virtual panel

Cleveland L2, 6:00pm - 7:00pm

Dinner available starting at 5:30pm

Kick off the evening with 5 short talks delivered virtually by a panel of alumnae!

  1. Energy-Efficiency at the Building Scale
    Maria Kazandjieva '06
    Ph.D. candidate, Stanford University
  2. The Games We Play
    Mitali Pattnaik '99
    General Manager of Social Games, PlayFirst
  3. Machine Learning: From Robots to Medicine
    Suchi Saria '04
    Ph.D. candidate, Stanford University
  4. Making Newspapers Survive in an Online World
    Natasha Mohanty '03
    Google
  5. Beyond Programming: Technology for the Experimentalist
    Leah Riley '03
    PhD candidate, University of Colorado at Boulder, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Click on the talk title to read more details.
Energy-Efficiency at the Building Scale
Maria Kazandjieva '06
Ph.D. candidate, Stanford University

Green computing is all the rage these days. In this talk, I will give my take on the issues and concentrate on how we can improve the energy-efficiency of computing systems for office and academic buildings. Specifically, I will present the PowerNet monitoring infrastructure that gathers power data from over 140 different devices. I will also talk about the importance of understanding device utilization and user workloads in order to build more efficient systems.
Time permitting, I will briefly mention a side project on collecting person-to-person contact data in a high school environment in order to study the spread of infectious diseases.

Maria Kazandjieva was born and raised in Bulgaria, leaving after high school to attend Mount Holyoke. She majored in Computer Science with a Maths minor. After seven semesters at MoHo, Maria graduated and moved to Princeton. There, she worked as research staff in the EE department (read: fake grad student!) Maria enjoyed Princeton immensely, but after a long consideration decided it was time to leave the East Coast and look for adventures in California. Since Aug of 2007, she's been living in the Bay Area and attending Stanford as a PhD student in Computer Science.
Outside of school, Maria spend my $$$ on rock concerts tickets. She also loves going to the zoo and Monterey Bay Aquarium or any other spot with animals and nature.


The Games We Play
Mitali Pattnaik '99
General Manager of Social Games, PlayFirst

Internet applications, and in particular social media, has significantly affected the video game industry. The new breed of "social games" are here to stay and social games developers are making serious money. However, how have video games affected the internet? We are only scratching the surface of how game design principles can make any website more engaging, and mundane tasks fun. In this talk, Mitali will give you a quick overview of the evolution of gaming, focusing on the new "social gaming" phenomenon and how games will start to integrate themselves throughout the web and into our lives.

Mitali Pattnaik graduated from Mt Holyoke with a Computer Science and Philosophy double-major in 1999. Since then, her career has spanned product management, marketing and general management in the internet and gaming industries. She is currently General Manager of Social Games at PlayFirst in San Francisco. She attended London Business School from 2003-2005 from where she received her MBA. Mitali's career started with a summer internship at Microsoft during her second summer at MHC. This gave her the opportunity to return to Microsoft full-time post graduation as a Program Manager. She worked on Office products where her features touched the lives of 500 million people! After her MBA, Mitali worked in senior marketing roles at Yahoo!, on Yahoo's Search and Video products. She then moved to Electronic Arts - the largest video game publisher - to work on the extremely popular Sims games - which have sold over 120 million copies since they launched in 2000. Now at PlayFirst, Mitali manages a team of 25 engineers, artists, and game designers to build games for social networks such as Facebook.

Machine Learning: From Robots to Medicine
Suchi Saria '04
Ph.D. candidate, Stanford University

Biology offers some of the most challenging problems where computational techniques can bring new insight; with torrents of raw data pouring forth from new experimental assays in genomics, proteomics, and other biological data, large scale analytics can help us better understand disease mechanisms. I'll start my talk by describing in a little bit of detail hot-off-the-plate research that describes how to predict sickness in premature babies. Then I'll give you a brief overview of other areas in biology where one can make an impact using computational techniques. Finally, I'll share how I got here which will also give you a sense of areas outside of biology where machine learning can add value.

Suchi Saria double majored in Computer Science and Physics at Mount Holyoke College. She is currently finishing her doctoral studies at Stanford University in Computer Science with a focus in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. As part of her Phd, in collaboration with a team of doctors from the Stanford hospital, Suchi is building computational models that can analyze and find patterns in ICU data and predict which infants require more care. She has also used such techniques for a variety of problems ranging from document search to predicting traffic jams.

Making Newspapers Survive in an Online World
Natasha Mohanty '03
Google

The traditional model of consuming news by buying newspaper and reading it cover to cover is disappearing. These days most people get the news over the internet through traditional news sources (nytimes.com) as well as non-traditional ones (twitter.com). I will talk about the role of technology, Google News in particular, in how news is produced/consumed in the age of the internet. Also in this period of transition, newspapers are struggling to survive. I will talk about how technology can help make news publishing more profitable.

Natasha Mohanty was a Computer Science major at MHC and has been working for the past few years at Google working on Google News. Before the US Presidential elections, she launched a tool to help people educate themselves on positions various candidates are taking on pivotal political issues. To enable this, Natasha built an exciting piece of technology that can distinguish between a candidate's position versus commentary by other parties on her position so that the veracity of this information can be established. Currently, she and her group are looking into reviving the newspaper industry through computing.

Beyond Programming: Technology for the Experimentalist
Leah Riley '03
PhD candidate, University of Colorado at Boulder, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

College and even graduate courses can consume a student's life with tasks of coding and problem sets. At times it may difficult to identify the motivation for an assignment while wading through hours of debugging. However, these tasks help to strengthen the skills that become the foundation to quality research in a laboratory. Knowledge and comfort with computers and programming become a key to success. In addition to covering some of my current research on lithium battery technology, I will also include many anecdotes about my continuing battle with computers and technology along the way. While computers and I have not always had a positive relationship, in the end, technology and innovation is what fuels research... even as an experimentalist.

Leah Riley is currently a 4th year PhD student with an emphasis in Electrochemical Engineering and Material Science at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She works full time developing materials and optimized systems for state-of-the-art lithium ion battery technology at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, CO. Before coming to Colorado, Leah received an M.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Southern California and a B.A. in Physics from Mount Holyoke College.