Alice & Eve: about cool women in computing

| Michaela Nesvarova

‘Alice & Eve: a celebration of women in computing’ is the name of a congress and exhibition, held on the 24th of January at the University of Twente. ‘We want to show the amazing work that women are doing in computer science,’ says UT researcher Sophie Lathouwers, one of the organizers. ‘Everyone is welcome, also men.’

‘Alice & Eve’ aims to highlight the contributions of female researchers in IT. Besides a one-day symposium, the event will also mark the start of an exhibition, where visitors can learn more about achievements of women in computing. All of it has been put together by computer scientists at the UT: professors Marieke Huisman, Mariëlle Stoelinga, programme director Alma Schaafstal and PhD candidate Sophie Lathouwers.

‘If you ask people about famous computer scientists, they will mostly mention men,’ says Lathouwers.  ‘Even though women have done some amazing work in the field. Just think of Qiheng Hu who basically connected China to the internet or Ada Lovelace who wrote what is considered the first ever algorithm. Hopefully this will help them get the recognition they deserve.’

The organizers also hope the event will inspire more women to pursue a career in computing. ‘It is a networking opportunity, so that people can see there are women in this field,’ says Lathouwers. ‘It can give female students role models, show them that they can do amazing stuff. When I started studying here, we were with only five women out of seventy students in the programme. It really helps me that there are senior female scientists around me.’

So far nearly a hundred participants have signed up for ‘Alice & Eve’, named after well-known ‘characters’ used in computer communication protocols. The registration is still open and anyone can join.  ‘Everybody is welcome, also men!’ reassures Lathouwers.

The congress is held in the Waaier and will include talks by mainly female speakers, a poster competition, as well as an opening of the exhibition. After Friday, the exhibit will move to the Zilverling building where you will be able to visit it for at least another month.