Past WorkshopsGECCO 2015 hosted the third edition of the women@GECCO workshop, with a continued and increasing
high participation rate. More than 60 colleagues including both women and men, participated in the workshop and the associated work-life-panel discussion. The program started off with an invited talk by Prof. Emma Hart, head of the Centre for Algorithms, Visualisation and Evolving Systems at Edinburgh Napier University, on Lifelong Learning: An Academic & Personal Perspective. Emma gave an inspirational talk following her career journey, which involved moving from Chemistry to Evolutionary Computing to Artificial Immune System, to finally integrating these strands into her most recent research topic: life-long learning hyper-heuristics. She stressed the importance of people and collaborations in underpinning and supporting the life-long learning process of an academic career. Here is a photo snapped during her talk.
The invited talk was followed by a new element in the workshop series, a so-called science-slam, where the speakers were invited to introduce their research topics in a creative and non-standard way, in less than 5 minutes. There were five excellent and surprisingly engaging contributions: Tea Tusar (INRIA Lille, France), Madalina Drugan (Vrije Universiteit Brussels, Belgium), Julia Handl (Manchester Business School,
UK), Amarda Shehu (George Mason University, US), and Arina Buzdalova together with Irina Petrova (both ITMO University, St. Petersburg, Russia) volunteered to pioneer the science slam. The creative contributions involved rhymes, Lego puzzles, stories explaining why having a “bad-hair day” can be inspiring for your research, and engaging visuals and animations. The audience agreed: attending a scientific talk had rarely been this much fun!
The women@GECCO workshop was complemented by a discussion on strategies for maintaining a rich and sustainable work-life balance. The discussion was organized by Emily Dolson, Anya E. Johnson and Nur Zincir-Heywood. The format was discussion-oriented; to get everyone on the same page and to give everyone a chance to talk, participants were split into groups to discuss the following two questions for about 15 minutes: (i) What does work/life balance mean to you?, and (ii) What are some signs that your life is in balance? Out of balance? Then, each group shared what they had discussed with the rest of us. This turned into a full group discussion with asking questions and sharing advice, and moving onto topics such as “What can the supervisors do to model good work/life balance for their students?”. Different issues were brought up throughout the discussion from time management, to prioritization of tasks, to identifying opportunities, to networking and meeting people. The conversation was still going strong when the allotted time was up!
More information about the 2015 and 2014 workshops can be found "here" and "here."
A nice photo of the organizers at the inauguration of the workshop in 2013:
For more information on Women@GECCO, its mission, and current workshop, visit Women@GECCO.