Last Day: Research Presentations, Poster Session, and Staying Involved in AI

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.IMG_4417

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.

IMG_6741

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.feifei final

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.group final

Day 8: Human Genomics, Stanford’s Autonomous Car, and Field Trip to Dropbox

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.

IMG_4241

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.

IMG_6300

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.

IMG_6481
The girls meet Judith Williams, global head of diversity at Dropbox

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.

IMG_6494

We hope everyone had fun today, and we’re looking forward to the final two days of the program!

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.

IMG_5892

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!

IMG_5900

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.

IMG_4102
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.

IMG_5944

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 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.

IMG_3860

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.

IMG_5225 (1)

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!

IMG_5375 (1)

IMG_5322

Day 2: Computational Biology, Nearest Neighbors, and a Haptics Demo

Day 2 of SAILORS 2016 was action-packed! The morning started off with a Q&A and discussion with Olga Russakovsky, one of the masterminds behind this outreach program and a current postdoctoral research fellow at Carnegie Mellon University.

IMG_3779
Olga shares her experience of being a woman in STEM during breakfast.

After breakfast with Olga, the girls learned about computational biology from Professor Anshul Kundaje. The lecture covered various topics in the field, including how machine learning can be utilized to recognize patterns in the DNA variations of patients afflicted with certain diseases. Prof. Kundaje also explained how such AI systems will be key for personalized predictive diagnoses and treatment regimens in the future.

Following the lecture, PhD students Abigail See and Rachel Luo led a tutorial on the nearest neighbors algorithm. Using Python, the girls coded their own movie recommender, playing with different features like genre and rating to try to create an accurate system.

IMG_5165

After lunch, the students continued to work on their research projects with their graduate mentors. The research groups are preparing for short presentations that will take place during Thursday evening’s banquet; students also improved their coding abilities and recognized the potential for great humanistic impact in the field of AI.

IMG_5186
Campers working on using computer vision to improve hospital safety.

In the Stanford robotics lab, the girls had the chance to listen to Professor Oussama Khatib talk about his breathtaking experience working with OceanOne, “a humanoid diving robot outfitted with human vision, haptic force feedback and an artificial brain” as described by Bjorn Carey for Stanford News. Earlier this year, OceanOne recovered artifacts that had been untouched for centuries in the sunken wreck of King Louis XIV’s flagship, La Lune. They were even able to test out the advanced haptic technology firsthand!

IMG_5192

This busy day was topped off with this summer’s first personal growth session. Co-founder of Embrace Linus Liang came to teach the girls about the design thinking process. In the personal growth session, they worked both individually and with their peers to try to come up with an optimal design for a book bag.

IMG_3852

We hope the students are starting to get familiar with one another and with the SAILORS environment as the second day of the program comes to an end!

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.

PicMonkey Collage

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.

PicMonkey Collagel

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.

19962143704_90e5e5b6ee_z

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.

20591295481_77b96fb6bc_k

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.

p

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.

08-12-2015-sailors-balls-photo-10

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.

k

 

l

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!