Day 5: Computation, Cognition, 3D Reconstruction, and more!

The first week of SAILORS ended with yet another exciting day! As usual, the morning started off with a casual breakfast Q&A with a professor. Today, the principal investigator of Stanford’s Computation & Cognition Lab, Noah Goodman, came and introduced the girls to how he applies computational models to cognitive science.


During his lecture, Prof. Goodman went into further detail about his research area. He described several of his experiments in which a probabilistic model could predict the thought patterns of people with near-perfect accuracy. These models were even capable of accounting for nonliteral language such as hyperbole!


One of Prof. Goodman’s graduate students, Erin Bennett, and PhD student Rachel Luo then led a tutorial on inductive reasoning. The SAILORS girls first played several engaging games that required considering what other people might be thinking, such as the well-known prisoner’s dilemma. Using what they learned from these games, they programmed their own probabilistic algorithm to represent such “reasoning about reasoning” situations.

Playing a cooperation reasoning game

Friday afternoon was just as action-packed as the first half of the day! After lunch, this year’s campers had a Q&A session with current college students and SAILORS alumni from last year. The panel talked about their experiences both in SAILORS and in school, giving advice to the girls about getting involved in and navigating the world of computer science as women. Throughout the conversation, the panelists emphasized the importance of not being afraid to ask questions, and having self-confidence when reaching out for research and internship opportunities.

Following the personal growth session, computer graphics PhD student Angela Dai came in to lead a demo of 3D reconstruction. She took a scan of the room using depth-sensing technology, explaining that she and the 2016 program director Iro Armeni were working on installing that system onto a robot. The girls also learned about some of the challenges that the field faces currently, such as scanning reflective surfaces or having the computer actually recognize what object it just scanned.


The day ended with group research sessions. With half the program now over, the teams’ projects are really starting to take shape. We hope the campers have enjoyed this past week as much as we have, and we’re looking forward to coming back on Monday!


Day 2: Computation, Cognition, and Stanford’s Self Driving Car

Day 2 of SAILORS was action packed as it was filled with numerous activities ranging from lectures to hands on activities to live demos.

The day kicked off with a breakfast and lecture from Professor Noah Goodman, who introduced computation and cognition to the students. A tutorial on inductive reasoning followed Professor Goodman’s lecture, and campers had the opportunity to follow along on laptops during this session.


After a meet and greet lunch with AI professors and students, campers engaged in a personal growth session on teamwork. Students were presented with a challenge: to try to keep a volleyball from touching the ground as long as possible. The girls succeeded by using a strategy they invented which involved sitting with their legs extended to prevent the ball from touching the ground.

PicMonkey Collage

A live demo from an autonomous car followed the personal growth session. Campers had the opportunity to find out how the car was built and were allowed to ask questions.

PicMonkey Collage1

The day concluded with a session with the research projects. We hope everybody had fun and learned a lot during day 2, and we can’t wait for day 3 and the rest of the week!