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1. The need for Inclusive STEM Education - ground realities and collaborative solutions
2. Using Data to Build Better Systems and Services

Series: Golden Jubilee Women in Computing Lecture by Vidhya Y & Dr Ranjita Bhagwan

Speaker: 1. Vidhya Y (talk start at 3:30 PM - 4:00 PM) Vision Empower 2. Dr Ranjita Bhagwan (talk start at 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM) Microsoft Research India

Date/Time: Mar 04 15:30:00

Location: Zoom Webinar:

Faculty Advisor:

1. India produces one of the highest number of STEM graduates in the world. India also has the highest population of visually impaired persons. However, out of the millions of visually impaired people, less than 50 students have studied STEM subjects beyond high school due to the non-inclusive and largely inaccessible education system. Due to this, people with visual impairments are deprived from choosing the currently flourishing careers in Science and Computing. In this talk, Vidhya will share her experiences in studying STEM subjects as a visually impaired student and role of technologies in enabling independence both in her education and work. She will also share the various initiatives which she and the team at Vision Empower have undertaken to make STEM subjects accessible to visually impaired children over the past 3 years.
2. Today’s systems and services are large and complex, often supporting millions or even billions of users. Such systems are extremely dynamic as developers continuously commit code and introduce new features, fixes and, consequently, new bugs. Multiple problems crop up in such a dynamic environment, from misconfiguration of essential services, very slow testing and deployment procedures, and extended service disruptions when catastrophic bugs hit deployment. Nevertheless, with the advent of cloud-based services, new opportunities to use machine-learning to alleviate such problems have emerged. Large-scale services generate petabytes of code, test, and usage-related data within just a few days. This data can be potentially harnessed to provide valuable insights to engineers on how to improve service performance, security and reliability. However, cherry-picking important information from such vast amounts of systems-related data proves to be a formidable challenge. Over the last few years, we have been working on leveraging code, test logs and telemetry as data to build several tools that help develop and deploy systems faster while maintaining and even improving system reliability. My talk will first describe the challenges that arise from using machine learning on such systems-related data and metadata. Next I will do a deep-dive on the design of a few tools that we built and are being used by several of Microsoft’s services.

Speaker Bio:
1. Vidhya is the founder of “Vision Empower” - a not for profit enterprise which focuses on bringing education in science and mathematics to students with visual impairment which were mostly out of reach for many children. Her work was recently featured on Forbes India and Deccan herald change makers 20 in 20. Vidhya also was a Research Fellow at Microsoft Research India for 2 years. She has received best paper award for one of her Papers submitted at the CSCW conference and honorable Mention award for another Paper submitted at the CHI conference, both of which are published by ACM. As a student of the Masters in Digital Society program at IIITB, Vidhya graduated as the gold medalist from her batch in 2017. She has received numerous awards and many scholarships for her work and academic excellence. She has given a tedX talk and regularly gives motivational talks in many institutes and corporates. Vidhya had been an RJ for a radio show and hosted 35 episodes on science and technology which benefited thousands of visually impaired listeners. She holds the distinction of being the first blind student to undertake math at higher secondary school in Karnataka, following it up by being the first one to pursue Computer Science as a major in undergraduate studies at her University.
2. Dr. Ranjita Bhagwan is Senior Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research India. Her research predominantly focuses on problems related to networked and distributed systems. Ranjita has worked for more than a decade on applying machine learning to improve system reliability, security and performance. She is the recipient of the 2020 ACM India Outstanding Contributions to Computing by a Woman Award. She has chaired multiple top conferences in the field of systems and networking. Ranjita received her PhD and MS in Computer Engineering from University of California, San Diego and a BTech in Computer Science and Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur.
Zoom talk link: Zoom Webinar:

Host Faculty: