30 Influential Women Advancing AI in Boston

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This May 24 - 25, RE•WORK is returning to Boston for the Deep Learning Summit & Deep Learning in Healthcare Summit. In the months leading up to the event, we’ve had some really exciting conversations with experts working in deep learning from both academia and industry. We wanted to share with you some of the most influential women behind advancements in AI, focusing on Boston and the surrounding area.

Here are 5 women that we think are particularly leading the way, whether it has been with helping to develop AI, apply it a beneficial way or helping to increase the conversation.

1. Cynthia Breazeal @cynthiabreazeal ‏
Founder & Chief Scientist, Jibo

Breazeal is a pioneer of social robotics, having helped create the first social robot, Kismet in the late 1990’s. In 2012 she founded Jibo, the world’s first family robot. Additionally, Breazeal leads MIT’s Media Lab’s Personal Robots Group, where she is an associate professor. Breazeal is the recipient of numerous awards for her work in social robotics, including TIME magazine’s Best Inventions of 2008. She is also the author of Designing Sociable Robots, published in 2002.

2. Jana Eggers @jeggers ‏
CEO, Nara Logics

With 25 years worth of experience in technology and leadership, Eggers took over the role of CEO for Nara Logics in 2015. Nara Logics is a neuroscience-inspired AI company, providing a smart platform for recommendations and decision support. Throughout her career, Eggers has opened the European logistics software offices as part of American Airlines, started in the internet in ’96 at Lycos, founded Intuit’s corporate Innovation Lab, and has carries out reserch conducting polymers at Los Alamos National Laboratory. As well as mentoring AI startups, Eggers also speaks and writes about AI, and spoke at the RE•WORK Deep Learning Summit in San Francisco in 2016.

3. Katherine Leslie Gorman @TlkngMchns
Founder and Co-host, Talking Machines

Gorman is the Executive Producer of the Talking Machines podcast and the Creative Director of Tote Bag Productions. Talking Machines is a ML podcast, which began its 4th season back in February. Through clear explanations of fundamental concepts and in depth interviews with those at the forefront of research, Talking Machines introduces the reality of machine learning to a wide audience. The show is now one of the most popular tech news podcasts on the global iTunes charts.

4. Rana el Kaliouby @kaliouby
CEO & Co- founder, Affectiva

Affectiva is at the forefront of Emotion AI, with Kaliouby leading the way. She heads a team combining DL, ML and data science, creating facial and vocal emotion AI platforms with the outcome of humanizing how people and technology interact. Kaliouby began her career at MIT, where she built emotion technology with a focus on autism. Since then she has created a list of achievements with Affectiva, whilst also ensuring their AI is built without bias.

5. Rosalind W. Picard @RosalindPicard
Professor, MIT Media Lab

In 1991 Picard joined MIT as a professor, and during her career there has founded and is director of the Affective Computing Research Group, as well as co-director of the Media Lab's Advancing Wellbeing Initiative. Picard also co-founded Affectiva, where she worked as Chief Scientist until 2013. In 2014 Picard then co-founded Empatica, where she is currently Chief Scientist and Chairman. Empatica has combined machine learning with wearable sensors to create 2 wearable healthcare products. Throughout her career Picard has been awarded with various best paper prizes and authored the book Affective Computing.


Complete list:

1. Amy Robinson Sterling @amyleesterling
Executive Director, Eyewire

Launched in 2012, Eyewire combines neuroscience and gaming, with players mapping out neurons by solving 3D puzzles. Sterling herself has appeared in Forbes Top 30 under 30 for games 2015, founded the TEDX Music Project and has advised The White House OSTP and the US Senate on crowdsourcing and open innovation. Sterling joined RE•WORK at the Deep Learning Summit in 2015, where she spoke about her latest research.

2. Cansu Canca @ccansu
Founder and Director, AI Ethics Lab

Canca leads teams of computer scientists and legal scholars to provide ethics analysis and guidance to researchers and practitioners. She has a Ph.D. in philosophy specializing in applied ethics. Prior to the AI Ethics Lab, she was a lecturer at the University of Hong Kong, and a researcher at the Harvard Law School, Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School, Osaka University, and the World Health Organization. You can catch Canca at our Deep Learning Summit in Boston.    

3. Catherine Havasi @catherinehavasi
CEO & Co-founder, Luminoso Inc

Since completing her PhD in Computer Science at Braneis University, Havasi has spent time at the MIT Media Lab, most recently running the ConceptNet project as a Research Affiliate. Since 2011 Havasi has also been running AI based company Luminoso, which uses Machine Learning to analyze data and produce actionable insights.

4. Clara Vu @veobot
Co-founder and VP Engineer, Veo Robotics

With over twenty years of experience in robotics, Vu has helped develop multiple products and take them to market. Vu currently leads the engineering team and supports the product creation process and strategy at Veo Robotics. The company combines computer vision, 3D sensing and AI in an industrial setting, allowing robots and humans to work together in the manufacturing process.

5. Daniela Rus @MIT_CSAIL
Director, MIT CSAIL

In 2012 Rus was named the first female director of MIT’s CSAIL. She first joined the university in 2003, when she became an Professor of EECS. In 2005 she then became co-director of CSAIL’s Center for Robotics, and also served as associate director of CSAIL from 2008 to 2011. Rus also serves as the Director of the Toyota-CSAIL Joint Research Center. Her main research interests lie in robotics, AI and data science. She is the recipient of numerous awards, most recently the  Pioneer in Robotics and Automation Award, IEEE Robotics and Automation Society, 2018.

6. Danielle Dean @danielleodean
Principle Data Scientist Lead, AI & R, Microsoft

Dean is currently working in the Artificial Intelligence and Research division at Microsoft, where she leads a team of data scientists and engineers to build predictive analytics and machine learning solutions with external companies. Prior to this, Dean was a data scientist at Nokia after completing her PhD in quantitative psychology.

7. Elif Yamangil @Google
Software engineer, Google Brain

In 2011 Yamangil was a PhD candidate in Computer Science at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Her work there was recognised, and she was awarded the Google Fellowship in Natural Language Processing. She is now a Software Engineer at Google, continuing to focus on NLP, as well as a part time faculty member in the Computer Science Department of Tufts University.

8. Francesca Dominici @francescadomin8
Professor of Biostatistics, Harvard School of Public Health

As well as holding the position of Professor of Biostatistics at the Harvard School of Public Health, Dominici is also the the Co-Director of the Data Science Initiative at Harvard University. The initiative aims to integrate the data science community, allowing collaborations and research across departments. Dominica has received multiple awards for her efforts in promoting diversity in academia, including the Jane L. Norwood Award for Outstanding Achievement by a Woman in the Statistical Sciences.

9. Holly Yanco @MITREcorp
Principle AI Engineer, MITRE

Yanco has 2 decades of experience, focusing her expertise of research in human-robot interaction. As well as holding the position of Principal AI Engineer at MITRE, Yanco is also a Professor in the Computer Science Department at UMass Lowell, having joined the faculty in July 2001. During this time she has founded the Robotics Lab and co-developed the Artbotics program.

10. Iya Khalil @IyaKhalil
Chief Commercial Officer, Executive Vice President and Co-founder, GNS Healthcare

Khalil is a technology entrepreneur, currently providing her expertise in the healthcare industry with GNS Healthcare. The company uses machine learning to help make precision medicine a reality. As well as co-founding GNS Healthcare, Khalil also co-founded Via Science, which uses AI and Blockchain in the energy industry.  

11. Jennifer Chayes @jenniferchayes
Managing Director, Microsoft Research

Since joining Microsoft Research in 1997, Chayes has co-founded the Theory group, was Research Area Manager for Mathematics, Theoretical Computer Science, and Cryptography at Microsoft Research Redmond, and has co-founded 2 Microsoft laboratories. She has also won numerous awards for her leadership, and is the co-inventor of around 30 patents.

12. Julia Kroll @alexadevs
Language Data Engineer, Amazon Alexa Machine Learning

Since joining Amazon Alexa in 2017, Kroll has been working in the team helping alexa become multilingual. Prior to this Kroll was the Software Engineer for Hubspot.

13. Katie Rae @ktrae
CEO and Managing Partner, The Engine

Launched by MIT in 2016, The Engine is a startup accelerator, investing in and supporting “tough tech” companies working in fields including robotics, IOT and of course, AI. Rae is able to bring vast amounts of experience to the accelerator, having co-founded pre-seed venture fund Project 11 and serving as Managing Director of Techstars Boston, both of which supporting tech companies.

14. Margaret Olson @CogitoCorp
SVP Engineering, Cogito Corp

As well as serving as SVP Engineering for AI company Cogito Corp, Olsen is also CTO for software startup Nix86. Olsen has held various leadership positions within software companies, including co-founding Plum, which was later acquired by Nokia in 2009.

15. Marzyeh Ghassemi @MarzyehGhassemi
PhD Student, MIT CSAIL

Ghassemi is a PhD student at MIT CSAIL supervised by Dr. Peter Szolovits, and also a visiting researcher with Google’s Verily. Her research focuses on machine learning with clinical data to predict and stratify relevant human risks, encompassing unsupervised learning, supervised learning, structured prediction.. While at MIT, Marzyeh co-organized the NIPS 2016 Machine Learning for Healthcare (ML4HC) workshop, and her work has appeared in KDD, AAAI, IEEE TBME, MLHC, JAMIA, and AMIA-CRI. Ghassemi spoke about her work at the RE•WORK 2015 Deep Learning in Healthcare Summit

16. Piali De @pialide ‏
Co-Founder and CEO, Senscio Systems, Inc.

Since completing her PhD in Physics in 1987, Dr. Piali De has used her expertise in defence and security with technology company Raytheon; and in healthcare, having founded Sensico Systems. Throughout her career, De has developed artificial intelligence systems for the United States defense departments, and received patents for her artificial intelligence technology in both healthcare and defence.

17. Polina Golland @MIT_CSAIL
Professor, MIT CSAIL

Golland received her PhD from MIT and her Bachelor and Masters degree from Technion, Israel. Polina's primary research interest is in developing novel techniques for medical image analysis and understanding. She has served as an associate editor of the IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging and of the IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence. You can listen to her speak about her latest work at the Deep Learning in Healthcare Summit this May!

18. Regina Barzilay @MIT_CSAIL
Professor, MIT CSAIL

Barzilay is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a member of MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. In 2017 she was awarded a MacArther Fellowship, also known as a “genius grant”. Barzilay’s main area of expertise lie with natural language processing and machine learning, and she has also been awarded for her teaching in the subjects.

19. Rudina Seseri @rudina11 ‏
Founder and Managing Partner, Glasswing Ventures

Sesseri has 15 years of experience leading technology investments, investing in some of the biggest AI companies in Boston. Prior to funding Glasswing Ventures, Sesseri joined The Harvard Business School as Entrepreneur in Residence, and has been appointed for her fourth consecutive year. Sesseri has also written articles and spoken on podcasts talking about various topics surrounding AI. In 2017 she spoke at the RE•WORK Deep Learning Summit in Boston.

20. Sampriti Bhattacharyya @sampreetibh
Founder, Hydroswarm

Bhattacharyya is the founder of Hydroswarm, a startup which combines AI and robotics to create underwater drone intelligence, with the aims of making the oceans safer, as well as placing a focus on conservation, sustainability and preservation. In 2016 the PhD scholar appeared on 2016 Forbes 30 under 30 in manufacturing for her work into the field. Bhattacharyya spoke at the 2017 RE•WORK Deep Learning Summit in Boston.

21. Sarah Hodges @hodges
Co-Founder, Intelligent.ly

In 2012 Hodges co-founded Intelligent.ly, a leadership development company with programs for manager, companies and individual contributors. Over 50 Boston based companies have partnered with the business, including various companies using AI, including HubSpot, TripAdvisor and Kayak. Hodges is also a partner in Pillar VC, an early stage venture firm which invests in various technologies, including, machine learning and blockchain.

22. Sunanda Parthasarathy @sunandakp
Associate Director of Algorithms/Data Science, Wayfair

In 2017 Parthasarathy joined Wayfair, where she leads a team of data scientist and engineers to build machine learning solutions to ensure better shopping experiences for its customers. With a background in Physics, Parthasarathy uses her years of mathematical training to extract quantitative insights from data.

23. Vijetha Vemulapalli @BergHealth
Associate Director of Digital Health, BERG Health

Vemulapalli began her career at BERG Health in 2012, beginning her career there as a Scientist in Informatics. BERG is a biopharma company that combines “patient biology and artificial intelligence-based analytics.” Vemulapalli spoke at the RE•WORK 2017 Deep Learning in Healthcare Summit in Boston about her work at BERG to advance medical research and create efficiencies in the healthcare system by using artificial intelligence based techniques over electronic medical data.

24. Wen Dombrowski @HealthcareWen
Chief Convergence Officer, CATALAIZE

As the founding principle of consultancy agency CATALAIZE, Dombrowski has helped advise and connect numerous technology companies, including those in areas of AI, Augmented Reality and the Internet of Things. Dombrowski alaso advices on emerging technology trends and identifies technology gaps in the market.

25. Yuanli Pei @Kensho ‏
Data Scientist, Kensho Technologies

Kensho describes itself as a “data analytics and machine intelligence company”, and has been included in various AI and Fintech lists, including Forbes’ FIntech 50. Kensho has a large team behind the success, including Pei, who was previously a Research Assistant in Oregon State University, focusing on machine learning and data mining.

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If you’d like to hear from leading women who are helping advance AI, be sure to subscribe to the RE•WORK Women in AI Podcast. Previous guests include experts from Facebook, McGill University, LinkedIn who have discussed a range of topics including psychologically aware AI, personalised healthcare and the commercialisation of deep learning.

Additionally, we host a series of Women in AI Dinners; these events are open to both men and women for an evening of networking and discussions surrounding some of the key areas of the rapidly advancing technology, supporting women in the industry. We are currently hosting the dinners in San Francisco, London, New York and Toronto. 

Don’t forget to sign up for the Deep Learning Summit & Deep Learning in Healthcare Summit in Boston! Join us on the 24 -25 May to hear from Netflix, MIT CSAIL, Google Brain, Amazon, Stanford University and more!

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