SE & CISE Graduate Students at “Women in Computing Conference”


By Christina Polyzos

Theodora Brisimi, Yasaman Khazaeni, and Sepideh Pourazarm represented the Division of Systems Engineering (SE) and Center for Information and Systems Engineering (CISE) at the Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) Of Women In Computing Conference on October 8-10, 2014, in Phoenix, AZ. These women had the opportunity to network, increased visibility in their respective disciplines, engaged in discourse with other professionals, and more importantly, learned and were inspired by prominent women who transform the course of technology. SE and CISE encourage talented individuals by organizing events and workshops to support their research and by sponsoring their participation in conferences such as GHC.

Theodora Brisimi, an Electrical and Computer Engineering PhD student, whose advisor is Professor Ioannis Paschalidis (SE, ECE, BME), presented a poster, “Modeling and Prediction of Heart-Related Hospitalization Using Electronic Health Records” at the conference this year. “I want to better the world by improving the incorporation of data analytics in city and societal general projects”, said Theodora, which is indicative of where her interests lie in the development and application of new techniques in machine learning, optimization, and decision theory. “CISE has been a great source of information and an excellent opportunity to meet with other researchers. CISE seminars, along with the Women’s Networking Forum and CISE Student Presentation Practice Sessions, have helped me develop my presentation and professional development skills”.

Yasaman Khazaeni, an SE PhD student working with Professor Christos Cassandras (SE, ECE), attended the GHC because she anticipated meeting “the women who have made it to the top tier of engineering and computer science field which has been historically dominated by men. I believe I can learn a lot from their experience and achievements”. Yasaman’s work focuses on the development of algorithms and optimization problems that can be utilized in many real world problems such as disaster evacuation, and resource allocation.

Sepideh Pourazarm, an SE PhD student who also works under the guidance of Professor Cassandras, is currently working in the CODES lab developing an optimal control approach to solve the routing problem in sensor networks and electric vehicles with energy constraints. She believes that CISE has contributed to her education especially with “the weekly seminars, which explore different areas of engineering from diverse majors and schools as well as with the BU Scholars Day.” She attended this conference primarily to network and meet the professional women who have contributed to the advancement of technology.

In 1994, Anita Borg and Dr. Telle Whitney co-founded this conference with the vision of bringing women technologists together to celebrate achievements, discuss career interests, and present research. Two decades later, attendees exceed 4,500 participants from 53 countries, 1,900 students from 400 academic institutions, and 2,850 industry professionals. GHC is notably the world’s largest conference for women in technology.

The Grace Hopper Celebration incorporates career sessions with technical sessions, including proposal presentations, mentoring workshops, papers, a PhD forum, panel discussions, and a Poster Session. Conference keynote speakers and presenters were leaders in their respective discipline from academia, government and industry such as DARPA and Microsoft.

This year’s presenters included:

  • Shafi Goldwasser – keynote speaker – (RSA Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT, winner of the 2012 ACM Turing Award),
  • Maria Klawe (President, Harvey Mudd College)
  • Satya Nadella (CEO Microsoft),
  • Dr. Arati Prabhakar (Director of DARPA).

Full list of speakers at Grace Hopper Celebration.  Event Program