Girl Geek X

Girl Geek X

Bay Area Girl Geek Dinner #7: Sponsored by Yahoo!

Bay Area Girl Geek Dinner #7 will be hosted by Yahoo! on Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010 from 5:15pm to 8:30pm at Yahoo! HQ in Sunnyvale, CA. Event is FREE.

» Free RSVP for the Yahoo! Girl Geek Dinner here. All registered attendees will receive a free Yahoo! “Code like a Girl” shirt and sticker at the event.

Join us for a night of technology, great food and conversation at Yahoo! Bay Area Girl Geek Dinner on Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010 (5:15pm – 8:30pm) at Yahoo!’s headquarters in Sunnyvale, CA! Learn about what’s going on at Yahoo! and network with other girl geeks, including those responsible for designing and building cool Yahoo! products. Yahoo! Americas EVP Hilary Schneider will be the keynote speaker, and presentations on Yahoo Query Language (YQL), YUI, web performance, innovation at scale, infinite browse system, accessibility, Search Pad, and Sherpa will be delivered by Yahoo! girl geeks throughout the evening.

Schedule of events:

5:15pm – 6:00pm: Registration, heavy appetizers & drinks, networking
6:15pm – 6:30pm: Keynote by Hilary Schneider (Yahoo! Americas EVP)
6:30pm – 6:45pm: Innovation at Scale by Cheryl Ainoa (SVP Global Service Engineering)
6:45pm – 8:30pm: Demos and more networking over appetizers & drinks (8:00pm – Ipad Giveaway!)

About our featured girl geeks:

Hilary Schneider is Executive Vice President, Americas Region at Yahoo!. Hilary is responsible for Yahoo!’s North, Central and South American business including advertising sales, partnerships and programming. Hilary reports directly to Yahoo!’s CEO Carol Bartz. Hilary, who joined Yahoo in 2006, previously led the company’s U.S. region, Global Partner Solutions and Local Markets and Commerce divisions. Prior to Yahoo!, Hilary held senior leadership roles at Knight Ridder, Inc. where she was CEO of Knight Ridder Digital. Before Knight Ridder, Hilary served as President and CEO of Red Herring Communications, overseeing Red Herring Magazine, and Red Herring’s events unit. Hilary currently serves as a director of Vail Resorts, Inc. Hilary holds a B.A. in economics from Brown University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

Yahoo Query Language (YQL) talk description: The Yahoo! Query Language is an expressive SQL-like language that lets you query, filter and join data across Web services. With YQL, apps run faster with fewer lines of code and a smaller network footprint. Yahoo! and other websites across the Internet make much of their structured data available to developers, primarily through Web services. To access and query these services, developers traditionally endure the pain of locating the right URLs and documentation to access and query each Web service. With YQL, developers can access and shape data across the Internet through one simple language, eliminating the need to learn how to call different APIs.

Brenda Okane is Director of Technology in Yahoo! Open Strategy (YOS), the group responsible for the building blocks of Yahoo!’s Social products. Previously, she helped lead Yahoo! into the Connected TV market, an area where she holds many patents. Brenda was also Vice President of Engineering at Mixercast, a startup focused on building a solution for widget distribution on social networks. Brenda has a degree in Computer Science from the University of San Francisco.

Aurora Skarra Gallagher is a Senior Software Engineer in the Yahoo! Open Strategy (YOS) Advanced Products Team, which develops prototypes and algorithmic and machine-learning-based features for the YOS platform teams. Her focus is on Software Security and Hadoop Grid Computing. Aurora has a B.S. and M.S in Computer Science from CSU Dominguez Hills and CSU Long Beach, respectively.

YUI talk description: The YUI Library is a set of utilities and controls written with JavaScript and CSS for building richly interactive web applications using techniques such as DOM scripting, DHTML and AJAX. YUI is available under a BSD license and is free for all uses. YUI is proven, scalable, fast and robust. Built by frontend engineers at Yahoo! and contributors from around the world, it’s an industrial-strength JavaScript library for professionals who love JavaScript.

Jenny Han Donnelly is a Senior Engineer on the YUI team at Yahoo!. As a component author for the popular open-source library, she focuses on making her products usable for end-users and developers alike. Additionally, she enjoys teaching YUI to developers all over the world, editing the YUI blog, and organizing the annual YUIConf developer summit.

Web Performance talk description: Performance – Do you have it in you? Today, 57% of online consumers will abandon a site after waiting 3 seconds for a page to load [Source:]. For Yahoo!, every 0.4 seconds improvement in page-load speed means a 9% increase in traffic [Source: Yahoo!]. For Amazon, every 0.1 seconds faster in page-load speed leads to a 1% increase in revenue [Source: Amazon]. In other words, when it comes to Web performance, every fraction of a second counts. Join us to learn more about Web Performance Optimization (WPO) and discover: (1.) The top 5 reasons why web giants care about site performance (2.) Three easy steps to speed up your site instantly (3.) How to decode how your site performs in less than ten seconds

Antonia Kwok is a software engineer at Yahoo!. She currently works in the Abuse and Content Moderation team at Yahoo!, where she oversees and moderates user-generated content. Previously, Antonia was the primary developer of YSlow 2.0, which analyzes web pages and suggests ways to improve their performance based on a set of rules for high performance web pages. She has also taught internal web page performance classes at Yahoo!.

Betty Tso is a software engineer at Yahoo!. With a background in Computer Science, Betty’s love for the engineering field runs deep. She has spent the past few years working on high traffic sites in Yahoo! Media (Finance, Movies, Shine, etc), leading the effort in front-end engineering management and site performance-improvement projects. Betty has recently joined the Y! Exceptional Performance team, becoming an evangelist as well as the new engineering owner for YSlow, which analyzes web pages and suggests ways to improve their performance based on a set of rules for high performance web pages.

Innovation at Scale talk description: Yahoo! serves nearly 600 million unique users globally, reaching almost half the online global population. Achieving that level of ubiquity in people’s online lives introduces a whole new set of challenges. Scale requires optimal performance across geographic boundaries, creates mountains of data, attracts spammers and abusers, overloads commodity technology and generally just makes everything harder and more complex. To successfully operate and continuously innovate at this global scale requires robust and extensible tools. Cheryl will review two case studies where Yahoo! was able to solve problems of scale efficiently by using tools developed by Yahoo! engineers. The first case study will describe how Yahoo! used Hadoop to crunch massive amounts of data. With this technology, operations engineers where able to deliver a new spam-fighting system within weeks. The second case study will describe the use of YTS to provide optimal performance at huge scale across the globe, allowing Yahoo! to reach new markets.

Cheryl Ainoa is the SVP of Global Service Engineering for Yahoo! In this role, she leads the teams that manage all Yahoo! applications in production worldwide — ensuring scalable, highly available and high performing experiences for every Y! user. Previous to her current role, Cheryl was the VP of Engineering for Yahoo!’s Media group where she led the teams that developed and managed the #1 Media products for the world’s largest audiences. These include Yahoo’s Finance, Sports, News and Entertainment products, reaching over 70 million people worldwide. Prior to Yahoo!, Cheryl spent 15 years in positions of technical leadership at companies such as Broderbund Software,, Healtheon/WebMD, Informix Software and Impac Medical Systems. Cheryl has a B.S.E.E from Washington State University and an MBA from Santa Clara University.

Infinite Browse System talk description: The Infinite Browse System is an application solution that bridges the browsing and search experience. It finds contents relevant and interesting to the input content and the user. Its objectives are to enhance user experiences for easy access of related contents, to grow Y! Network traffic and to increase Y! Search volume. It is currently in a bucket test on Y! News and will be launched soon. Whether you are a user, developer, designer, product manager or executive interested in learning how to find relevant and interesting entities and contents, Infinite Browse is for you.

Yookyung Kim is a member of the Infinite Browse team in the Content Search Platform Group at Yahoo!. Since joining Yahoo! in 2007 as Linguistics Lead on the Linguistics and Search Application Platform team, Yookyung has been leading many technical projects such as query language identification for QLAS, query intent detection for NextGen search, document categorization, entity selection and relevance analysis for the Infinite Browse system. Prior to Yahoo!, she was Principal Investigator of an NSF SBIR project on syntactic statistical machine translation at Fluential Inc., and developed numerous natural language processing technologies including named entity recognition, stemming, chunk parser for multiple languages. Yookyung holds 5 U.S. patents pending approval. She received her Ph.D. in Linguistics and M.S. in Computer Science from Stanford University.

Accessibility talk description: Design Angels to the rescue…. The latest case for “The Angels” involves users that might be in the dark. Accessibility for users is more than just about code. It’s about making the most of the tools we have. The Angels will guide you through the principles of design, examine test cases and introduce tools that designers can use to accommodate a range of visually impaired audiences. Will they succeed?

Cindy Li is a product designer for the Yahoo! Communications team and part of the company’s Accessibility Task Force. She’s no stranger to geek life and loves trying out new products so she can design better ones. When not in front of a computer, she’s probably in transit or dreaming of swing dancing. Her secret power: learning how to fix things.

Shannyn Timrott is a Sr. Interaction Designer for the Front Doors team at Yahoo!. Her arsenal includes product design on Buzz. She’s has also worked on My Yahoo!, Universal Header and other network components. She loves to analyze and design systems to help build better experiences for users. Her secret power: Lifting heavy weights while dreaming about 2012.

Jung Eun Kim is a global design strategist on the Front Doors team at Yahoo!. She is the resident expert on web globalization and her latest adventure is with bi-directional UI for Bidirectional languages. She constantly reminds everyone of the many languages and cultures that use Yahoo! and has a life long dream to do cultural studies on websites and food. Jung is also part of the Accessibility Task Force for the big purple Y!. Her secret power: Making tofu and eating spicy food

Search Pad talk description: Addressing users’ information needs has been one of the main goals of Web search engines since their early days. In some cases, users can’t see their needs immediately met by search results, simply because these needs are too complex and involve multiple aspects not covered by a single Web or search results page. We refer to these types of activities as “research missions.” Search Pad is a feature of Yahoo! Search that was launched in July 2009, and precisely addresses this issue. It helps users keep track of related searches and visited pages that relate to the same “research mission.” What sets Yahoo! Search Pad apart from previous search solutions is that it relies largely on attention data to automatically collect research for the user. For example, if the user is using Yahoo! to search for a used car, Search Pad will automatically appear if it notices a user clicking many related links or spending lots of time on pages related to cars. Links are automatically added to a Search Pad in such a manner that when a pad is prompted to a user, it is pre-populated with content. These features are the result of an intelligent and dynamic technology developed within Yahoo!.

Debora Donato is a scientist at Yahoo! Labs in Sunnyvale. Previously, she was a researcher at Yahoo! Research in Barcelona. She obtained a Ph.D. in Computer Engineering in 2005 from the University of Rome “La Sapienza.” She has also been a visiting scientist at the Basic Research Unit of the University of Helsinki in Finland, and at the Max Planck Institut fur Informatik in Saarbrucken, Germany. She is currently working in the Session Science group, whose primary task is modeling user search sessions with the goal of extracting useful actionable information. Her research interests include Web information retrieval, link analysis, implicit and explicit user behavior, algorithms for the characterization of the Web, complex networks, social networks and P2P networks.

Sherpa talk description: Sherpa is Yahoo!’s next-generation structured-record distributed storage service that addresses the growing scalability needs of Yahoo!’s growing list of properties. Important features of Sherpa include high scalability, elastic growth, a global footprint and low-latency access from anywhere. One key difference between Sherpa and other distributed database systems is Sherpa’s support for different consistency models, allowing the application developer to manage the trade-off between consistency, availability and performance.

Priyanka Shah is a software systems developer in Yahoo!’s Cloud Computing group in Sunnyvale, where she works on the Sherpa distributed database platform. She recently graduated from Stanford University with a Master’s degree in Computer Science. In her spare time, she enjoys trying her hand at new activities like oil painting and dancing.