This article is published in the May 2007 issue.

Tapia Conference to Focus on Passion, Diversity, and Innovation

Tapia and Hopper Celebrations Co-locating in Orlando in October

This October 14-17, more than 400 students, professors, and researchers will gather at the Disney Hilton in Orlando, Florida for the fourth Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference. Held every two years, the Tapia Conference provides a welcoming and supportive setting for all participants and particularly for students from under-represented groups.

This year’s theme is “Passion in Computing—Diversity in Innovation.” The theme emphasizes our community’s passion for computing, which fuels our dedication to education, discovery, creativity, innovation, and leadership in the national and global economies.

The 2007 Conference will include several successful aspects of past events, such as:

  • A robust technical program, which includes papers, workshops, panels, and birds-of-a-feather sessions. It will feature talks by experts who will provide examples of their successes as well as their missteps. The overall program will emphasize challenges and successes within the fields of information security, intelligent systems, human-centered computing, and computational math and science.
  • Invited plenary talks that feature the voices of our community members who have excelled across different benchmarks and will discuss how they have organized their scientific and non-scientific ideas to find their niche and become successful. This year’s speakers include Shirley Malcolm, Head of the Directorate for Education and Human Resources Programs, AAAS, and John King, Vice Provost for Academic Information, University of Michigan.
  • A dynamic poster session, focused on students, which provides those who are new to making presentations an opportunity to interact with people one-on-one and practice talking about their work in a supportive setting. Winners of the poster competition will be eligible for ACM’s Student Research Competition Grand Finals.
  • The Doctoral Consortium, a full-day sounding board to guide and encourage students working on their Ph.D.s. This provides an opportunity for graduate students to explore their research interests and career objectives, from graduate school and beyond, with a panel of established researchers.
  • Several opportunities to network, including the poster session, breaks, and the gala awards banquet. These are designed to allow attendees time to learn from role models and peers, and to share their own experiences. The awards banquet has always been a highlight of the Tapia Conference. It allows students and national leaders to spend informal time together, and to recognize the winners of the Tapia Conference competitions and the winner of the Richard A. Tapia Achievement Award for Scientific Scholarship, Civic Science, and Diversifying Computing.

New this year, an exciting robotics competition will pit teams of students against each other as they send their programmed robots on ‘search and rescue’ tasks in simulated and physical disaster environments that have applications in homeland security and national defense.

The Tapia Conference will be co-located with the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference, which will take place October 17-20, also at the Disney Hilton. The 2007 Hopper Celebration is the seventh in a series of conferences designed to bring to the forefront the research and career interests of women in computing. Leading researchers representing industrial, academic, and government communities present their current work, while special sessions focus on the role of women in today’s technology fields. This year’s Hopper Celebration theme, “I Invent the Future,” emphasizes the impact women have on the computing and technology fields and celebrates the potential each attendee possesses.

The Steering Committees of both events are working together to provide a full week’s worth of valuable experiences for attendees, and we look forward to the shared energy of the two events. October 17 will be an exciting ‘Bridge Day’ designed for attendees of both the Tapia and Hopper Celebrations, with a focus on students.

The Tapia Conference is organized by the Coalition to Diversify Computing, and is sponsored by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the IEEE Computer Society, in cooperation with the Computing Research Association (CRA). It honors the significant contributions of Richard A. Tapia, a professor in the Department of Computational and Applied Mathematics at Rice University in Houston, Texas. Not only is he internationally known for his research in computational and mathematical sciences, but he is also a national leader in education and outreach programs, an excellent mentor, and a strong advocate of training and education for under-represented minorities at an exceptional level.

The Tapia Conference series provides a welcoming environment where all participants can learn more to advance their careers and help others do the same. Although submission deadlines for panels, workshops, and papers have already passed, the deadlines for birds-of-a-feather sessions, the robotics competition, and the Doctoral Consortium are all coming up on May 20. Posters are due July 6. We hope you will join us in Orlando on October 14-17 and see the Tapia Conference for yourself!

For additional information:

Tapia Conference:
Hopper Celebration:
Coalition to Diversify Computing:

Monica Martinez-Canales is a Principal Member of the Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories in California. In addition, she is serving as General Chair for the Tapia Conference 2007.

Tapia Conference to Focus on Passion, Diversity, and Innovation