20 amazing women in AI, Machine Learning & Data Science

For a very long time, women working in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math were unwelcome and underappreciated. Take for example the story of Katherine Johnson and her colleagues, who made remarkable contributions to the early years of NASA’s space program. The world had not even heard of her name until two years ago, when the movie, Hidden Figures, hit the screens.

Sadly, it is still a man’s world in the STEM fields, and women struggle every day to find a strong foothold in it. The disparity between the number of men and women with successful careers in STEM is unfortunately large. But is shrinking. Initiatives like Girls Who Code and Technovation are changing that equation. As well as talented individual women who have managed to make their mark in the world of data and technology.

These women are role models for the little girls who will follow in their footsteps. Because it is important for dreamers to have stories of people who inspire them. The knowledge that someone has gone through the same struggles and has managed to conquer them is comforting.

So here is a list of twenty amazing women who have excelled in the world of AI, machine learning, data science and big data. And they are but a handful of a large community of women who are nothing short of inspirational.

20 amazing women in AI, ML & data science

1. Silvia Chiappa is currently a senior research scientist at Google DeepMind. Armed with a PhD in machine learning, her research interests lie in Bayesian reasoning, graphical models, approximate inference, time-series models, deep learning and reinforcement learning. Having co-authored several papers on a range of topics, she also served as one of the editor for the book, Bayesian Time Series Models.

2. Jana Eggers is the CEO of a neuroscience inspired AI company, Nara Logics. With more than 25 years of experience in the world of technology and leadership, she has previously been a part of American Airlines, Lycos, Inuit’s corporate Innovation Lab, Los Alamos National Laboratory among several others. She is a speaker, writer, marathoner and mentor on AI and start-ups.

3. Nikita Johnson is the founder of an events organizing company called RE•WORK. Being driven by a team which is majorly made up of women, the company specializes in organizing events that brings together breakthrough technology, cutting-edge science and entrepreneurship. With a background in international development and urbanization, she went on to start the company based on her mission of marrying emerging technology with smart entrepreneurship to tackle global challenges and shape a better future.

4. Fei-Fei Li is a renowned academic in the field of computer vision, a branch of AI which focuses on teaching computers to recognize objects in images. She is the director of Stanford University’s Artificial Intelligence Lab, as well as an associate professor in the university’s Computer Science Department. Currently, Dr. Li is also the Chief Scientist of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning at Google Cloud.

5. Jia Li is another well-known researcher in the field of machine learning and AI and is the Head of R&D at of Google Cloud AI as well as the President of Google AI China Centre. Previously, she was the Head of Research at Snap Inc., the parent company of Snapchat.

6. Manuela M. Veloso is a Herbert A. Simon University professor and the Head of Machine Learning Department in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. And is regarded as an international expert on AI, robotics and machine learning. She was the co-founder and former president of the RoboCup Federation, as well as the president of Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence until 2014.

7. Cynthia Breazeal is the founder and Chief Scientist of Jibo, Inc., a company which specializes in building social robots, and a pioneer in Social Robotics and Human Robot Interaction as well. Her research focuses on developing the principles, techniques, and technologies for personal robots that are socially intelligent and can interact and communicate with people on human-centric terms. She also spends some of her time as an Associate Professor of Media Arts and Science at MIT, where she founded and directs the Personal Robots Group at the Media Lab.

8. Daphne Koller is considered a leading scientist in the field of artificial intelligence. She initiated and piloted the online education platform, Coursera, which offers online course from top universities and organizations to the general public. She was also the former Chief Computing Officer of Calico Labs, which she left earlier this year.

9. Rana el Kaliouby is regarded as the pioneer in emotional AI or emotional intelligence (EQ). A co-founder of the start-up Affectiva, she invented the emotion recognition technology, which the company uses in their mission to humanize technology with artificial emotional intelligence. Before founding Affectiva, she was a research scientist at MIT Media Lab, where she spearheaded applications for facial coding to benefit mental health, autism and other research areas.

10. Carol Reiley describes herself as an entrepreneur, roboticist and an executive. She is the co-founder and President of the AI self-driving vehicle start-up, She is an academic research graduate from John Hopkins University, and has also earlier founded Tinkerbelle Labs, consisting of low-cost DIY healthcare hacks. She has also authored a children’s book, Making a Splash, about growth mind-set.

11. Karen Matthys is the Executive Director of External Partners at Stanford’s Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering, where she develops relationships with companies and national laboratories interested in computational mathematics, data science and visualization, machine learning and high-performance computing. She is also Principal at Indigo Partners, a marketing and business strategy consulting firm, since 2001.

12. Jill Dyché has been thinking, writing, and speaking about business-IT alignment for over two decades. She is the vice president of SAS Best Practices, where she leads client strategies and market analysis in the areas of data governance, business intelligence, master data management, CRM and big data. She has also authored several well-received books, over a range of topics.

13. Megan Price is the Executive Director of the Human Rights Data Analysis Group, an organisation which leverages statistical analysis to surface evidence for use in testimony to push for action and change. Armed with a PhD in biostatistics, she designs strategies and methods for statistical analysis of human rights data for projects in a variety of locations including Guatemala, Columbia and Syria.

14. Neha Narkhede is the co-founder and Head of Engineering at Confluent. Previously an engineer at LinkedIn, she is one of the initial engineers who created the open-source software platform called Apache Kafka.

15. Carlie Idoine is the Research Director for Business Analytics and Data Science for Gartner for IT leaders. With more than 25 years of experience in both business analytics and data science, she provides a unique blend of business and industry knowledge and is leading successful efforts to bring together new technology and effective business solutions.

16. Claudia Imhoff is an internationally recognized expert on analytical CRM, business intelligence and the architecture to support these initiatives. She is the founder and President of Intelligent Solutions, Inc., a consultancy on CRM and business intelligence technologies and strategies. She is also the founder of Boulder BI Brain Trust, a consortium of independent consultants and analysts.

17. Judith Hurwitz is the President and CEO of Hurwitz & Associates, LLC., a research and consulting firm which focuses on upcoming technology big data, cloud computing, service management, software development, computing management, and security. She is considered a pioneer in anticipating technology innovation and adoption, and has authored eight books, including several in the “For Dummies” series.

18. Jen Stirrup is a well-known Business Intelligence and Data Visualization expert, author, data strategist and community advocate. She recently became a Microsoft Regional Director, and is also a SQL Server Most Valuable Professional (MVP), Director-At-Large (elect) for PASS, holding the Business Analytics Portfolio, and not to mention the founder of Data Relish Ltd.

19. Jen Underwood is the founder of Impact Analytix, LLC., an organization of integrated product research, consulting and technical marketing. She is recognized as an analytics industry expert, with over 20 years of experience in developing data warehouses, reporting, visualization and advanced analytics solutions.

20. Joanna Schloss is an expert in the Dell Center of excellence. She specializes in data and information management, drives product marketing tactics and strategy as director of product marketing at Datameer. With experience in both startup and G500 environments, Joanna has successfully launched numerous products, from business-focused analytic applications to data warehousing tools such as Business Objects Data Services.

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