The girls began the day with a lesson on graph search. Campers learned about the main graph search algorithms, such as Dijkstra’s algorithm, breadth-first search, and depth-first search.
After that, campers listened to a lecture by Professor Mykel Kochenderfer about airplanes and artificial intelligence. Prof. Kochenderfer discussed how his research in AI algorithms has greatly improved aircraft and aeronautic safety. The girls learned how artificial intelligence is key in maintaining safety and preventing crashes in dynamic environments.
After that, the campers took a field trip to the Computer History Museum. Edward Feigenbaum, a notable computer scientist and artificial intelligence researcher, led a tour through the museum. Campers not only learned about the birth of computing but also about notable female computer scientists like Ada Lovelace.
The day concluded with a personal growth session about scientific writing, blogging, and sharing research. Guest speakers included Sherol Chen, Melanie Warrick, and Ayman Nadeem.
Day 3 started with a classifier lecture. Campers learned about the characteristics of classifiers, such as its features, how to train them, evaluate them, and test them.
After the classifier lecture, the girls had the opportunity to see and demo an autonomous car. The car, named Junior, was a winning submission in the Urban Challenge, an autonomous car competition held in 2007. Campers learned about not only the technical aspect of such cars but also the potential benefits and harms that self-driving cars could have on the world. After the demo, the girls had a chance to eat lunch with members of Zoox, an autonomous car company.
Pictured above: campers pose for a silly group picture with Zoox engineers.
After lunch, the girls engaged in a lecture about natural language processing (NPL) from Professor Percy Liang. The girls broke out into their respective research projects after the lecture.
Pictured above: A camper engages in discussion in the “Assisting Disaster Relief with Natural Language Processing” research project.
The day concluded with a creative writing and spoken word activity and a house meeting.
Day two started with a welcome lecture by program director and Stanford AI lab director Fei-Fei Li. Fei-Fei began by discussing the birth of artificial intelligence, introducing what computer vision is, and explaining how and why she and her coworkers founded ImageNet. Fei-Fei’s lecture intrigued students as she delved into everything from how human brains and eyes work to what inspires her to wake up every morning to solve the biggest AI problems.
After the welcome lecture, campers met for the first time in their research group. This year, the four research topics are: Making Hospitals Safer with Computer Vision, Assisting Disaster Relief with Natural Language Processing, Decoding DNA: Finding Meaning in the Genome, and Self-Driving Cars and the Future of Personal Transportation. The girls were introduced to their research area and discussed the humanistic applications of their respective topics.
Pictured above: A camper checks out a robot from the self-driving car course.
After a delicious lunch, the campers had a programming intro, where they learned the basics of Python.
A hexacopter demo followed the programming tutorial. Students learned what PID (proportional-integral-derivative) control was and tested how PID control affected movement by flying hexacopters.
After a quick stop by Tressider Union and the Stanford Bookstore, the students headed for dinner and free time. The night concluded with an Improv Night, where the girls played numerous fun and engaging acting and improv games.
Today, all 32 SAILORS campers moved into their dorms, located at the beautiful Synergy house. We are beyond excited to spend the next two weeks with these girls!
After moving in, campers engaged in icebreakers such as Two Truths and a Lie, The Wind Blows For, and many more. The girls also played fun games like Uno to get to know each other.
We enjoyed a welcome dinner with campers and their families; program directors Olga Russakovsky, Rick Sommer, and Fei-Fei Li gave a few opening remarks to set a positive, excited tone to the beginning of camp.
After a delicious dinner, the residential counselors led the campers in a house meeting, where house rules, program expectations, and more were discussed.
Overall, the first move-in day was a success, and we can’t wait for what’s in store for the girls in the next two weeks!
After a quick breakfast, the girls jumped into their last research project session. They worked hard to put the finishing touches on their project boards and rehearse their upcoming presentations.
Much like last year, each project group had the chance to present everything they’d been working on for the past two weeks. Campers didn’t just explain the technical details of their work, they also viewed their AI research through the lens of social good. In particular, the four groups covered how to utilize natural language processing to aid disaster relief, using computer vision to make hospitals safer, writing machine learning algorithms to detect various cancers in the human genome, and programming autonomous cars to revolutionize transportation. We’re so proud of what everyone has learned and accomplished in just two weeks!
SAILORS students and staff took a camp photo at lunch, and then moved into the poster session portion of the afternoon. Members of the Stanford AI Laboratory were all invited to take a look at the four projects and ask questions.
Following the poster gallery walk was the very last personal growth session: staying involved in AI, and in computer science as a whole. Representatives from organizations like she++, Girls Teaching Girls to Code, and the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) came to speak to the girls about potential next steps they could take to expand their skill set and keep in touch with the community.
The day was concluded with an exit survey, which mirrored the questions in the survey the girls took on the first day of camp. As Profei-Fei Li had explained during orientation, rigorous and quantitative evaluation is an integral part of SAILORS. Even though the official program has ended, the curriculum chairs will continue to work tirelessly to read through the girls’ feedback in order to continue improving this initiative for next year.
A giant thank you to everyone who made SAILORS 2016 the huge success that it was: professors, graduate students, guest speakers, project mentors, sponsors, last year’s alumni, and especially the students and their parents who made the effort to come out to Stanford every day for the past two weeks! It’s been a blast, but our hope is that this summer is only just the beginning. We’re beyond excited to add another 24 motivated girls to our alumni network and continue to champion diversity in the hugely promising field of artificial intelligence.
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!
The SAILORS arrived this morning excited for today’s field trip to the Dropbox office! But before that, they enjoyed a breakfast Q&A with Professor Gill Bejerano, who talked about how he ended up in the field of genomics despite starting college with little interest in either biology or computer science.
After breakfast, Prof. Bejerano went into more detail about how machine learning is critical for finding the “bugs” in people’s genomes that cause disease. As he explained, combing through a patient’s genome manually is too expensive and time-consuming to keep up with demand; researchers are therefore looking toward automation to solve this problem.
The girls then headed outside to see Stanford’s self-driving car in person! CS department member Dr. Brice Rebsamen explained how the car worked, but also talked about the problems that he and his colleagues encountered. From blind spots to bad weather, there are a lot of difficult issues that autonomous car researchers need to resolve in order for their vehicles to be safe and ready for the road.
Following the demo was this week’s field trip! The campers had the chance to tour the Dropbox office in San Francisco. They first met Justin Bethune, the company’s global diversity program manager. After a casual lunch, the girls split off into groups to tour the office, from the rooftop garden to the colorful working spaces.
The day concluded with a panel featuring five female employees of Dropbox, who spoke about their background and life at the company. They also gave advice to the SAILORS girls about staying motivated while pursuing a STEM career.
We hope everyone had fun today, and we’re looking forward to the final two days of the program!