Mary Kenneth Keller

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Mary Kenneth Keller, B.V.M.
Bornca. 1913
Ohio, United States
DiedJanuary 10, 1985
Dubuque, Iowa, United States
ResidenceDubuque, Iowa, United States
Alma materDePaul University, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Known forBASIC
Scientific career
InstitutionsClarke University
ThesisInductive Inference on Computer Generated Patterns.

Mary Kenneth Keller, B.V.M. (1913 – 1985) was an American Roman Catholic religious sister, educator and pioneer in computer science. She was the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in computer science in the United States.[1][2][3]

Career[edit]

Keller was born in Cleveland, Ohio on December 17, 1913 to John Adam Keller and Catherine Josephine (née Sullivan) Keller.[3][4][5] She entered the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1932[6][7] and took her vows with that religious congregation in 1940.[6][8] Keller earned her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1965.[9][10][11] Her dissertation, Inductive Inference on Computer Generated Patterns,[11] focused on "constructing algorithms that performed analytic differentiation on algebraic expression, written in CDC FORTRAN 63." [12] She completed both her B.S. (Bachelor of Science) in Mathematics in 1943 and her M.S. (Master of Science) in Mathematics and Physics in 1953 from DePaul University in Chicago.

Throughout Keller's graduate studies, she was affiliated with various institutions including the University of Michigan, Purdue, and Dartmouth.[13] In 1958, Keller began working at the National Science Foundation[14] workshop in the computer science center at Dartmouth College, a male-only institution at the time, where she participated in the implementation of the BASIC programming language under John G. Kemeny and Thomas E. Kurtz.

Keller believed in the potential for computers to increase access to information and promote education.[15] After finishing her doctorate in 1965, Keller founded the computer science department at Clarke College (now Clarke University), a Catholic women's college founded by Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Dubuque, Iowa. That same year, that National Science Foundation awarded her a grant of $25,000 payable over two years for "instructional equipment for undergraduate education."[16] One of the first computer science departments at a small college, Keller directed this department for twenty years.[17][18] Clarke College now has the Keller Computer Center and Information Services, which is named after her and which provides computing and telecommunication support to Clarke College students, faculty members, and staff.[19] The college has also established the Mary Kenneth Keller Computer Science Scholarship in her honor.[20]

Keller was an advocate for the involvement of women in computing[6] and the use of computers for education. She helped to establish the Association of Small Computer Users in Education (ASCUE).[21] She went on to write four books in the field.[22] At the ACM/SIGUCC User Services Conference in 1975, Keller declared "we have not fully used a computer as the greatest interdisciplinary tool that has been invented to date."[23]

Keller died on January 10, 1985, at the age of 71.[21]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Keller, Mary Kenneth (1965). Inductive inference on computer generated patterns. Madison, Wisconsin: The University of Wisconsin. (Doctoral Dissertation)
  • Computer graphics and applications of matrix methods : three dimensional computer graphics and projections by Mary K Keller; Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications (U.S.); Undergraduate Mathematics and Its Applications Project (U.S.) Lexington, MA : COMAP/UMAP, 1983. U106, U110.[24]
  • Electrical circuits and Applications of matrix methods : analysis of linear circuits Mary K Keller; Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications (U.S.); Undergraduate Mathematics and Its Applications Project (U.S.), 1978. U108.[25]
  • Food service management and Applications of matrix methods : food service and dietary requirements by Mary K Keller; Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications (U.S.); Undergraduate Mathematics and Its Applications Project (U.S.) Lexington, MA : COMAP/UMAP, 1983. U105, U109.[26]
  • Markov chains and applications of matrix methods : fixed point and absorbing Markov chains by Mary K Keller; Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications (U.S.); Undergraduate Mathematics and Its Applications Project (U.S.) Lexington, MA : COMAP/UMAP, 1983. U107, U111.[27]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Wisconsin State Journal, June 8, 1965".
  2. ^ "Capital Times". Retrieved September 19, 2015.
  3. ^ a b Gurer, Denise (January 1995). "Pioneering Women in Computer Science". Communications of the ACM. 38 (1): 45–54. doi:10.1145/204865.204875.
  4. ^ "John Charles Sullivan Family Tree". via Ancestry.com. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  5. ^ "Sr. Mary Kenneth Keller". via FindAGrave.com. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  6. ^ a b c Gürer, Denise (June 2002). "Pioneering Women in Computer Science" (PDF). Communications of the ACM. 38 (1): 45–54. doi:10.1145/204865.204875.
  7. ^ Crezo, Adrienne (October 14, 2013). "First Female Ph.D. in Computer Science Was a Nun". Real Clear Science. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  8. ^ "CS Prof From Iowa Was a 'Heroine of Computing' -- and a Nun". May 25, 2014.
  9. ^ London, Ralph L. (15 January 2013). "Who Earned First Computer Science Ph.D.?". Communications of the ACM (blog). Retrieved 1 August 2014.
  10. ^ Steel, Martha Vickers (11 December 2011), Women in computing: experiences and contributions within the emerging computing industry (PDF) (CSIS 550 History of Computing – Research Paper), archived from the original (PDF) on 23 November 2011, retrieved 1 August 2014
  11. ^ a b "UW-Madison Computer Science Ph.D.s Awarded, May 1965 - August 1970". Department of Computer Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Retrieved 2015-08-28., PhDs granted at UW-Madison Computer Sciences Department.
  12. ^ "The Ada Project". www.women.cs.cmu.edu. Retrieved 2017-11-18.
  13. ^ Gurer, Denise (January 1995). "Pioneering women in computer science". Communications of the ACM. 38 (1): 45–54. doi:10.1145/204865.204875.
  14. ^ "Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary - BVM News". www.bvmcong.org. Retrieved 2015-10-14.
  15. ^ "Sister Mary Kenneth Keller". The Ada Project: Pioneering Women in Computing Technology. Retrieved 2014-11-09.
  16. ^ National Science Foundation (1965). Grants and Awards for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1965. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office. p. 98.
  17. ^ About - National Women's History Museum - NWHM Archived 2012-05-10 at the Wayback Machine.
  18. ^ Dorn, Philip H. (April 1986). "Sister Mary Kenneth Keller". Annals of the History of Computing. 8 (2): 194.
  19. ^ Computer Center : Clarke University
  20. ^ Mary Kenneth Keller Computer Science Scholarship - Clarke University Scholarships
  21. ^ a b "Brief Obituary for Sister Mary Kenneth Keller". Annals of the History of Computing. 8 (2): 194. 1986. doi:10.1109/MAHC.1986.10042. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  22. ^ Keller, Mary Kenneth - Encyclopedia Dubuque
  23. ^ Keller, Sister Mary Kenneth (December 1975). "The role of the university computer center in educational research (with remote hope)". ACM SIGUCCS Newsletter. 5 (4).
  24. ^ "Computer Graphics and Applications of Matrix Methods: Three Dimensional Computer Graphics and Projections (UMAP) Sister Mary K. Keller". Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  25. ^ "Electrical Circuits and Applications of Matrix Methods: Analysis of Linear Circuits (UMAP) Sister Mary K. Keller". Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  26. ^ "Food Service Management and Applications of Matrix Methods: Food Service and Dietary Requirements (UMAP) Sister Mary K. Keller". Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  27. ^ "Markov Chains and Applications of Matrix Methods: Fixed Point and Absorbing Markov Chains (UMAP) Sister Mary K. Keller". Retrieved 28 March 2015.