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The Women@SOCS Committee

The Women@SOCS Committee consists of women faculty within the School of Computer Science.

  • Laurie Hendren joined McGill in 1990 after completing her B.Sc.(Honours) and M.Sc. degreee at Queen's University and her Ph.D. degree at Cornell University. Her first large research project at McGill was the McCAT optimizing/parallelizing C compiler which had a particular focus on structured intermediate representations and pointer analysis. Her current research groups concentrate on compilers and tools for Java ( and most recently she has starting working on compilers and language extensions for an aspect-oriented language, AspectJ, which is joint work with Oxford (
    She is currently the chair of the Chair of the Work Group on Women Professors' Academic Careers and Associate Dean (Academic) in the Faculty of Science.

  • Bettina Kemme joined McGill in 2000 after completing her Bachelor/M.Sc. at the Friedrich-Alexander University in Erlangen, Germany, and her Ph.D. at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland. During her studies, she spent a year at the University of Seville, Spain, and at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her general research interests lie in the design and development of distributed information systems with a special emphasis on data consistency. Some of her recent research projects look at adaptability issues in multi-tier architectures. The idea is to replicate the various components in such an architecture to achieve fault-tolerance and scalability. If one replica fails, others can take over the load, load is distributed among the replicas and by adding new replicas the system can handle more load. However, coordinating the replicas of one tier, and coordinating the different tiers in such an environment requires sophisticated replica control mechanisms. Bettina Kemme is also interested in XML data management, in particular, concurrency control issues, and in data management support for massively multiplayer games.

  • Brigitte Pientka joined the School of Computer Science as an Assistant Professor in 2003 after completing her PhD in Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. Prior to her studies at Carnegie Mellon, she has studied and worked at the Technical University of Darmstadt (Germany), University of Edinburgh (Scotland), and Cornell University (USA). Her research area is verification and foundations of programming languages. Her principal research interest lies in developing a theoretical and practical foundation for building and reasoning about reliable software. To achieve this goal, she combines theoretical research in programming languages and verification with system building and real-world experiments. In particular, she applies techniques from logic, type theory, and automated deduction to find rigorous solutions to problems exposed in practice.
    Brigitte Pientka has been one of the founding members of Women@SCS at Carnegie Mellon University, and is now the chair of Women@SOCS at McGill University. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, hiking and reading mysteries.

  • Joelle Pineau has been an Assistant Professor at the School of Computer Science since 2004. She has a PhD in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University, and a B.Sc. in Systems Design Engineering from the University of Waterloo. Her research is motivated by the desire to build robust intelligent autonomous systems. She is actively involved in finding new algorithmic solutions for problems of decision-making under uncertainty, and is interested in implementing these algorithms in the context of real-world robotic and medical systems.

  • Doina Precup joined the School of Computer Science in 2000, after completing her undergraduate degree in Computer Science and Engineering at the Technical University Cluj-Napoca, Romania, and her MS and PhD degrees at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Her main research interests are in the area of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Doina is especially interested in finding computational methods by which an agent can learn from interaction with an environment, rather than by being told what it should do. Hence, most of her research is in the field of reinforcement learning. At the moment, she is the Undergraduate program director.

  • Sue Whitesides joined the School of Computer Science in 1983, and she now serves as its Director. After completing an M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering at Stanford in 1969, where she was secretary of the IEEE, she worked as an engineer in the machine tool industry, then continued graduate studies in Mathematics. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin Madison in 1975, completing a thesis on finite projective planes. She then joined the Department of Mathematics at Tufts University, where she inaugurated the local chapter of the Society for Women in Engineering and served as its first faculty sponsor. Later she joined the Mathematics Department at Dartmouth College, where she was a professor for a number of years before arriving at McGill in 1983. Her research interests lie in computational and discrete geometry,the design of algorithms, and theoretical computer science. She is particularly interested in graph drawing and layout problems, algorithmic motion planning, and applications of geometry to computer graphics and animation. She enjoys interacting with researchers in other fields, including brain imaging, mechanical engineering, chemistry, biology, sociology, and archeology. In the old days, before becoming Director in 2005, she enjoyed playing violin, and she looks forward to more of that soon.