My experience at the Microsoft Codess Event in London!

Guest post by Raluca Georgescu. Please find her full post & follow her blog here.

Where do I begin? This was an amazing event!! From beginning, until the very end, I enjoyed every second of the evening. So, huge congrats to the organisers!

Codess is Microsoft’s global community for female coders. They organise events around all major Microsoft campuses, allowing women in this industry to network and find inspiration. Last week’s event was entitled Future Technology and had 3 incredible speakers. Each talk was literally mind-blowing and it covered exactly the topics I am most interested in at the moment. Chance, luck? Who knows?

Haiyan Zhang, innovation director at Microsoft’s Research campus in Cambridge spoke about the amazing progress made on treating cancer. I was fascinated by the talk and it made me feel overall much much more optimistic about the future. It’s unbelievable to think that programming will be able to help us find a cure for cancer. Just mind-blowing! The video she presented explained how a cell can identify itself as a cancer cell and start destructing automatically.

Then Bunmi Durowoju, senior business development manager at Microsoft, spoke about my absolute favourite topic. Connecting the 4.5 bln. unconnected people. She spoke about the unused TV white space (UTWS), explained in more detail on the in their post from 2012 and on the Microsoft Whitespaces page. This is an amazing way of delivering broadband and has already been implemented in countries such as Jamaica, Namibia, Tanzania or the Philippines.

The last talk came from Maria Rakusanova, virtual reality lead and senior product marketing manager at Samsung. She talked about Samsung’s latest developments in regards to virtual reality and their Gear VR, powered by Oculus. What amazed me about it is the sheer number of applications it can have. One example that I am sure applies to a lot of us is allowing people to practice public speaking. With a virtual reality of a huge audience in front of you, it brings preparing for presentations to a whole another level! More useful applications, however, include educational experiences, created, for example, to allow medical students to attend live surgeries via virtual reality. The other industries where it finds good applications are numerous and diverse. For movies, entertainment or fashion, they can film concerts or events, using the Samsung Gear 360, a camera that enables anyone film their own VR experiences (a competitor to GoPro’s 180 degree view). While at the event, Maria allowed us to test the Gear VR and I managed to “sit” in the next room with Elliot from Mr. Robot. Great experience!

Overall it was an amazing evening, complemented by amazing people!

I am really looking forward to their next Codess event and I plan on doing more research on Microsoft Research’s progress on programming the DNA, as well as the whitespace spectrum technology. This is real technological progress in areas that really need our full attention at the moment. I can reduce them to simply – treating cancer and empowering developing countries.