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The Future of Computing: A Vision

Date & Time:
00:00:00, Thursday 29 March -
00:00:00, Friday 30 March, 2007


This Senior Women’s event will be held to consider visions of the future of computing and the computing research agenda. This follows on from the Senior Women in Computing conference held in April 2005, but focuses more on the future of the discipline, and from an OII Forum on ‘Women in Computing Professions: Will the Internet Make a Difference?’ held in June 2004.

The meeting will have a two-fold purpose: to consider the future of computing (ensuring that women are at the centre of the debate) and also to foster networking between women in the academic computing community.

Meeting Outline

The meeting will involve plenary sessions, with keynote speakers from sub-disciplines within computing, and working groups that debate the future of computing from different perspectives, considering particularly the interrelationships and potential synergies between computing and other disciplines. Proposed perspectives for both keynote talks focusing on the future of the discipline and also the working groups include: the life sciences interface, e-science, the interface with the social sciences, and information systems design.


Susan Leigh Star: ‘Orphans of Infrastructure: A New Point of Departure’

Large-scale changes in infrastructure, such as standardizing moves, creating networked technologies, military occupations, or making a city maximally disabled-friendly, change cultures, values and futures. For every such large-scale change, some are left behind: orphans of infrastructure. Whilst this orphaning can be cruel, it also offers a different way of looking at the taken-for-granted. Can we shift the vision of HCI to begin with the disenfranchised? What opportunities does this offer for freedom, compassion, and change?

Muffy Calder: Computational thinking and interdisciplinary research

One of the most important contributions of Computer Science is computational thinking. This means thinking clearly and precisely about what a system does and how it does it, what are the right abstractions (what can you leave out, what must be considered) and the best representations, what is the power and/or constraints of the underlying machinery, what are the interfaces, who or what uses them and what are the conditions for operation. The great thing about computational thinking is that it doesn’t just apply to computer or IT systems, it can bring insight into systems in nearly every aspect of our lives. I will discuss the nature of computational thinking and how it might influence the way we do research in computer science, as well as interdisciplinary research.

This forum is organized by Women@CL in collaboration with the Oxford Internet Institute and the e-Horizons Institute, University of Oxford.

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  • Name: Professor Muffy Calder|Dr Susan Leigh Star|Margaret Martonosi|Valerie Taylor
  • Affiliation: University of Glasgow|Center for Science, Technology and Society, Santa Clara
    University|Department of Electrical Engineering, Princeton University|Texas A&M
  • Role: |Keynote|Keynote|Keynote
  • URL:|||
  • Bio: Muffy Calder is Professor of Computing Science and currently Head of the Department of Computing Science at the University of Glasgow. She is a member of the Scottish Science Advisory Committee, reporting to the Scottish Executive. Her research is in modelling and reasoning about the behaviour of complex software and biochemical systems using computer science, mathematics and automated reasoning tools. Her main research interests are in concurrent systems, process algebras and model checking. Recently she has become involved in computational biology, working with researchers from cardiovascular medicine and Cancer Research UK. She has long-standing industrial collaborations with many world-leading IT companies and in the distant past has been a research fellow at BT Laboratories and DEC in California. She has a PhD in Computational Science from the University of St Andrews and a BSc in Computing Science from the University of Stirling.|Susan Leigh Star is Professor of Women and Gender Studies, and Senior Scholar at Santa Clara University, California. She is also President of the Society for the Social Study of Science (4S). She was among the first ethnographers to work closely with computer scientists, and has been a part of many development projects. She writes theory about the information society, particularly gender, technology, and information science itself. With Geoffrey Bowker, she is the author of Sorting Things Out: Classification and Its Consequences (MIT Press, 1999), a classic cross-disciplinary study of how categories are made and used.||