This is a guest post by Diamond Blackwell, ACM-W President at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
On Friday, October 26, 2018, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette opened its doors to over 900 students participating in Science Day. This is a campus-wide event where high school students throughout Louisiana come to visit university’s various science departments. Our department, the College of Computing and Informatics, put on four demos for students to partake in.
The Association of Computing Machinery – Women (ACM-W) club, an organization dedicated to increasing the number of women in tech, decided we should do something different than the previous year for our demo. Our organization’s advisor, Dr. Sonya Hsu, gave us the idea to try a Deep Learning and IoT, Internet of Things demo presented at Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing this past September by the team from MathWorks. With the help from the MathWorks GHC team and colleagues, we were able to put on this spectacular demo at the Science Day at the University of Louisiana. You can read about the GHC 18 Deep Learning and IoT workshop here on this blog.
We gathered all of the required tips from Anoush Najarian of MathWorks, configured all of our laptops, and put together an informal and interactive presentation. And we had our students very entertained! They really enjoyed taking photos of the fruit (and sometimes themselves) in order to see how and which objects were classified. Students kept taking photos until their fruit was correctly labeled, seeing how holding the object in a certain position or light would affect the MATLAB program’s answer.
We did notice that with smaller groups, it was easier to help everyone and keep control of the room. This made the demonstrations and feedback sessions a lot more educational: in larger groups, most people could not get most of their questions answered in the allotted time. But, the interactive segment of the demo did make up for it.
Meanwhile, the MathWorks team in Boston could keep up with what we’re doing by looking at the data collected on ThingSpeak and analyzing it with MATLAB – that’s IoT in action!
This was an amazing outreach opportunity for our organization that could not have been executed without the help of the MathWorks team! The positive feedback and help really made this an enjoyable experience for my team, and we hope to partner with MathWorks in the future.
You too are welcome to use our GHC 18 Deep Learning and IoT workshop materials, and share your thoughts in the comments! Check out the work of awesome women in engineering and science we have been highlighting with the #shelovesmatlab hashtag!