ACM-W India Celebration of Women in Computing 2020 was organized as a virtual event by ACM Nagpur Chapter on 5th September 2020 with the theme “COVID-19: Innovation in IT”. The event provided an explicit platform for women in tech to showcase their Innovation and Ideas and motivated others to take up the challenge and help the nation in becoming Independent technologically during these tough times.

Dr. Mukta Paliwal, Lead Data Scientist at Persistent Systems Ltd inaugurated the event. She has introduced the ACMW India, described recent events held and how the organization has played a vital role in motivating women including professionals, researchers and students working in the technology industry. She mentioned how the tech industry has collectively demonstrated remarkable leadership in responding to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic while explaining the theme of the event.

Next, she Introduced Dr. Heena Timani, ACM W India Council Chair, as session chair for the next keynote speeches and invited her to deliver the welcome address and as a session chair for the keynote speech.

As this event being the flagship event under ACM celebration women in computing Dr. Heena envisioned and highlighted the entire operational and key benefits of ACM-w membership and took the opportunity to brief about past events and upcoming events going to be held under the canopy of ACM India. She took initiative to provide the platform for women to showcase their talent and insisted on numerous opportunities for women scholars to grab several scholarships to the candidates under ACM-w India Chapter.

The first Keynote address of the day was delivered by Prof. Reyyan Ayfer, Vice-Chair, ACM-W & Professor, Bilkent University, Turkey. The keynote was on “Changes, Challenges, Opportunities” and she begins with saying that Our lives changed suddenly when the novel coronavirus spread throughout the world. We faced many challenges both in our personal and professional lives. Are there any opportunities in this especially for women in computing? She discussed some of the success tips and strategies for the budding innovators. Her address was mainly based on how COVID-19 has changed everyone’s lives and meanwhile impacted the opportunities for the students.

Glimpse of ACM-WiC 2020

The second keynote was delivered by Dr. Jaya Sreevalsan Nair from IIIT Bangalore. She elaborated specifically on “Data Dissemination during COVID-19: The Rise of Visualizations” in which she discussed the significance of data dissemination techniques discovered during the present COVID-19 scenario and tools used by computer scientists to make a lay-man understand complex facts and figures. She elaborated about 5 V’s Velocity, Veracity, Volume, Variety and Value of data. She also made all aware of Florence Nightingale as a data scientist who was also a pioneer in data visualization with infographics, effectively used for graphical presentations of statistical data. Dr. Jaya presented some of the research that took place at the Karnataka region for showing statistics of COVID-19 and explored the tools with addition futuristic which opened an eye for key research in the field of data science.

The two sessions were very complementary to each other as one highlighted the systems Agility. and strategies and opportunities for researchers during COVID-19, while the other drew the audience’s attention to the keen research of important Tools and its utilities that can be adapted by data scientists.

A panel discussion was organized during AICWiC2020 on the theme “Innovation Opportunities for New Normal during Pandemic”. The panel was moderated by Dr. Lipika Dey, Principal Scientist at the TCS Research and Innovation Labs, faculty at the Department of Mathematics at IIT Delhi. (until 2007). Invited panelist were Dr. Maya Ingle, Director, DDU-Kaushal Kendra at DAVV Indore, Mrs. Rachna Patrikar, Senior Manager-Enterprise application and emerging technologies, Mahindra and Mahindra), Dr. Manik Gupta, Assistant Professor at BITS Pilani and Mrs. Vandana Gupta, Director at Multivirt India Pvt Ltd & FNN Media Pvt Ltd, 28 years of experience in IT industry.

The Panel discussion started with a poll as a quick activity. The poll was conducted to know the experiences of the participants about Innovations during the COVID-19 pandemic. After the poll chairperson of the panel, Dr. Nita Thakare welcomed all and briefed about the objective of the panel discussion. She welcomed and introduced the moderator of the panel Dr. Lipika Dey. Dr. Lipika Dey introduced the panel members and panel discussion was divided into three phases. In the first phase, all panel members have shared their experiences about the current scenario of innovations and their thought on the opportunities for IT innovations during the COVID pandemic. They discussed the Innovation Opportunities for New Normal during Pandemic in brief.

Panelist of ACM-WiC 2020

The Moderator of the panel Dr. Lipika introduced panelists and coordinating with panel members. Dr. Maya Ingle talked about the role of IT in the education sector. She also discussed the reasons for a change in education methodologies and the opportunities for the educationalist and researchers during COVID 19 pandemic. Also, she shared some examples on how practices changed from Offline classes to Online Classes. Mrs. Rachana Patrikar discussed the current situation of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on the lifestyle of people also she talked-about an increase in usage of the online market and online transactions. Dr. Manik Gupta talked about the latest technologies being used in innovations. She also discussed, how online platforms are helpful in pandemic and how blessed it is to share our knowledge with the community through a virtual conference. Dr. Vandana Gupta presented various products developed by her company to cater to the pandemic situation.

She also discussed innovations opportunities during Pandemic and motivated the participants to implement innovative ideas. During the question-answer session, the Moderator Dr. Lipika asked questions on behalf of the participants to panel members. The participants benefited from the answers of experts. The session ended with the concluding remark by Dr. Deveshree Naidu.

Poster Presentation Competition was part of the Virtual Event for the celebration of Women in Computing by ACM India. The competition was specially organized for UG/PG girl students of CS/CE and IT branches to boost innovative ideas. There were total of three rounds in poster presentation competition. Education, Health care, Environment / Ecosystem / Waste Management, Age of Sustainable Development (Sustainable Cities and Communities) themes were decided for poster presentation competition. We received maximum posters in the Health Care domain. We got good responses from various reputed institutes of India, total of 105 teams from 47 Institute/Universities participated in the poster presentation competition. Institutes participating with the largest number of entries: Yeshwantrao Chavan College of Engineering, Nagpur; Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Madurai; KLS Gogte institute of technology, Belagavi; Pimpri Chinchwad College of Engineering, Pune. There was representation from institutes like IIIT – H (MSIT), IIIT-D, IIIT-Delhi, IIT Goa, IIT Jodhpur, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, etc. across 29 different cities in India. These groups were divided into 6 teams of judges for evaluation and selection purposes. From these 24 teams were selected for the second Skype interview round. A total of 6 posters were selected for presentation in the final round during the event.

Dr. Gauri Dhopavkar, Head, Department of Computer Technology, Yeshwantrao Chavan College of Engineering, Nagpur hosted the finale round of the poster presentation competition on 5th September 2020 .Dr. Heena Timani, Chairperson, ACM-W, India, Dr. Rituparna Chaki, Professor, A K Choudhury School of IT, University of Calcutta, Dr. Tejaswini Apte, ACM-W Pune Professional Chapter Chair and ACM-W India council member, Mr. Darshan Kansara, Senior Consultant with Anblicks, Ahmedabad, were the judges for the finale.

During the finale round, each finalists’ posters and videos explaining the detailed concept was presented to all audience. This round was followed by a question/answer session to the poster presenters by judges. Out of 105 groups registered for this competition, 6 groups were shortlisted for the finale round. Cash prizes were sponsored by Tata Consultancy Services.1st Prize: Rs.16,000, 2nd Prize: Rs.12, 000,3rd Prize: Rs. 8,000. A result of the virtual poster presentation was declared by Dr.Heena Timani. Below is the list of poster presentation winners,

RankName of StudentProject TitleInstitute Name
1Soundarya KrishnanNetwork Community Analysis based enhancement of Online Discussion forumsBITS Pilani, Goa Campus
2Sona STechnovid 2020Thiagarajar College of Engineering,Madurai
3Shradha SehgalSab Jeevika: Enabling job search for the deprived sectorInternational Institute of Information Technology. Hyderabad

Winners at ACM-WiC 2020

“I am very grateful to ACM-W India for conducting a Poster Competition for UG and PG women in CS/IT branches, with the highly relevant and important theme ‘COVID-19: Role of IT innovations’. This event really encouraged me to develop my research and presentation skills and gave me the invaluable opportunity to present my work in front of an esteemed panel and receive their feedback. The event also opened my eyes to the wonderful research other women in India were doing in this topic, and gave me an opportunity to interact and network with them. The event was extremely well organized, smooth and informative. I hope to remain connected with the brilliant women that I had a chance to interact with through this initiative!”
– Soundarya Krishnan, BITS Pilani Goa (Winner)
Presented: Network Community Analysis Based Enhancement of Online Discussion Forums

The one-day virtual event AICWiC 2020 came to an end with a Valedictory Award Ceremony where the winners for Poster Presentation Competition were felicitated with prizes sponsored by Tata Consultancy Services and announced by Dr. Heena Timani. She thanked the organizing team Dr. Devishree Rohit Naidu, Asst. Prof.Shri Ramdeobaba College of     Engineering and Management, Dr. Gauri Dhopavkar, HoD, Yeshwantrao Chavhan, College of Engineering, Nagpur, Dr. Mukta Paliwal, Technical Expert -Data Science, Persistent Systems Nagpur, Dr. Nita Thakare, Associate Prof. and Head, DCT, Priyadarshini College of Engineering, Nagpur, Dr. Swati Hira, Asst. Prof., Shri Ramdeobaba College of Engineering and Management, Nagpur, Mr. Vinit Kapoor, Chief Architect, Persistent Systems Nagpur, and Dr. Rutvi Shah Assistant Professor at Chimanbhai  Patel Institute of Computer Applications.

The Official Vote of Thanks was delivered by Dr. Mukta Paliwal, who thanked the platinum sponsors TCS, Persistent Systems Ltd, Icertis, and Google; Partnering institutes like ACM Professional Chapter at Nagpur, ACM W India, and ACM Student chapters at Yeshwantrao Chavan College of engineering, Priya Darshini College of Engineering and Shri Ramdeo Baba Engineering College at Nagpur. She has also thanked the participants, Keynote speakers, the Panelists, Volunteers, and the audience for their contributions in making this virtual event a reality.

In her Concluding Remarks, She expressed her gratitude to the whole organizing team of AICWiC’2020 for making the event a huge success. Everyone agreed with the promise of staying connected to each other through these events, as a supportive and strong women community in the field of computer science education, research, and industry.