Women in Computing networking group hosts another successful event for ORNL staffers and daughters

The Women in Computing (WiC) networking group at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) hosted its second “Introduce Your Daughter to AI” workshop on June 7. With 31 ORNL employees attending with their daughters ages 12 to 17, this year’s event topped last year’s attendance mark for a total of 62 participants.

ORNL research scientist Katie Schuman and ORNL postdoctoral research associate Pravallika Devineni led the workshop, teaching the girls how computer algorithms classify objects based on input data. The girls tinkered with an online drawing program called sketch-rnn and a neural-network-based program called TensorFlow Playground to explore what kinds of information a neural network needs to produce an expected output.

At the end of the workshop, the girls learned how to use the Python programming language and a machine learning library called scikit-learn to create a k-nearest neighbors classifier. K-nearest neighbors is a computer algorithm that classifies data based on feature similarity.

“It’s really important to me to be able to share my love of machine learning and AI with the next generation of scientists,” Schuman said. “We really want to inspire the girls to consider a career in computing.”

WiC’s second “Introduce Your Daughter to AI” workshop was the largest event it’s hosted thus far. Image Credit: Carlos Jones, ORNL

The event organizers were WiC cochairs Swaroop Pophale, computer scientist at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF), and Rachel Harken, OLCF science writer from Communications.

WiC hopes to offer a third workshop in the coming years to provide even greater opportunities for girls with prior coding experience.

Contributors to “Introduce Your Daughter to AI” included Schuman, Devineni, Harken, Pophale, Anne Berres, Amy Coen, Lauren Davidson, Mihaela Dimovska, Kate Hausladen, Emily Herron, Chelsea Kennedy, Olivera Kotevska, Maria Mahbub, Claire Marvinney, Sarah Mathew, Klara Proffen, and Julia Steed.

The OLCF is a DOE Office of Science User Facility at ORNL.

UT Battelle LLC manages ORNL for DOE’s Office of Science. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit https://energy.gov/science.