Women in computing
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Women in computing have shaped the evolution of the industry, with women among the first programmers during the early 20th century. Nevertheless, much recorded history of the field downplayed women's achievements.
In the 2000s, women have also held leadership roles in multiple tech companies, such as Meg Whitman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Marissa Mayer, President and CEO of Yahoo! from July 2012 to June 2017 and previously a long-time executive, usability leader, and key spokesperson at Google.
Ada Lovelace was the first person to publish an algorithm intended to be executed by the first modern computer, the Analytical Engine created by Charles Babbage. Because of this, she is often regarded as the first computer programmer, though this statement, as well as others about Ada's mathematical abilities and involvement with Babbage's project, has been criticized.
During the 1800s Edward Charles Pickering hired several women to work for him at Harvard. These women, called "Pickering's harem" at the time and also as the Harvard Computers, performed clerical work that the male employees and scholars considered to be tedious work at a fraction of the cost to hire a man.
Grace Hopper was the first person to create a compiler for a programming language and one of the first programmers of the Mark I computer, an electro-mechanical computer based on Analytical Engine. The regularly working programmers of the ENIAC computer in 1944, were six female mathematicians; Marlyn Meltzer, Betty Holberton, Kathleen Antonelli, Ruth Teitelbaum, Jean Bartik, and Frances Spence. Adele Goldstine was one of the teachers and trainers of the six original programmers of the ENIAC computer. Adele died of cancer in 1964 at the age of 44.
Adele Goldberg was one of the seven programmers that developed Smalltalk in the 1970s, one of the first object-oriented programming languages, the base of the current graphic user interface, that has its roots in the 1968 The Mother of All Demos by Douglas Engelbart. Smalltalk was later used by Apple to launch Apple Lisa in 1983, the first personal computer with a GUI, and one year later its Macintosh. Windows 1.0, based on the same principles, was launched a few months later in 1985.
This article needs attention from an expert in Computer Science History.(June 2015)
- 1842: Ada Lovelace (1815–1852) was an analyst of Charles Babbage's analytical engine and is considered by many the "first computer programmer."
- 1893: Henrietta Swan Leavitt (1868–1921) joined the Harvard "computers", a group of women engaged in the production of astronomical data at Harvard. She was instrumental in discovery of the cepheid variable stars, which are evidence for the expansion of the universe.
- 1926: Grete Hermann (1901–1984) published the foundational paper for computerized algebra. It was her doctoral thesis, titled "The Question of Finitely Many Steps in Polynomial Ideal Theory", and published in Mathematische Annalen.
- 1940s: American women were recruited to do ballistics calculations and program computers during WWII. Around 1943–1945, these women "computers" used a differential analyzer in the basement of the Moore School of Electrical Engineering to speed up their calculations, though the machine required a mechanic to be totally accurate and the women often rechecked the calculations by hand. Phyllis Fox ran a differential analyzer single-handedly, with differential equations are her program specification.
- 1943: Women worked as WREN Colossus operators during WW2 at Bletchley Park.
- 1943: Wives of scientists working on the Manhattan Project with mathematical training were hired as human computers to work on the ENIAC and MANIAC I computers. This included Klara Dan von Neumann, Augusta H. Teller, and Adele Goldstine.
- 1943: Gertrude Blanch (1897–1996) led the Mathematical Tables Project group from 1938 to 1948. During World War II, the project operated as a major computing office for the U.S. government and did calculations for the Office of Scientific Research and Development, the Army, the Navy, the Manhattan Project and other institutions.
- 1946: Betty Jennings, Betty Snyder, Frances Spence, Kay McNulty, Marlyn Wescoff, and Ruth Lichterman were the regularly working programmers of the ENIAC. Adele Goldstine, also involved in the programming, wrote the program manual for the ENIAC.
- 1947: Irma Wyman worked on a missile guidance project at the Willow Run Research Center. To calculate trajectory, they used mechanical calculators. In 1947–48, she visited the U.S. Naval Proving Ground where Grace Hopper was working on similar problems and discovered they were using a prototype of a programmable Mark II computer.
- 1948: Kathleen Booth (1922–) is credited with writing the assembly language for the ARC2 computer.
- 1949: Grace Hopper (1906–1992), was a United States Navy officer and one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I, known as the "Mother of COBOL". She developed the first compiler for an electronic computer, known as A-0. She also popularized the term "debugging" – a reference to a moth extracted from a relay in the Harvard Mark II computer.
- 1949: Evelyn Boyd Granville (1924–) was the second African-American woman in the U.S. to receive a PhD in mathematics. From 1956 to 1960, she worked for IBM on the Project Vanguard and Project Mercury space programs, analyzing orbits and developing computer procedures.
- 1950: Ida Rhodes (1900–1986) was one of the pioneers in the analysis of systems of programming. She co-designed the C-10 language in the early 1950s for the UNIVAC I – a computer system that was used to calculate the census.
- 1952: Mary Coombs (1929-) was one of the first programmers on, and was the first female programmer on LEO, the first business computer. She went on to work on LEO II and LEO III.
- 1958: Orbital calculations for the United States' Explorer 1 satellite were solved by the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory's all-female "computers", many of whom were recruited out of high school.
Mechanical calculators were supplemented with logarithmic calculations performed by hand.
- 1961: Dana Ulery (1938–), was the first female engineer at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, developing real-time tracking systems using a North American Aviation Recomp II, a 40-bit word size computer.
- 1962: Jean E. Sammet (1928–2017), developed the FORMAC programming language. She was also the first to write extensively about the history and categorization of programming languages in 1969, and became the first female president of the Association for Computing Machinery in 1974.
- 1962: Dame Stephanie "Steve" Shirley (1933–), founded the UK software company F.I. She was concerned with creating work opportunities for women with dependents, and predominantly employed women, only 3 out of 300-odd programmers were male, until that became illegal. She adopted the name "Steve" to help her in the male-dominated business world. From 1989 to 1990, she was President of the British Computer Society. In 1985, she was awarded a Recognition of Information Technology Award.
- 1964: Joan Ball was the first person to start a computer dating service in 1964.
- 1965: Mary Allen Wilkes (1937–) was the first person to use a computer in a private home (in 1965) and the first developer of an operating system (LAP) for the first minicomputer (LINC).
- 1965: Sister Mary Kenneth Keller (1913–1985) became the first American woman to earn a Ph.D. in Computer Science in 1965. Her thesis was titled "Inductive Inference on Computer Generated Patterns."
- 1966: Margaret R. Fox (1916–2006) was appointed Chief of the Office of Computer Information in 1966, part of the Institute for Computer Science and Technology of NBS. She held the post until 1975. She was also actively involved in the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and served as the first Secretary for the American Federation of Information Processing Societies (AFIPS).
- 1968: Vera Molnár (1924–) is one of the pioneers of computer and algorithmic arts. In 1968 she began working with computers, where she began to create algorithmic drawings based on simple geometric shapes geometrical themes.
- 1969: Margaret Hamilton (1936–) was in late 1960s Director of the Software Engineering Division of the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, which developed on-board flight software for the Apollo space program. MIT work prevented an abort of the Apollo 11 moon landing by using robust architecture. Later, she was awarded the NASA Exceptional Space Act Award for her scientific and technical contributions.
- 1971: Erna Schneider Hoover (1926–) is an American mathematician notable for inventing a computerized telephone switching method which developed modern communication according to several reports. At Bell Laboratories, where she worked for over 32 years, Hoover was described as an important pioneer for women in the field of computer technology.
- 1971: Margaret Burnett (computer scientist) (1949–) became the first woman software developer ever hired by Procter & Gamble/Ivorydale, a 13,000-employee complex that included their R&D center. Her position as a software developer also made her the first woman ever hired into a management-level position there.
- 1972: Mary Shaw (1943–) became the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University.
- 1972: Adele Goldberg (1945–), was one of developers of the Smalltalk language.
- 1972: Karen Spärck Jones (1935–2007), was one of the pioneers of information retrieval and natural language processing.
- 1972: Sandra Kurtzig founded ASK Computer Systems, an early Silicon Valley startup.
- 1973: Susan Nycum co-authored Computer Abuse, a minor classic that was one of the first studies to define and document computer-related crime.
- 1973: Phyllis Fox (1923–) worked on the PORT portable mathematical/numerical library.
- 1974: Elizabeth Feinler (1931–) and her team defined a simple text file format for Internet host names. The list evolved into the Domain Name System and her group became the naming authority for the top-level domains of .mil, .gov, .edu, .org, and .com.
- 1975: Irene Greif became the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
- 1978: Sophie Wilson (1957–), is a British computer scientist. She is known for designing the Acorn Micro-Computer, as well as the instruction set of the ARM processor.
- 1979: Carol Shaw (1955–), was a game designer and programmer for Atari Corp. and Activision.
- 1980: Carla Meninsky was the game designer and programmer for Atari 2600 games Dodge 'Em and Warlords.
- 1982?: Lorinda Cherry worked on the Writer's Workbench (wwb) for Bell Labs.
- 1983: Janese Swanson (1958–) (with others) developed the first of the Carmen Sandiego games. She went on to found Girl Tech. Girl Tech develops products and services that encourage girls to use new technologies, such as the Internet and video games.
- 1984: Roberta Williams (1953–), did pioneering work in graphical adventure games for personal computers, particularly the King's Quest series.
- 1984: Susan Kare (1954–), created the icons and many of the interface elements for the original Apple Macintosh in the 1980s, and was an original employee of NeXT, working as the Creative Director.
- 1985: Radia Perlman (1951–), invented the Spanning Tree Protocol. She has done extensive and innovative research, particularly on encryption and networking. She received the USENIX Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007, among numerous others.
- 1985: Irma Wyman (1927–), was the first Honeywell CIO.
- 1987: Monica S. Lam receives a Ph.D. for her work on optimising compilers. She has since then performed influential research in many areas of computer science as well as co-authored a famous textbook on compilers.
- 1988: Éva Tardos (1957–), was the recipient of the Fulkerson Prize for her research on design and analysis of algorithms.
- 1989: Frances E. Allen (1932–), became the first female IBM Fellow in 1989. In 2006, she became the first female recipient of the ACM's Turing Award.
- 1989: Frances Brazier, professor of Computer Science at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, is one of the founder of NLnet, the first Internet service provider in the Netherlands.
- 1992: Donna Dubinsky (1955–), CEO and co-founder of Palm, Inc., co-founder of Handspring, co-founder of Numenta, Harvard Business School's Alumni Achievement Award winner for "introducing the first successful personal digital assistant (PDA) and who is now developing a computer memory system modeled after the human brain".
- 1993: Shafi Goldwasser (1958–), a theoretical computer scientist, is a two-time recipient of the Gödel Prize for research on complexity theory, cryptography and computational number theory, and the invention of zero-knowledge proofs.
- 1993: Barbara Liskov(1939–), together with Jeannette Wing, developed the Liskov substitution principle. Liskov was also the winner of the Turing Prize in 2008.
- 1994: Sally Floyd (1953–), is known for her work on Transmission Control Protocol.
- 1996: Xiaoyuan Tu (1967–), was the first female recipient of ACM's Doctoral Dissertation Award.
- 1997: Anita Borg (1949–2003), was the founding director of the Institute for Women and Technology (IWT), renamed Anita Borg Institute (ABI) in her honor in 2003.
- 1998: LinuxChix an international organization for women who use Linux and women and men who want to support women in computing was founded by Deb Richardson.
- 1999: Marissa Mayer (1975–), was the first female engineer hired at Google, and was later named Vice President of Search Product and User Experience. She was formerly the CEO of Yahoo!.
- 2003: Ellen Spertus earned a PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT in 1998 with the notable thesis "ParaSite: Mining the structural information on the World-Wide Web".
- 2004: Jeri Ellsworth (1974–), is a self-taught computer chip designer and creator of the C64 Direct-to-TV.
- 2004: Lucy Sanders (1954-) co-founded the National Center for Women & Information Technology
- 2005: Audrey Tang (1981–), was the initiator and leader of the Pugs project.
- 2005: Mary Lou Jepsen (1965–), was the founder and chief technology officer of One Laptop Per Child (OLPC), and the founder of Pixel Qi.
- 2006: Maria Klawe (1951–), was the first woman to become President of the Harvey Mudd College since its founding in 1955 and was ACM president from 2002 until 2004.
- 2006: Melanie Rieback's research concerns the security and privacy of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, she is known to have programmed the first virus to infect RFID devices.
- 2006: Joanna Rutkowska presented Blue Pill, a rootkit based on x86 virtualization, at the Black Hat Briefings computer security conference.
- 2014: Megan Smith named third (and first female) Chief Technology Officer of the United States of America (USCTO), succeeding Todd Park.
The Turing award recipients
The A.M. Turing Award, sometimes referred to as the "Nobel Prize" of Computing, was named in honor of Alan Mathison Turing (1912–1954), a British mathematician and computer scientist. The Turing award has been won by 3 women between 1966 and 2015.
- Ada Initiative
- Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, group for support of women, runs the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing yearly conference.
- Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Committee on Women
- Association for Women in Computing: one of the first professional organizations for women in computing. AWC is dedicated to promoting the advancement of women in the computing professions.
- BCSWomen, a women-only Specialist Group of the British Computer Society
- Black Girls Code, non-profit focused on providing technology education to young African-American women.
- Center for Women in Technology, university center focused on increasing the representation of women in the creation of technology.
- Computing Research Association's Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research (CRA-W), group focused on increasing the number of women participating in Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) research and education at all levels.
- Girl Develop It, a nonprofit organization that provides affordable programs for adult women interested in learning web and software development in a judgment-free environment.
- Girl Geek Dinners, an International group for women of all ages.
- Girls Who Code: a national non-profit organization dedicated to closing the gender gap in technology.
- LinuxChix, a women-oriented community in the open source movement.
- National Center for Women & Information Technology, a nonprofit that increases the number of women in technology and computing.
- Systers, a moderated listserv dedicated to mentoring women in the Systers community.
- Women in Technology International, global organization dedicated to the advancement of women in business and technology.
- Women's Technology Empowerment Centre (W.TEC), non-profit organisation focused on providing technology education and mentoring to Nigerian women and girls.
- List of female mathematicians
- List of female scientists
- List of organizations for women in science
- List of prizes, medals, and awards for women in science
- Women in engineering
- Women in science
- Women in the workforce
- Women in venture capital
- Women and video games
- The famous Google memo, in which a (since-terminated) Google employee argued that the explanations for women being underrepresented in technical computing jobs could include alleged biological differences between men and women
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- Phillips, Ana Lena (November–December 2011). "Crowdsourcing gender equity: Ada Lovelace Day, and its companion website, aims to raise the profile of women in science and technology". American Scientist. 99 (6): 463.
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- "How Female Computers Mapped the Universe and Brought America to the Moon". Atlas Obscura. 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2017-09-29.
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- Grete Hermann (1926). "Die Frage der endlich vielen Schritte in der Theorie der Polynomideale". Mathematische Annalen. 95: 736–788. doi:10.1007/bf01206635.
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- Haigh, Thomas; Priestley, Mark; Rope, Crispin (2016). ENIAC in Action: Making and Remaking the Modern Computer. MIT Press. pp. 157–158. ISBN 9780262033985.
- Grier, David Alan (1998). "The Math Tables Project of the Work Projects Administration: The Reluctant Start of the Computing Era". IEEE Ann. Hist. Comput. 20 (3): 33–50. doi:10.1109/85.707573. ISSN 1058-6180.
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- "Irma Wyman". Michigan Engineer, Spring 2010: Women in Engineering. Retrieved 2011-05-28.
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- Lamb, Evelyn. "Mathematics, Live: A Conversation with Evelyn Boyd Granville". Scientific American Blog Network. Retrieved 2016-11-02.
- "Computer Pioneers - Ida Rhodes (Hadassah Itzkowitz)". history.computer.org. Retrieved 2017-03-30.
- Bird, Peter J. LEO: the First Business Computer. Wokingham: Hasler Publishing Limited. ISBN 0-9521651-0-4.
- "JPL Computers". NASA JPL.
- Conway, Erik (27 March 2007). "Women Made Early Inroads at JPL". NASA/JPL. Archived from the original on 10 May 2012.
- Fisher, Lawrence M. "In Memoriam: Jean E. Sammet 1928-2017 | News | Communications of the ACM". cacm.acm.org. Retrieved 2017-06-15.
- Ball, Joan (2012). Just Me. p. 318. ISBN 1312560142.
- Steel, Martha Vickers (2001). "Women in Computing: Experiences and Contributions Within the Emerging Computing Industry" (PDF). Computing History Museum.
- "UW-Madison Computer Science Ph.D.s Awarded, May 1965 - August 1970". UW-Madison Computer Sciences Department. Retrieved 2010-11-08.
- NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe has commented saying "The concepts she and her team created became the building blocks for modern software engineering. It's an honor to recognize Ms. Hamilton for her extraordinary contributions to NASA.".
- NASA Press Release "NASA Honors Apollo Engineer" (September 3, 2003)
- Michael Braukus NASA News "NASA Honors Apollo Engineer" (September 3, 2003)
- Oakes, Elizabeth H. (2002). International encyclopedia of women scientists. New York, NY: Facts on File. pp. 136–137. ISBN 0816043817.
- Parker, Donn B.; Nycum, Susan (1973). Computer Abuse. Stanford Research Institute.
- Cortada, James W. (2007). The Digital Hand, Vol 3 : How Computers Changed the Work of American Public Sector Industries. Oxford University Press. pp. 133–134, 390. ISBN 978-0-19-803709-5.
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- Light, Jennifer S. (1999). "When Computers Were Women". Technology and Culture. 40 (3): 455–483.
- Margolis, Jane; Fisher, Allan (2002). Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. ISBN 978-0262632690.
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- Carnegie Mellon Project on Gender and Computer Science
- National Center for Women & Information Technology US
- Equate Scotland
- Institute for Women in Trades, Technology and Science
- MNT - Mulheres na Tecnologia Brazil
- Resources related to Women in Computing US
- Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology
- Women in Science, Engineering, and Technology UK
- Women's Engineering Society UK
- When Women Stopped Coding