Congratulations are in order for BCS member, Dr Larissa Suzuki, a Data/AI Practice Lead at Google, who has been named as one of the Top 50 Women in Engineering 2021. Claire Penketh reports.

The Women’s Engineering Society (WES) Engineering Heroes awards is now in its sixth year. It celebrates women who have made a significant contribution to the functioning of their organisation, community or indeed the world, over the last year.

BCS member Dr Larissa Suzuki is a computer scientist, inventor, and Chartered Engineer.

An early starter

She describes herself as ‘neurodivergent, a pianist and violinist’ At the age of 21, she founded her first business, a software house and at 23, she became a University Lecturer teaching on a BSc Computer Science course and an MBA program.

Currently, she works on the Interplanetary Internet on cloud computing project with Vint Cerf alongside NASA, ESA and JAXA engineers, and academics. She also works on Federated Learning and Sustainable AI with the Office of the CTO at Google. Her 17-year career also includes smart cities, data infrastructures, emerging technologies, computing applied to medicine (cancer diagnosis and digital imaging processing), digital product design and management.

‘Outstanding’ nominations

Head Judge of 2021 WE50, Professor Catherine Noakes OBE CEng FIMechE FIHEEM said of the awards: '2020 was a year unlike any other and remarkable times call for remarkable people. That is why, in 2021, the Top 50 Women in Engineering Awards celebrates the engineering heroes who have responded to the challenges of an ever-changing world, from healthcare and climate change to infrastructure and championing diversity, with inspirational innovation and leadership.

'With over 230 nominations, only the exceptional made it to the top 50. The standard of nominations received was outstanding.

'It was wonderful to read about the achievements of these extraordinary women and the impact that they are making on society with their talent, hard work and dedication.

'If there was ever a time that we needed these heroes in engineering, it is now.'

A varied career

Dr Suzuki holds a PhD in Computer Science from UCL in a joint program with Imperial College London and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her continuing academic work is based at UCL where she serves as an Honorary Associate Professor in Computer Science.

She was formerly a Director at Oracle, a Senior Program Manager for the Mayor of London leading on Data for London and technologies for London Infrastructure, Head of Data Science for Founders4Schools, and a Teaching Assistant in academic programs of UCL and Lancaster University, and a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Parana (MBA) and University Barao de Maua.

Widespread recognition

She has received numerous awards, grants and recognition from MIT, Intel, Google, IBM, ACM, Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation, Microsoft Research, Siemens, EPSRC, McKinsey & Co, among many others for her contributions to industry and international science.

She is an Ambassador for the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, The IET, and Acer+Google Chromebook.

She has published several research papers, academic journals, books and conferences, and is a frequent keynote, conference and panel speaker (including TEDx). She is a judge and reviewer of the ACM Global Research Competition, a reviewer of grants for the Royal Academy of Engineering, IET Innovation Awards, Talent 2030 National Engineering Competition, and a journal reviewer for IEEE and Springer.