Ada Lovelace Day is back on 10 October 2023!

Thanks to generous support from The Royal InstitutionStylistRedgate, The Information Lab’s Data School and dxwAda Lovelace Day Live 2023 will now go ahead on the evening of Tuesday 10 October.

The Royal Institution will be hosting ALD Live as part of their autumn program of public events, and Stylist have come on board as our media partner, providing outreach and promotional support.

“We’re delighted to be hosting this year’s Ada Lovelace event at the Royal Institution,” said Katherine Mathieson, Director of the Royal Institution. “We’re looking forward to welcoming a wide range of people on the day, in-person and online, to meet and celebrate some inspirational women working in computing and technology. It’s a perfect fit for our mission of bringing people and scientists together to celebrate their interest and passion for science. We’re a home for science and everyone is welcome.”

“When we heard that Ada Lovelace Day was under threat we wanted to help save it,” said Lisa Smosarski, Editorial Director at Stylist. “As a champion of gender equality, we had always admired the day as a truly authentic way of championing women in STEM and for showcasing the pioneering work of women like Ada. Considering women are still hugely underrepresented in this field, this day is still very important and much needed. By adding the Stylist brand network and influential audience, we’re thrilled the day will run in 2023 and for many more years to come.”

Over the next twelve months, we will be working hard to build an Ada Lovelace Day that can serve women and girls in STEM long into the future. As part of that work, we are relaunching our newsletter on Substack, where we’ll keep you up to date on Ada Lovelace Day news, as well publishing profiles of women in STEM and highlighting books and podcasts by and about women in STEM. We will also have a membership option for those who would like to support us financially, so sign up now and pledge your support. We do still need additional sponsors, so if your company wants to get involved, drop Suw Charman-Anderson a line.

We are delighted to be back and we hope you’ll join us at the Royal Institution in October for a fascinating and entertaining evening featuring seven women in STEM who will share their experiences, insights and expertise and whose stories we hope will inspire and empower the next generation.

Do you have an ecological #FieldworkFail you’d like to share?

We are looking for ecologists to share their experiences of working in the field as part of our Fieldwork short comedy film project. If you’d like to take part, you can either do so by answering some or all of the questions in the form below, or you can arrange an hour-long interview with Suw – just pick a convenient date and time via Calendly.

Introducing Fieldwork

Everything you need to know about our latest creative project.

If you’ve ever been on a science field trip, you’ll know that, in amongst the experiments and data gathering, things can go hilariously wrong. The longer you spend in the field, the more likely you are to have had animals carry off your equipment, experienced unexpected malfunctions, or seen creatures other than your target species appearing in your camera traps.

We are collecting examples of #fieldworkfails from ecologists, particularly in the UK, and listening to their experiences of working in the field to inform the development of a comedy drama. The first output will be a short film script, which Suw Charman-Anderson will be writing, but we may also use data collected as the basis for other outputs, including this newsletter.

Our aims are both to entertain and to increase awareness of ecology as a subject and as a career path. Television and film can have a powerful effect on people’s perceptions of a subject. The X-Files inspired a generation of women to become interested in science, technology, engineering and maths with what is now known as The Scully Effect. Bones encouraged women into science, as has Black Panther’s Shuri.

Can we do the same for ecology?

Our new Fieldwork newsletter

I’m going to be chronicling the entire process of writing and making the Fieldwork short film here on the ALD blog and also in a Substack newsletter. I’ll talk about my background research, possibly sharing some snippets from my interviewees, and exploring life in a field station.

I’ll also be sharing my journey into the world of comedy writing, delving into the complexities (or simplicities) of character, structure and joke writing. I dabbled in stand-up comedy many years ago, so this isn’t entirely new to me, and I’m very excited by the idea of re-finding my funny.

If you’re interested in comedy writing, then this project is very definitely for you.

I’m an ecologist! Can I take part?

Yes, you can! Just drop me a line and I’ll let you know when our online survey and interview schedule is ready.

Fieldwork is part of the International Collaboration on Mycorrhizal Ecological Traits, organised by the University of York, University of Edinburgh, Dartmouth College and Ada Lovelace Day. It is funded by the National Environment Research Council (NERC), Grant Number: NE/S008543/1.

Subscribe to Fieldwork on Substack

If you’d like to follow this project, you can subscribe to Word Count, Suw’s creative writing newsletter on Substack, a hybrid email newsletter/blog publishing service which we are using as part of our program of public outreach.
Word Count has four sections: a weekly writing newsletter, plus Essays, Fiction and Fieldwork. When you subscribe, you’ll be able to control exactly which emails you receive, so if you only want news about Fieldwork, you can unsubscribe from the other three sections.
Subscribing to a single section in Substack can be a little bit fiddly, but you only have to do it once.
  1. Visit
  2. Put your email address in the box and click Subscribe.
  3. Pick your subscription plan. A free plan is available.
  4. Skip the recommendations by clicking Maybe Later, or choose which additional newsletters look interesting to you.
  5. Select which newsletter sections you’d like to receive, eg, untick Fiction and Essays if you do not wish to receive those emails.
  6. Click Continue, then either share to Twitter or untick the box and continue.
  7. If you’re not already a Substack member, create a sign in.
  8. Visit your settings at and unselect Word Count: Mews, News & Reviews if you do not wish to receive Suw’s weekly writing newsletter.

You can also follow us on Twitter at either @suw or @iCOMET_York.

TrustyAI – an open source project looking to solve AI’s bias

Rebecca WhitworthBy Rebecca Whitworth, Manager, Software Engineering at Red Hat. 

Artificial intelligence (AI) is an exciting area of technical development. As the tools and methodologies advance, many organisations are looking to use AI to improve business efficiencies, bring innovation to customers faster, gain actionable market insights and more.

However, the rush to put AI in place without always knowing what it can be used for, or how to use it, can lead to problems with the systems and the data itself. We have heard many stories of when AI makes the “wrong” decision due to built-in biases, and in some cases, the outcome can be life or death.

This is a challenge that open source project TrustyAI – built on Red Hat OpenShift and Kogito – is looking to address.

AI gone wrong

AI is essentially a set of priorities and decisions a system has been programmed to follow. And because humans are responsible for that programming, our flaws become the system’s flaws. This happens in two main ways. One is cognitive bias that comes from the person, or people, who train the data model and build bias into the AI logic. The second problem is a lack of data, or a lack of diverse data. For example, we’ve seen cases of datasets that are dominated by white males, meaning AI trained on this data filters out anyone who doesn’t fit these characteristics.

There is a growing amount of research about the transfer of bias from humans to AI. As AI becomes more prevalent, it is being used to decide critical life moments like whether you get into college, get a mortgage, qualify for a medical operation, and even for determining a prison sentence, which makes the negative outcomes easier to spot.

The data science community is very aware of the need to stop systems perpetuating bias, and all the big tech companies are now looking at this. IBM’s AI Fairness 360, Google’s “What-If Tool” and Amazon SageMaker Clarify all go to show how significant and competitive this field has become.

Identifying the problem

If you aren’t proactively looking for bias, you may not notice if the AI you are using for hiring is selecting people based on their gender and name instead of their technical skills and experience, for example. There hasn’t been a simple and reliable way to test the balance and accuracy of an AI model, so the first time a business knows it has an issue is when it gets some negative PR or someone brings a case against it. This black box opaqueness has also become a legal risk with the advent of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), where anybody in Europe has the right to ask for their data and how it is being used.

TrustyAI is a standalone piece of software that plugs into any AI application, regardless of what environment or technology it’s running on. It introspects the system, looking at all the various inputs, and maps how these influence the outputs. That analysis is served up in easy-to-visualise charts, which make it clearer if any biases exist. The user can alter the values to see the effect of different criteria.

For example, with a rejected mortgage application, you’d expect a different outcome if the applicant had a higher credit rating or earned more money. But if TrustyAI finds that by only changing the applicant’s ethnicity or postcode you arrive at a different outcome, then it’s clear the system has bias. We call this Explainable AI — XAI for short.

TrustyAI in action

TrustyAI has been built with Kogito (an open source, end-to-end business process automation technology) and Red Hat OpenShift. So it is cloud-native and can be deployed to any system running on any environment. It is written in Java and integrates with Python, the language data scientists generally use, so a user only needs to open up a notebook and apply library functions to their datasets. There’s no reconfiguration required.

Open source has been critical to TrustyAI. Tapping into open communities has enabled us to develop at a faster pace. For example, KIE (Knowledge Is Everything), an open source community for business automation, has been a brilliant partner. Its repository hosts the TrustyAI code and its members continually perform testing, offer fixes and suggestions and share their datasets. Without this collaboration (our in-house project team is myself, three developers and one architect) progress would have been much slower.

We’re really excited about the impact that TrustyAI can have. Reputational management can make or break a business, and there’s a real clamour to mitigate the risks of AI. Understandably, businesses don’t want to slow down their adoption of AI, and TrustyAI helps give them the confidence to push forward, while also prioritising transparency and accountability.

As a project team, we are looking at how to apply TrustyAI across Red Hat’s portfolio to add strategic value — both internally and for our customers — while continuing our research on all things AI, from cognitive bias and ethics to developments in data science and algorithmic best practices.

About Red Hat

Red Hat logoRed Hat is the world’s leading provider of enterprise open source software solutions and services, using a community-powered approach to deliver reliable and high-performing Linux, hybrid cloud, container, and Kubernetes technologies. Red Hat helps customers develop cloud-native applications, integrate existing and new IT, and automate, secure, and manage complex environments. Follow Red Hat on Twitter: @RedHat

How to build a community for change

Allyson Kouao

By Allyson Kouao, Associate Solution Architect at Red Hat.

Less than two years after graduating university, Red Hat’s Allyson Kouao was shortlisted as a Rising Star by Everywoman in Tech Awards. Alongside outstanding achievements in her day job, the nomination also recognised her voluntary efforts in creating a new UK & Ireland chapter of Red Hat’s global community “Blacks United in Leadership and Diversity” (B.U.I.L.D.). Here she tells the story of how she did that, and what other budding community builders can learn.

Ada Lovelace Day (celebrated on the second Tuesday of October) is always a welcome moment to remind ourselves there is still a lot to do to leverage women working in technology. October is also Black History Month where I live in the UK. The timing may be coincidental, but it should also prompt us to look at diversity in all its guises; true progress is when we include all groups.

As a black woman working in technology, I have discovered the impact of community efforts on both fronts. By bringing people with shared and disparate interests together, progress can be made further, and faster. I started at Red Hat shortly after graduating from university. Other than being a STEM Ambassador for the university, I didn’t have much experience of outreach, so I needed to figure it out as I went along.

Here are my top tips for others looking to build a community.

See what else exists

You are never completely alone. Look around your organisation and sector to see what other communities are already out there that you can buddy with. In my case, there was already a global B.U.I.L.D. community out of the US, the first employee-led movement at Red Hat to organise around improving leadership opportunities and career pathways for black colleagues. Not only did their brand equity open doors for me; they remain a constant source of advice. We also have an active Pride community at Red Hat, and its leaders advised me on how to get the new chapter rolling.

Articulate the opportunity

Sometimes, it’s obvious a problem exists. Other times, data can help make your case. There is no shortage of diversity and inclusion research, and most large organisations are now legally required to report on their own progress. That said, some people can find numbers too abstract and easy to overlook. Nothing hits home like a real-life recount. Find these, and amplify them. For example, we ran a campaign called 14 Days to a More Knowledgeable You in which we shared daily content – through articles, podcasts and personal stories from B.U.I.L.D. members – to share personal experiences and insights on a range of topics.

Start small, build slow

Sustainable change is best done from the bottom up. So don’t rush it. Build your army of advocates, conversation by conversation. For one thing, it’ll allow you to gauge interest levels. But more importantly, people who feel marginalised may be reluctant to join formal groups.

Welcome everyone

When I first established B.U.I.L.D in the UK, I was asked: “Can I join? I’m not black.” The answer I advocate is ‘yes’, because the journey to inclusion is a team effort – not solely that of the underrepresented group – as we continuously work on empowering, supporting and becoming more knowledgeable versions of ourselves.

In B.U.I.LD. UKI, the input of our non-black colleagues has been crucial in understanding how to further our reach and influence more effectively. As a leader of a community, you need to demonstrate that same appetite to engage beyond your own group. At Red Hat, I am a member of a variety of communities, including our Neurodiversity, Pride and Women’s Leadership communities.

And then there’s the practical benefit of inclusivity; the bigger your community, the louder your voice, and the more you can do.

Balance out the heavy

Even if change is the name of the game for your community, don’t let it override enjoyment. Celebration is important too, and can be a very powerful motivation technique. Any manager will tell you that people having fun are more engaged and productive. The same goes for a community.

The social calendar at B.U.I.L.D has always been a key part of what we do. It includes film clubs, quizzes, cook-alongs and an online space where we can share music, writing, recipes… giving everyone the choice to get involved in the ways they choose to.

For those who feel isolated or lack confidence, these events and forums are often the easy introduction they need. Others may be attracted to the fun first, and the supporting context after. The key is to get the balance right. That will be unique for each community. Flexibility matters too; striking the right tone for the social and political moments of the time. Listening to your members is how you find those sweet spots.

Don’t obsess over end goals

A vision for the future is inspiring; defining an end-state can limit your creativity. For starters, end-states usually mean numbers, which can feel abstract and a bit random, especially the further to the future you look. They can also be misleading. For example, it is important to keep a close eye on organisations that parade their recruitment diversity statistics, but fail to share retention and career progress data.

Objectives can be subjective too. You might spend more time as a community defining your end goals than actually doing anything about them. The world changes pretty fast; what may be important to your community now could be superseded next year. Therefore, anchoring yourself to a set of targets may limit your freedom to move in new directions.

Overall, a community should be about creating and sharing experiences; overcoming challenges as one, advocating for each other, celebrating together, being in the moment.

Make the commercial case

Many organisations talk a good game about supporting their community groups, but some may need a prod on how to actually back that up. Workplace communities are an integral part of employee welfare, and are critical to productivity and profitability too. They should be funded and resourced to give them the best chance of making a positive difference.

If an organisation is tone deaf to their moral obligations, then there is plenty of evidence on the commercial benefits that active communities bring. Find the proof points that make your community a compelling business case, and present it like any other investment opportunity.

Be kind to yourself

If your community falls short of your expectations, that’s ok. It’s good to have expectations sometimes, so you know where to continue to develop. Even if you have decided that building a community isn’t for you, think about the new contacts you’ve made and all the transferable skills you’ll have developed; communication, marketing, project management, stakeholder relations, and leadership, to name a few.

And beyond all that, there’s the personal triumph to take away — that you are contributing and making a difference. In a world where empathy and emotional intelligence are increasingly being seen as hallmarks of future leaders, the experience will stand you in great stead.

About Red Hat

Red Hat logoRed Hat is the world’s leading provider of enterprise open source software solutions and services, using a community-powered approach to deliver reliable and high-performing Linux, hybrid cloud, container, and Kubernetes technologies. Red Hat helps customers develop cloud-native applications, integrate existing and new IT, and automate, secure, and manage complex environments. Follow Red Hat on Twitter: @RedHat