Day 9: Computational sustainability, graph search, and research projects!

Day 9 of SAILORS kicked off with a Q and A breakfast with assistant computer science professor Stefano Ermon. The campers asked Professor Ermon a variety of questions ranging from his academic career to his personal life. Professor Ermon also talked about his experience growing up in Europe and moving to the United States to pursue his career. 


After the breakfast, campers listened to a lecture delivered by Professor Ermon about computational sustainability. The girls learned how AI could work hand in hand with sustainability to improve and preserve the environment. Professor Ermon suggested that once data is collected and interpreted from the world, it could be inputted into models and, using computational techniques, optimize and improve policies.


A short break followed the morning lecture. Afterwards, the campers participated in a tutorial about graph search taught by PhD students Abigail See and Steve Mussmann. Students learned how graph search algorithms have been implemented in the commercial, search and rescue, and domestic worlds. They also learned how such algorithms have been used in maps and in games. After learning about breadth first search and depth first search, campers interacted with online demos that exposed them to other algorithms like A* search and Dijkstra’s algorithm.


During lunch, the girls ate and then relaxed by playing ultimate frisbee and cards.


After lunch, the campers had a persona growth session. During this session, the girls listened to a lecture about public speaking. 


The day concluded with a 30 minute break and a session with research groups. Project groups worked on their posters and planned what they will say tomorrow for the poster and presentation session. With only one more day left in SAILORS, we can’t wait to see what the girls have accomplished and learned!

Day 6: Machine Learning, Clustering, and more!

Day 6 kicked off with a breakfast with Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Statistics Percy Liang. The campers asked Professor Liang everything from what his current research is about to what his childhood experience was like. Liang also talked about working for Google and in academia, and contrasted those two experiences. 


After the breakfast, Professor Liang gave a presentation about machine learning. Campers learned the basics of this AI topic and were exposed to various implementations of machine learning in the real world. Liang concluded the lecture with resources, such as online blogs and classes, on how to learn more about machine learning. 


The campers participated in a tutorial about clustering, taught by Aditya Grover and Steve Mussmann, who are both CS PhD students. Students learned how clustering can be implemented in the real world, such as in medical imaging, neuroscience, business and marketing.


After the engaging tutorial, the campers enjoyed a lunch with various members of the AI lab, including professors and PhD students.


A personal growth session about time management, given by Melissa Avila, followed the lunch. The campers learned how creating a schedule, prioritizing tasks, setting specific goals, and being realistic can make a day more efficient. They practiced prioritizing tasks by playing a game in teams where certain actions were assigned a point value and the goal was to score the most points in an allotted time. 


The personal growth session was followed by a social hour. The girls talked to each other, the TA’s, and the junior counselors as they recharged before the last event of the day. 

The day concluded with a session with the research projects. Students learned more about the research topic. 

As the 6th day passes by, we can’t wait for the remainder of the week. 

Day 3: Field Trip to the Computer Science History Museum with Edward Feigenbaum, Biomedical Informatics, and more!

Day 3 kicked off with a casual breakfast Q and A session with Assistant Professor at UCSF School of Medicine Marina Sirota. Marina talked about everything from her experience in high school to why she decided to pursue biomedical informatics.


After the Q and A session, the students learned about biomedical informatics from a presentation Prof. Sirota gave. Campers were introduced to how biomedical data, when used hand in hand with AI, can be utilized to improve the problem solving process in human health. Marina also discussed how existing drugs could help cure other diseases.

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The campers then met with their research groups and continued learning and working on their projects.

The day concluded with a fun and educational field trip to the Computer Science History Museum in Mountain View. Prof. Edward Feigenbaum, often called the “father of expert systems,” and Sue Mickel led the campers on guided tours around the museum. The students learned about everything from the origins of the first computer to the development of robotics to the evolution of artificial intelligence. We hope the campers are just as excited as we are for day 4 of SAILORS!

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Last Day: Research Presentations, Poster Session, and More!

The last day of SAILORS kicked off with a breakfast followed by a rehearsal/preparation session with the research projects. Students spent the last session with their research projects finishing up their posters and perfecting their upcoming presentation.

Campers then presented about their research projects. All of the four groups had the opportunity to talk about both the societal impact and the technical aspect of their project. Many projects featured skits or videos that demonstrated how the project worked or how the project could solve a problem in the real world. The four research projects included self-driving cars and their impact on personal transportation, computer vision and hospital safety, natural language processing and disaster relief, and decoding the genome.

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After lunch, campers answered questions about their research projects in a poster session. Various members from the AI community learned about all four different projects and asked questions that allowed the campers to demonstrate the knowledge they’ve gained from their projects.

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Right before the personal growth session began, Prof. Fei Fei Li signed SAILORS program director Olga Russakovsky’s thesis! This was an exciting and inspirational moment that we all got to watch.


A personal growth session on how to stay involved in artificial intelligence and computer science followed the poster session. Representatives from various organizations, such as she++, Stanford Online High School, and many others, presented about what they are and how the students could become involved.


The day concluded with a quick survey followed by a Q/A session with Olga, who gave useful bits of advice and told her life story with the campers.

Thank you to everybody, the project mentors, professors, guest speakers, PhD students, sponsors, parents, and students, who dedicated their time and effort into making SAILORS a huge success.

We hope that all the campers had fun learning about all the different aspects of artificial intelligence. As the 24 SAILORS campers become SAILORS alumnae, we hope that they have not only become more exposed to artificial intelligence but also have found a community of friends that will support them in their current and future endeavors.

Day 9: Aeronautics and Astronautics, Hexacopter Demo, and PID Controllers

Day 8 began with a breakfast and a lecture from Prof. Mykel Kochenderfer. Prof. Kochenderfer’s lecture was about aeronautics and astronautics, and about how researchers are using AI to prevent collisions in the sky.


After the lecture, the students learned about PID controllers. Students learned how each term, proportional, integral, and derivative, changes the condition of the system. Campers had the opportunity to watch live hexacopter demos on how changing various gains affects the flight path when the hexacopter is disturbed.


A lunch and a personal growth session on time management followed the tutorial on PID controllers. During this lecture, students practiced their time management skills by trying to complete the most amount of tasks within a time limit. Tasks included making a conga line, singing songs, coming up with a team name, and many more.




After the personal growth session, students had one of their last sessions with their research projects. Many campers and their project mentors were busy making posters and preparing speeches for their presentations tomorrow.

As the last day of SAILORS approaches, we hope everybody had a fun time learning about various AI topics. We can’t wait to see the presentations that the campers put together tomorrow!


Day 8: Computational Sustainability, Google, and Research Projects

Day 8 kicked off with breakfast and a lecture from Professor Stefano Ermon. Prof. Ermon talked about computational sustainability and how machine learning could help with sustainability and conservation. Students also learned about eBird, a collaborative system where everyday bird watchers contributed observations that scientists used as data points for their research. 


After Prof. Ermon’s lecture, students had another session with their research projects.

Students from the self driving car research group are coding their robots to drive the shortest path from point A to point B.
Students from the self driving car research group coded their robots to drive the shortest path from point A to point B.

The campers then had a field trip to Google, where they enjoyed a relaxing lunch at the company’s cafeteria. Google employees, many whom conduct research in the natural language processing field, joined the students for lunch. An industry panelist followed the lunch, and the girls had a chance to ask their own questions to Google professionals.

The Google panelists talked about everything from what they liked about their job to what initially got them interested in STEM.
The Google panelists talked about everything from what they liked about their job to what initially got them interested in STEM.

The tour concluded with a stop at Google’s visitor center.


We hope that everybody had a lot of fun on Day 8, and we can’t wait for the last 2 days of camp!



Day 7: Human-Robot Interaction, Graph Search Algorithms, and Stereotype Threat Intervention

Day 7 kicked off with a breakfast and lecture with Prof. Anca Dragan, who talked about human robot interaction. Her lecture covered numerous topics that ranged from how a robot navigates an environment to different methods of object manipulation. The lecture was also dotted with numerous videos of robots completing a variety of tasks.


A tutorial on graph search algorithms led by PhD student Angel Chang followed the lecture. Students learned about many different algorithms, such as  the breadth first search, the depth first search, and Dijkstra’s algorithm.

After a lunch with AI professors and PhD students, campers had a personal growth session on stereotype intervention, where they had the opportunity to write letters to future SAILORS campers. After that, students engaged in a discussion regarding their experiences facing stereotypes.

A student focuses on writing a letter to a future SAILORS camper.

A social hour followed the personal growth session, where campers mingled with AI professors and PhD students.

The day concluded with another session with the camper’s research projects.

The computer vision group had a quick field trip to Lucile Packard hospital to check out the hand sanitizer sensors that were installed. 
The computer vision group had a quick field trip to Lucile Packard hospital to check out the hand sanitizer sensors that were installed.

With only 3 more days of SAILORS left, we hope the campers are having fun learning and making new friends.