A visit at WiDS Zurich 2021

Once again Mirai was thrilled to attend the Women in Data Science (WiDS) Zurich .

Due to the pandemic, the 2021 edition of the WiDS Zurich conference took place online on March 5th on the platfrom gather.town.

Represented by an avatar, the audience could move around an interesting space (the conference venue really had everything, from breakout rooms to the beach), chatting with people when getting close to their virtual self, or attend talks and mentorship tables with an engagement very close to the one of past physical events.

As usual, the program was rich and of high value.

Among the keynotes, worth to mention was the talk “Visual Computing: facts, fakes, and fiction” by Sabine Süsstrunk, leader of the Images and Visual Representation Lab in the School of Computer and Communication Sciences (IC) at EPFL. The talk - in her own words - was a very biased and personal view of the history and current status of computational imaging and computational photography.

  • Very interesting was also the lightning talk “A direct approach to detection and attribution of climate change” by Eniko Székely. The senior data scientist at the Swiss Data Science Center showcased the application of AI and machine learning to the issue of climate change and demonstrated how anthropogenic sources had an increasing effect in recent years.

  • A very timely Panel Discussion on Data and Ethics saw Marisa Tschopp (researcher at scip ag and Women in AI Ambassador Switzerland), Dorothea Baur (ethics consultant at Baur Consulting), Leila Toplic (head of emerging technologies initiative at Nethope), Anna Jobin (senior researcher at Humbolt Institute of Internet and Society) and Anna Mätzener (manager director of AlgorithmWatch Switzerland) discuss the new social platform Clubhouse and the privacy paradox.

  • Finally, mentorship tables provided a comfortable and trusting environment for discussing various topics. Some of the most popular where: “choosing between academia and industry”, “to how to create impact”, and “product development in data science”. This key feature of the WiDS Zurich conference is a great opportunity for attendees to network and ask questions to experts in the field.

Many thanks to the organizing committee for having with great success managed the digitalization of the conference and create yet again an amazing event.