Irene Greif

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Greif in 2009

Irene Greif is an American computer scientist and a founder of the field of Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW).[1] She was the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Greif's mother was an accountant,[2] and a native of New York City.[3] Greif has at least one sibling, a sister.[4] She attended Hunter College High School before earning her undergraduate and graduate degrees from MIT. In 1975, Greif became the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in computer science from MIT;[2][5] in her dissertation of that year, she published the first operational actor model.[6]

She was a professor of computer science at the University of Washington before returning to MIT as a professor of electrical engineering and computer science (1977–87). In 1984, Greif and Paul Cashman coined the term "Computer Supported Cooperative" and the initials, CSCW, at an interdisciplinary workshop in Cambridge, Massachusetts.[7][8] Preferring research over teaching,[2] she left academia in 1987 to join Lotus, where she directed its Product Design Group,[9] and created the Lotus Research group in 1992.[10] After Lotus was acquired by IBM, she became an IBM Fellow and served as director of collaborative user experience in the company's Thomas J. Watson Research Center.[5][11] Greif is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM); she is also a member of the National Academy of Engineering. Her awards include Women in Technology International Hall of Fame inductee (2000), Women Entrepreneurs in Science and Technology Leadership Award (2008), and ABIE Award for Technical Leadership from the Anita Borg Institute (2012).[12][13][14]

Now living in Newton Centre, Massachusetts, Greif retired from IBM in 2013.[2] She is married to Albert R. Meyer, the Hitachi America Professor of Computer Science at MIT. Greif, who is Jewish,[15] has a son and daughter, as well as two step-children.[16]

Selected works[edit]

  • 1975, Semantics of communicating parallel processes
  • 1980, Programs for distributed computing : the calendar application
  • 1982, Cooperative office work, teleconferencing and calendar management : a collection of papers
  • 1983, Software for the 'roles' people play
  • 1988, Computer-supported cooperative work : a book of readings


  1. ^ "Dr. Irene Greif IBM Fellow, Director of Collaborative User Experience Group, IBM Research". WITI – Women in Technology International. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d Rosen, Rebecca J. (5 March 2014). "The First Woman to Get a Ph.D. in Computer Science From MIT – Irene Greif talks to The Atlantic about her life and legacy". The Atlantic. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  3. ^ "Lotus' Irene Greif: "We Need to Do More for Technical Women"". Business Week. 20 June 2000. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  4. ^ Lasewicz, Paul (28 July 2003). "IBM Women in Technology: Irene Grief" (PDF). p. 22. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  5. ^ a b McCluskey, Eileen. "Irene Greif '69, SM '72, PhD '75 Knitting Together Computers and People". MIT. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  6. ^ Zenil, Hector (2013). A Computable Universe: Understanding and Exploring Nature as Computation. World Scientific. p. 165. ISBN 978-981-4374-29-3.
  7. ^ Schäl, Thomas (1 January 1998). Workflow Management Systems for Process Organisations. Springer. pp. 72–. ISBN 978-3-540-65304-2.
  8. ^ Baecker, Ronald M. (1993). Readings in Groupware and Computer-supported Cooperative Work: Assisting Human-human Collaboration. Morgan Kaufmann. p. 5. ISBN 978-1-55860-241-0.
  9. ^ "Irene Greif". IMB. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  10. ^ Morse, Merry (19 November 2013). "IBM Fellow Irene Greif Retires – A Pioneer in Building Workplaces that Work". IBM Research Center for Social Business. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
  11. ^ Twentyman, Jessica (13 May 2009). "IT role model: People must be the centre of technology". Financial Times. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  12. ^ "News Senior Technical Woman Profile: Irene Greif, IBM Fellow and Chief Scientist for Social Business, IBM". Anita Borg Institute. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  13. ^ "Irene Greif -". 2012-10-01.
  14. ^ "Abie Awards -".
  15. ^ Weinberg, Sarah (17 March 2014). "Living by Their Own Codes". Jewish Women's Archive. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  16. ^ McCluskey, Eileen (20 October 2008). "Irene Greif '69, SM '72, PhD '75 Knitting together computers and people". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved 19 April 2014.

External links[edit]