ITiCSE 09, Paris.

I went to ITiCSE 09 last week in Paris, along with Karen Petrie from BCSWomen. Rog joined us for a day, which was great.

Our talk was on opinions of women in computing – we ran a survey on women at the Lovelace and Hopper events last year and tried to work out what it was about successful women in computing (i.e., those doing PhDs or degrees or similar) that made them interested. One great outcome of the conference is that we made contacts with people in Turkey and in the USA who thought our study was interesting enough to run in their countries – it’ll be fantastic if we can get some cross cultural attitude research going, as there is a fair bit of anecdotal evidence about the situation in Islamic countries being different.

You can read the paper here if you are so inclined: Link to paper download. The talk went well, I think – I’m getting better at this:-)

Other talks included interventions to support women students, distance learning software including a v. cool networking simulator thing for teaching network security. One woman spoke about a programme for 7 people, being paid 10-15 hours a week to work on computing stuff with kids… which is probably not a solution that is going to scale, even if the 7 undergrads did get a lot out of it!!

A real stand-out talk for me was Paul Curzon from QMUL, who spoke about teaching computing with real physical objects – he does work through CS4FN (computer science for fun, in case you didn’t get it:-) – going into schools and so on. One example he gave concerned emergent behaviour, or the way in which simple rules acting independently can bring about higher level patterns. As demonstrated in the following video:

The conference venue also enabled people to have their after lunch coffee overlooking the Seine, which we took advantage of…

British delegates come prepared for weather

The conference organisation was somewhat lacking – nothing started on time, and the conference dinner was a shambles. However, that was the evening that Rog made it over, so we just left the conference delegates waiting for the boat with the banquet and found a restaurant. Which was nice. (Those who waited for the banquet apparently waited for over an hour, on the banks of the Seine, getting hungrier and hungrier whilst being bitten by mosquitos…)

I’ll leave you with a few shots of Parisian stuff…

A poster in the metro, uncovered by renovations:
old posters and graffiti

A building on campus:
campus building

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