CMD-IT announced a record-breaking turnout of 1192 attendees for the Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing, an increase of 123.5% over 2016. Themed “Diversity Simply Smarter,” the Tapia Conference was held September 20-23 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Tapia Conference brings together students, faculty, researchers and professionals from all backgrounds and ethnicities in computing, and is the premier venue to promote and celebrate ethnic diversity in the field. The Tapia Conference was sponsored by the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) and presented by the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in IT (CMD-IT).

“The Tapia Conference is experiencing substantial growth year over year. This year we had over 674 undergraduate and graduate students from 250 universities ,” said Valerie Taylor, Executive Director, CMD-IT. “Diversity is a critical factor in the growth and success of every part of the computer science field. The participation of over 99 universities, national laboratories, non-profits and corporations as conference supporters shows how deep the commitment is to including people of all backgrounds, ethnicities, genders and disabilities in tech.”

Program highlights included plenary presentations by Edward Castillo, Research Scientist, Radiation Oncology Department, Beaumont Health Research Institute, Making a Mathematical Diagnosis: How Combining Medical Imaging with Computational Science can Improve Patient Outcomes; Adrienne P. Felt, Google, Chrome Metrics and Usable Security Team, Building a Browser for Everyone; James Mickens, Associate Professor of Computer Science, Harvard University, Leveraging Fine-grained Data Flows in Web Applications; Oyekunle Olukotun, Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Stanford University, Making Parallelism Easy: A 25 Year Odyssey and Avani Wildani, Assistant Professor, MathCS and Neuroscience, Emory University, New Interfaces in Neural Computing.

The closing banquet of the conference was highlighted by an inspiring and rousing keynote address by Randal Pinkett,Founder, Chairman and CEO, BCT Partners. The Richard A. Tapia Achievement Award for Scientific Scholarship, Civic Science and Diversifying Computing award was presented to Dr. Manuel Perez Quinones, Associate Dean, College of Computing and Informatics Professor, Department of Software and Information Systems, University of North Carolina, Charlotte.

The Tapia Conference includes panels and workshops, birds of a feather sessions, a career fair and Poster Reception. There were 250 scholarship recipients and 10 doctoral consortium participants.