14th Annual CSL Student Conference a success
The CSL Student Conference has been a mecca for CSL’s graduate students for the last 14 years, and this year was no different. The conference, put on by students for students, gives many their first involvement in planning or presenting at a conference, an important experience.
“Attending and presenting at conferences are not trivial things,” said Charbel Sakr, co-chair for the conference and a CSL graduate student in electrical and computer engineering. “Sharing what you do with others is very important, and if we can put that together, even on a small scale, it’s very useful.”
Nearly 500 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign engineering students took part in the conference, attending keynote presentations from leading researchers, industry workshops, student presentations, a graduate student-specific career fair, a poster session, and a robotics demonstration. Also new this year was a popular Women in Engineering breakfast on the final day of the conference. In addition to Illinois students, 15 other institutions were represented by their own researchers and students at the conference.
Gregory Canal of Georgia Tech shared his research, “Informative original querying for similarity embedding, constructing, and search,” during the poster session. He was using the conference as a way to network.
“The conference has been a good opportunity to meet professors and students and make connections,” Canal said. “I’ve enjoyed it so far.”
Also looking to make connections at the conference were business representatives from 11 industry partners.
One of the representatives was Chad Webb from 3M. He took full advantage of the conference by hosting an industry workshop, having a booth at the career fair and attending the various networking receptions throughout the three-day event.
“We’re classically a materials company that is known for hiring chemistry and materials students, but lately a large portion of our hires have been graduate students with artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science expertise,” said Webb. “We don’t have as much name recognition among these students and we want to change that.”
While the attendees at this conference have barely had a chance to comb over all the material they had access to, the organizers have already begun planning for next year.
“It’s a great format and an excellent opportunity for people to participate and attend,” said Sakr. “If we can keep it up year in and year out I think it will be great.”