Students to present ideas to make computing anti-racist

Published February 7, 2022

What can be done to make computing more equitable and reduce biases?

It’s a question roughly 600 first-year students majoring in computer science and engineering grappled with last fall. Now, they’re ready to talk about it.

The students will meet Feb. 9 to present their ideas to a panel of judges.

The forum will take place from 5:10-6:10 p.m. in 101 Davis Hall, North Campus.

For those who cannot attend in person, the forum is available via Zoom. Attendees must pre-register using the email associated with their Zoom account.

“It’s well-established that common algorithms used in computing can create unfair results that privilege one group of users over others,” says co-organizer Kenny Joseph, assistant professor of computer science and engineering.

“We’re incredibly excited to see the computational and non-computational solutions that students have proposed to address the problems exacerbated by technology in society,” adds co-organizer Dalia Antonia Caraballo Muller, associate professor of Latin American and Caribbean history, College of Arts and Sciences.

Atri Rudra, professor of computer science and engineering, is also an organizer.

The event is part of the Impossible Project, an effort led by Muller that works to promote social and planetary justice.

The event was made possible with funding from a Mozilla Responsible Computer Science Challenge award that UB received in 2019. Similar efforts at UB include working with Mozilla and other partners to further integrate ethics into computer science education and a U.S. National Science Foundation/Amazon-funded project to improve fairness in artificial intelligence programs