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Why IT Needs to Start Talking about Inclusion

Wednesday, 25 May 2016


Computer science assistant professor Dr Kyla McMullen and Docker founder Solomon Hykes called for more “inclusive” attitudes to computing to attract more newcomers to the profession.

Delivering separate keynotes at OSCON, the annual open source conference, Hykes – who is responsible for the hot Linux container start-up Docker – prefaced his talk by saying he thought “open source could be a much more inclusive and welcoming place”.

“I think we could do a lot to make people feel more welcome that don’t fit the traditional mould of the hardcore, open source kernel hacker that’s been doing it since the 80s,” he said.

Dr McMullen – who is the first underrepresented woman to earn a PhD in computer science and engineering from the University of Michigan – meanwhile expanded the call for inclusion to cut “across all computer science disciplines.

“One message that’s implicitly being told to kids is 1) all scientists are he and then 2) that they have undesirable [physical and social] traits,” she said.

“We really need to think about reshaping what computing and coding looks like so people are encouraged to do this and they can see themselves in it.”

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