November 21, 2014

November 21, 2014

Machines That ‘Learn’ To Make A Difference
Kakoli Sen

This session brought together scientists from different organizations and domains to talk about their pioneering work and challenges using machine learning in their respective fields. The domains discussed were healthcare, transportation, on-line advertising and debating. Priyanka Agrawal shared a video on Watson computer, a cognitive computing system that uses natural language processing to mimic the human brain. This is based on the Argumentation approach while existing solutions use search engine for solving any queries. Geetha Manjunath discussed the innovations in transportation which was made possible through various machine learning algorithms. Some examples were dynamic pricing in parking management, passenger waiting time reduction, optimized passenger loads etc. Deepthi Singh spoke at length on building decision trees from large-scale data in applications of on-line advertising. She also talked of Click-through rate(CTR) prediction problem, among other things. Hima Patel talked on the use of machine learning in medical image analysis. She discussed in detail on the use of Random Forest in the problem of classification of “axial” images into body regions. Key takeaways – Machine learning comprises of knowledge from multiple disciplines like statistics and optimization besides computer science and AI. Hence it has need for a mix of computer engineers, researchers, statisticians and domain experts.

The Career Guidance Never Given
Track: Management
Prasanna Arumugam

Session Moderator: Garvita Chaturvedi – Women’s Coach & Inclusion Consultant at Biz Divas Foundation (CSR arm of Altavis Pvt Ltd)

Garvita conducted this session in a panel discussion format where she asked the panelists – Karyn Folland, VP – Technology Strategy at Thomson Reuters, Sheenam Ohrie, VP – Strategy at SAP Labs, Manisha Grover, Lead – Business Excellence at Jones Lang Lasalle – about their experience as women leaders in the corporate world and the part mentoring played in their journey. Each one had a unique experience to share that led to many follow up questions from the inquisitive audience. For Karyn, a challenge and an unfamiliar territory made a role very attractive while Sheenam felt for her it’s important to judge the impact of each leadership role on the macro organization as well her ability to add something new to it. Manisha, coming from a relatively young industry in India had her career move to leadership roles fast due to the growth of the industry and she kept going with the flow to add new areas of expertise in her repertoire. Each one of these leaders have a distinctive view on mentoring as well. For Karyn, it has been a fulfilling journey in the areas of mentoring and coaching and she seems to be a firm believer in the concept as well as ‘paying it forward’ by mentoring young leaders. Sheenam shared a fluid view on finding the right person in the right situation as well as the importance of willingness to learn. Her advice also stressed on the significance of creating a ‘network’ and sponsors who can support a professional in tough times. Manisha spoke about her belief in self-help and personal learning. In a nutshell, utilizing one’s mentors and their experience with an organized approach seems like a well-placed approach to learning and growth.

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel, Reuse It! – Business Models from Around the World
Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Archana Santosh

The session featured a panel discussion on “Business model innovation” and was most inspiring and informative. How do you unlock real value from the business model side? What exactly is business model innovation? What is the key for innovation in MNC’s? These were some questions that led to a very engaging discussion among the audience.  Paul Needham from Simpa Networks, a seasoned entrepreneur mentioned about the challenges related to electricity in rural areas. A customer centric approach in this case led to a business model to sell solar energy in micro-packets on a progressive purchase basis. Arijit Sarkar from Google shared his view on business model innovation: by monetizing in a way to take the market further ahead. Arijit mentioned about the 3 essentials for having the culture of innovation in an organization:

1. Focus on the user/user needs
2. Giving more freedom to the employees
3. Solve differently

Salil Godika from Happiest Minds Technologies, mentioned business model innovation is all about things, offerings, supply chain or a product that could be distributed in a different way. Zara’s fashion retail model was an excellent example cited in this case. It was a very engaging and thought provoking session with some lively moments.

Discover And Build Your Strengths
Track: Early Career
Swetha Nagarudraiah

Pre-Session started with a chit-chat with Sheela and Nitya , both seemed to be on very high energy and I could bet the session would make its mark. Nitya opened the session with an interesting thought to ponder on and handed it over to KL Sheela.  Sheela, a HR professional for  18 years mingled with the crowd to handle the session which was a smart move. She shared an interesting survey “People with 15+ experience told they were the most dissatisfied with their jobs” and enlightened us on how one can always ask ourselves the important question “Are we in the right Job?” She continued with an interesting activity, “It revolved on jotting down 3 things which were satisfying and dissatisfying for one.” She focused on helping us find a developing pattern which makes us happy/unhappy. This was an eye opener for most of us. Understanding how a pattern is developed in our activities, even in our deepest of our sleep we had a pattern to look for. The crux of discovering the “Talent within self and converting them to strengths” was the best takeaway for the audience

How To Get It? How To Keep It? How To Get It Back If You Lose It?
Back To Work
Rajalakshmi  S

Session started with Queen Victoria’ example where the Queen was asked to leave her crown outside the home.  This was given to explain what happens when women were in power. Nina John covered topics like the family cocoon and different roles played by women.  The session turned interactive when she asked for various reasons to take a break in career (guilt factor and lack of child care). The attendees discussed their emotional feelings during the break and many common themes emerged.  Nina motivated them by saying “organizations are showing interest in second career women as organizations give value to the skill sets.” She also discussed various factors like reasons to go back to work, how to decide when to join back, factors to stop work were discussed.”The technology is not on break when women are on break” – She explained the need to update the skills. Questions like “how to showcase the break in resume” were discussed. Session ended with Resume writing tips and with the question “What role are you taking on today?”

Cyber Security – A Conversation On Evolving Cyber Threat “Ransomware” And Intelligence Driven Security
Purnima M

Cyber security has become an increasingly important topic given the disruptions this industry is going through. While intelligently devised attacks are growing in number and complexity, on the other hand this challenge is multiplied by hyper connectivity of our digital world. With advent of – “The Internet of Things” and the attack surface broadens to day-to-day consumer utilities & attack dimension changes from Disruptive to Destructive in future. This session specifically threw light on an old but an evolving malware kind – “Ransomware” – how it’s specifically constructed with monetization in mind (persuades user to pay ransom sum by charging them on legal grounds), helped us understand how intelligence driven security will help overcome not just this but other varied kind of prevalent attacks. The session will helped in deciding whether intelligence driven security is going to become a reality? Is this going to work? And finally how companies can adopt it in the long term and get benefits from it. The session also included discussion on ransomware variants, emerging threats and explanation of complete Intelligence driven security model.

Think Slow – Rising Above Unconscious Bias
Mugdha Bapat

Unconscious bias refers to human tendency of judging people based on superficial factors like age, gender, sexual orientation and so on. Unconscious bias stops an individual from thinking rationally about the true capabilities within others. We come across unconscious bias in two forms:

1)      Our bias towards others: This stops us from connecting with many talented people and collaborating with them. The way to deal with is acceptance, focus and action.

2)      Others’ bias towards us: This directly affects us by stopping ourselves from utilizing our full potential. The way to deal with the same is to question against the bias and change the perception by acting to prove it false.

This interactive session included different real world examples for audience to grasp these concepts easily. Through his command over the topic and effective delivery of speech Neeraj unfolded different aspects of unconscious bias in front of the audience.

 Tech Connect – Sunita Mani

The session started with the view on the boom of the e-commerce and the demands of an online user and the pattern of using commerce as their shopping medium. The high level architecture supporting the technology was explained which had Infrastructure Layer, Platform Layer, Analytics Layer and the applications layer. Today most of the customers are being driven by various patterns of buying/selling and are become more significant in terms of their needs, this is a big driving factor for the technology and the algorithms to find the predictions, suggestions aligned to online users. Immense focus is given on analytics platform, machine learning and content delivery network. Varying buying patterns make the analytics engine more complicated and with huge amount data and traffic in the system, there needs a reliable infrastructure layer which is hosted across multiple sites. Building data centers are becoming more challenging and there is a need to have eco-friendly infrastructure that consumes less power like natural gas etc. The most important goal of an ecommerce organization to make the sellers and buyers satisfied and technology is being the driving force to address all the requirements of all stake holders.

Back To The Future
Back To Work
Rajalakshmi S

The session started with the panelists sharing their reason for their taking a break in their career. Two major points were covered;

1) How to decide when to take a break?

–          Prioritize things.
–          Decide the duration of break/Plan it
–          Evaluate at the end of break time whether to extend it
–          Socialize the concerns with someone close.
–          Be happy with what you decide
–          Start with part time work and slowly transition to a full break if it works out.

2) Things to do during the break.

–          Networking/ Being connected
–          Constantly take some online courses
–          Sharpen skills
–          Make sure to record these in your resume so that it shows a willingness to learn.
–          Volunteer/Internship/Take part time jobs when you decide to get back to work.

Beyond Academia: A Peek Into Your Career Selfie
Early Career
Swetha Nagarudraiah

Ipsita kick started the session with an interesting quote from a movie. Special mention for the way session was planned, with 4 mentors moving across 4 groups of 10-15 people was planned at its best. Madhulika, a Image Mentor, talked on how one has to believe in “I am perfect the way I am.” Her talk on etiquettes on dressing up and how to present oneself was amazing.

Mala Mary, an inspiring lady. She answered queries on how mentors are there to guide you, but the choice is always with you. What resonated even after she left was the thought  she shared “What you are willing to give up, for what you want to achieve” AND “You will find a way if you believe in it.” Meenakshi  Iyer, a technologist with 16 years of experience talked about “How you have to realize the difference between career and profession.” Constantly educating oneself is the key to success.

The Internet Of Things
Pratibha Periwal

Embedding intelligence in the inanimate –deep dive into IoT was interesting topic as it discussed about at any time, any place, and connectivity for anyone i.e. connectivity for ANYTHING & EVERYTHING! It talked about its E2E compute scalability, “Things” to cloud architecture, essentials for IoT Solutions, flexible intelligence, usage in application areas like smart phones, cars, farms, retail, and health care holding market value and their potential. According to Draft ‘Internet-of-Things’ policy has the objective “to create an IoT industry in India of USD 15 billion by 2020. This will also lead to increase in the connected devices from around 200 million to over 2.7 billion by 2020. “ .It was interesting to know about IoT smart factory with predictive maintenance pilot capturing various useful data, real time monitoring, analyzing, improving and helping in cost savings. IoT – “The Next BIG thing is SMALL”

Poster Sessions
Dhiviya K R

The poster session of GHC 2014 was scheduled for both the days of the conference, with an evening session for corporate women on the 20th and a mid-day session for students on the 21st. The sessions happened at the Magadh lawns, with the setting reflecting an art exhibit. The positioning of the exhibits close to the stalls helped attract a good number of attendees who engaged the presenters.

The evening session on day one started at 5:30 PM with about 30 presenters from various organizations setting up their exhibits. The exhibits covered a wide range of topics across hardware and software, bringing forth innovative ideas and future trends. While the audience stayed captivated by the interesting exhibits and enthusiastic presenters, refreshing cocktails were served alongside – an evening right out of a fairy tale book!

On the second day the space was filled with bubbly student presenters from across India, Bangladesh and Srilanka. The excitement in each of them was contagious. It was mid-day and there was enticing lunch being served, but there was no dearth for audience. Towards the end of the session, judges evaluated the exhibits picking the 3 best amongst them. The session concluded with a small award ceremony that saw happy presenters walk away with a big grin of achievement.

Women Leaders And Career Transitions 

Track: Leadership
Shaila Srinivas

Vasanthi Srinivasan, Associate professor of OB & HRM and Chairperson for centre for corporate governance and citizenship gave an insightful and power-packed speech on career transitions, what does it take to be a leader, whether we are unknowingly perpetuating gendering and spoke on a lot more interesting thoughts and perceptions. She stressed on the fact that there are cross currents in our careers where there are gushes and ebbs in the journey. She also spoke about how the career success definitions change over the life stages. She emphasized that we need to stay where we are and do our best and things will automatically fall in place. It was very interesting to hear her comment that whatever helps in our success so far will exactly be the cause of  failure in the next transition.

It is important to transition out psychologically. Transitions involve a shift in the mindset and it involves learning, unlearning and altered learning. The entire audience was asked to form small discussion groups to discuss the transitions they have experienced and share their stories.

This was followed by hearing real life transition experiences of a couple of senior folks from Microsoft.

Prakash Thekatte, GM in Microsoft spoke about how he was able to overcome the challenges with various career transitions in his life and how he was able to successfully move to different roles. Many times we are not aware of the potential we have, but it helps when someone else is able to assess our potential and recommend what we will be good at. Charu Srinivasan, Principal Group Engineering manager spoke about the transitions in her personal and career lives. She advised women to be unafraid and unapologetic to truly succeed in their lives.