Women @ GECCO


The Women@GECCO workshop series started in 2013 as a venue in which accomplished women researchers welcome and support other women in evolutionary computation (EC). Over the years, the workshop has become a venue where students and junior researchers from different under-represented cohorts in EC interact in an informal setting with established women researchers and the general GECCO community, to share our experience as researchers and discuss various issues related to fostering and balancing one's professional and social life, as well as on inserting oneself in the EC community.

The workshop plays an important role at GECCO and, particularly in a year that is challenging our professional and personal life, the Women@GECCO workshop will have a virtual format as an instance to connect ourselves as a community.

ACM-W Scholarships for Attendance at Research Conferences

ACM-W provides support for women undergraduate and graduate students in Computer Science and related programs to attend research conferences. This exposure to the CS research world can encourage a student to continue on to the next level (Undergraduate to Graduate, Masters to Ph.D., Ph.D. to an industry or academic position). The student does not have to present a paper at the conference she attends.

Data and Time

Monday, July 12, 2021. 15:45-18:00 (UTC/GMT+2 hours, Central European Summer Time).

To join, please register here (https://gecco-2021.sigevo.org/Registration)
Registration is free for ACM/SIG Member!!!

Invited Talks

Isabelle Collet, University of Geneva, Switzerland


Digital Technology and Gender Equality: A Challenge for Higher Education

Digital technology is playing an increasing role in our society, but women are underrepresented. Today, less than 15% of computer science students in higher education in most European countries are women.
The Covid 19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of digital technology in daily life and the specific challenges faced by women in times of crisis, including in education and research.
Can we continue to be satisfied with a technical world designed, developed, installed and maintained by a population that is more than 80% male? How can we imagine a more inclusive digital world ?

The higher education can close the gender gap : it is not too late and not everything happens in primary school !

This communication will include :
- An historical review of how the field became so male and why it keeps so.
- descriptions of practices: those that are not so « good »... and those that have proven to be effective

Speaker Bio
Isabelle Collet is a former computer scientist. For 20 years, her research interests are focused on closing the STEM gender gap (especially in computer science) and developing inclusion strategies for women in higher education. She has been involved in several Europe-based projects on gender and information technology. She leads the Gender and Intersectional Relations research group in education (G-RIRE) at the university of Geneva. In 2019, she publishes « Les oubliées du numérique » (The Forgotten Women of the Digital World).

Melanie Mitchell, Santa Fe Institute, USA

Melanie Mitchell

Pursuing an interdisciplinary research career

My career has spanned research topics in several disciplines, ranging from AI and cognitive science to evolutionary computation and complex systems. I have also dedicated substantial time to science communication—in the form of books, essays, and on-line courses for the public. I will speak about the advantages and challenges of these multifaceted pursuits, and will be happy to answer questions about any aspect of research, public communication of science, life-career balance, or anything else of interest to the audience.

Speaker Bio
Melanie Mitchell is the Davis Professor of Complexity at the Santa Fe Institute, and Professor of Computer Science (currently on leave) at Portland State University. Her current research focuses on conceptual abstraction, analogy-making, and visual recognition in artificial intelligence systems. Melanie is the author or editor of six books and numerous scholarly papers in the fields of artificial intelligence, cognitive science, and complex systems. Her book Complexity: A Guided Tour (Oxford University Press) won the 2010 Phi Beta Kappa Science Book Award and was named by Amazon.com as one of the ten best science books of 2009. Her latest book is Artificial Intelligence: A Guide for Thinking Humans (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux).

Valerie Barr, Mount Holyoke College, USA


Reflections as Retirement Nears

As I look toward retirement in 3-5 years, this is an interesting time to reflect on how I did lots of things wrong but things worked out okay, how I tried to weave my political convictions into my day to day work, and what I see as challenges now and in the future for computer scientists who care about the impact of tech on people.

Speaker Bio
Valerie Barr is the Jean E. Sammet Prof. of Computer Science at Mount Holyoke College. She is completing 4 years as chair of the CS department, and is also co-chair of the Data Science program. In addition to her BA in Applied Mathematics from Mount Holyoke, Valerie's road included two stints in graduate school, earning an M.S. in Computer Science from New York University, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Rutgers University. She spent time in industry, working on automated blood analyzers, banking backroom operations, and automated storage and retrieval machines. Valerie spent some time doing conventional CS research, chiefly in software testing, but she's always been interested in interdisciplinary applications of computing. Her recent work has involved a number of “big data” projects in areas such as Biology, English, Economics, and Political Science. Currently, Valerie is primarily involved in curriculum development, chiefly through the creation of interdisciplinary programs, with a goal of changing the demographics of computer science. Valerie is past-chair of the Association for Computing Machinery Council on Women in Computing and has served as a program officer for the National Science Foundation. Her antidotes to life on Zoom, and her antidotes to work in general, are bike riding and travel!

More information on ACM-W Scholarships on the For Students page.


  • Marie-Eléonore Kessaci, University of Lille, France
  • Swetha Varadarajan, Colorado State University, USA