Karen Spärck Jones lecture 2014

How to enjoy a career in computing: the power of networks

Prof Dame Wendy Hall

In 1987 Prof Dame Wendy Hall coauthored a paper on the lack of women in computer science, called "Where have all the girls gone?" 27 years later things have changed little despite much effort across many different projects and initiatives. During that time however, Prof Hall says that she enjoyed a wonderful career in computing. In this talk, she will reflect on how the power of networks has affected her career, both in terms of the work she does and in terms of surviving and thriving. She will also reflect on the current state of affairs with regards to women in computer science and in the wider STEM community. What lessons have we learnt and what hope is there for the future? Prof Hall will argue that it is only by working together that the gender balance in the computing industry will be changed.

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About the speaker

Dame Wendy Hall, DBE, FRS, FREng was one of the first computer scientists to undertake serious research in multimedia and hypermedia and has been at the forefront ever since. The influence of her work has been significant in many areas, including those of digital libraries, the development of the semantic web, and the emerging research discipline of web science. She has published over 400 papers and is frequently invited to speak at high-profile conferences and events around the world.

Dame Wendy is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton and is Dean of the Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering; she was Head of the School of Electronics and Computer Science from 2002 to 2007. In 2006, with Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Sir Nigel Shadbolt, she cofounded the Web Science Research Initiative. She is currently a Director of the Web Science Trust, which has a global mission to support the development of research, education and thought leadership in that field. In addition to playing a prominent role in the development of her subject, she also helps shape science and engineering policy and education. She is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Council on Robotics and Smart Devices.

She was Chair of the European Commission’s ISTAG between 2010 and 2012, and President of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) between 2008 and 2010, the first person from outside North America to hold this position. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in June 2009. Other significant posts she has held include: Senior Vice President of the Royal Academy of Engineering; member of the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology; EPSRC Senior Research Fellow and member of the EPSRC Council; founding member of the European Research Council; President of the British Computer Society.