Hopper
NVIDIA presenters attending Grace Hopper

Post-Session Discussions

NVIDIA researcher Rachel Albert presented on the latency requirements for foveated rendering in virtual reality to a jam-packed session. She also found herself inundated with follow-up questions in the hallways after the session ended that covered everything from methods to applications to system hardware requirements for future experiments.

Although “we represent different companies and organizations, in this moment we could just be part of a larger community of women in tech, sharing our hope for a positive future for virtual and augmented reality,” Albert said. “At the same time, I′m excited to tell young women that NVIDIA is working on problems that really matter to people’s lives, and if they’re looking to change the world they will fit right in with us.”

The lively post-session discussions are part of the event’s goal of making tech a space that welcomes women and minorities. The Grace Hopper conference, first held in 1994, focuses on creating opportunities for women seeking careers in tech, an industry long-dominated by men.

Hitting the Expo Floor

Over the course of several days in Houston, the more than 23,000 attendees, who include college students and women at every stage of their careers, attended presentations, keynotes, workshops and sessions touching on careers, such as managing your next promotion, to highly technical sessions covering AI, computer systems engineering and data science.

“When I first attended Grace Hopper as a student two years ago, it was empowering to meet so many great groundbreaking technical women and female leaders,” said Laila Abudahi, a software engineer at NVIDIA. “I left the conference determined to come back as a speaker. This year, I was presenting my research focusing on cyber-physical and hardware security.”

NVIDIANs at Grace Hopper conference

Conference-goers also hit the expo floor, where hundreds of companies hosted booths and where recruiters were available to talk about prospective jobs and opportunities. NVIDIA’s strong lead in AI makes us very attractive for new graduates, says senior researcher scientist Shalini De Mello, whose work focuses on computer vision and machine learning technology for human-computer interaction and smart interfaces.

“NVIDIA has given me the opportunity and the environment to solve some of the world’s toughest and most impactful engineering problems,” said De Mello. “I appreciate the values of being ‘one team,’ honest and transparent — even about failures; to take risks, think big and to always measure success against the speed of light. These are the pillars on which NVIDIA’s unique culture stands.”

NVIDIA will be attending Grace Hopper India, Nov. 14-16, in Bangalore. Come check our booth. And visit our Careers page to learn about job opportunities.

NVIDIANs attending Grace Hopper
NVIDIANs attending Grace Hopper