About Tapia Conference

The CMD-IT/ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference is the premier venue to acknowledge, promote and celebrate diversity in computing.

The goal of the Tapia Conference is to bring together undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, researchers, and professionals in computing from all backgrounds and ethnicities to:

Celebrate the diversity that exists in computing

Connect with others with common backgrounds, ethnicities, disabilities, and gender to create communities that extend beyond the conference

Engage with computing leaders in academia, industry, and government labs

Be inspired by great presentations and conversations with leaders with common backgrounds

The Tapia Conference brings together CMD-IT’s target communities:

African Americans / Blacks

Native Americans / Indigenous People

Hispanics / Latinxs

People with Disabilities

The Tapia Conference includes the following key components:

Panels and Workshops

The conference's panels and workshops cover current technical topics, such as AI, quantum computing, and cybersecurity as well as topics related to broadening participation in computing and professional development for diverse communities

Industry Leadership and Networking Workshop

An opportunity for attendees to learn leadership skills and to be prepared to apply these skills immediately to advance their careers

CMD-IT Student Professional Development Workshop

A safe space for undergraduate and masters students to ask questions about resume writing and effective interview skills, receive valuable feedback on resumes and gain insights from industry and government professionals

Student Poster/ACM Student Research Competition (SRC)

Presentations where undergraduate and graduate students present their latest research results

Doctoral Consortium

Presentations where PhD students discuss their research plan with a panel of established researchers


For students at U.S. universities and faculty at Minority Serving Institutions

Career Fair

A career fair with industry, government, academic and nonprofit supporters

Tapia Conference:  How It Began

In the 1990s, there were several discussions about having a conference focused on diversity.  At that time, in tech there was the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference, organized by Anita Borg and Telle Whitney.  In 2000, Valerie Taylor, Bryant York, Richard Alo and a few other computing professionals strategized about launching a conference focused on diversity, modeled after the Grace Hopper Conference; they had close ties with Anita Borg and Telle Whitney.   The group brainstormed and agreed that the event’s title should emphasize the “Celebration of Diversity in Computing” aspect to celebrate the current diversity as well as advocate for increased diversity in tech.

During this strategy meeting, it was agreed to name the conference after Richard Tapia, because of his strong record of accomplishments in the sectors of science and diversity.  This meeting was held in Chicago as part of a leadership meeting for the Coalition to Diversity Computing (CDC), which was a joint organization of ACM, CRA, and IEEE-CS.    CDC merged with CMD-IT in 2016, at the request of the CDC leadership.

The first Tapia Conference was held October 18-20, 2001 in Houston, Texas with 164 attendees.  Valerie Taylor and Richard Alo served as the first General Co-Chairs with significant involvement from Bryant York, Ann Redelfs, Theresa Chatman, and Cynthia Lanius.  The conference has grown to include thousands of diverse attendees, with strong engagement from academia, industry, and government labs.

Tapia Conference:  Now

The Tapia Conference provides an opportunity for attendees to hear about current topics in tech, learn about effective strategies for success in professional careers from diverse perspectives, pursue career opportunities in tech, seek opportunities for graduate studies, and work together to increase diversity in computing.