Computer science needs more women, but it’s not as there haven’t been some already. I proudly present the three most important female computer scientists.
In 1815, a time when women were discouraged to participate in science, Ada Lovelace was born as the daughter of the poetic Lord Byron. Her mother got her homeschooled in math and science. When she was 27, she translated an article about Babbages Analytical Engine and added a description to compute Bernoulli numbers with it. The Right Honourable Augusta Ada, Countess of Lovelace wrote the first program in history.
Ten years later the “Enchantress of Numbers”, as Babbage called her, died from cancer. She envisioned the use of computers back then. Maybe Babbage could have promoted his machines through her writing skills, if she had lived longer. The computer revolution could have taken place a hundred years earlier.
A hundred years later a women called Grace Murray Hopper joined the US Navy. There she worked on some early computers and created the term “debugging”, when they found a moth in the computer relays. Shortly leaving the army she helped to build the first commercial computer, the UNIVAC. The Cobol programming language is mainly based on her philosophy to use english instead of machine language. “Amazing Grace”, as she was called sometimes, was a good presenter, often getting standing ovations after lectures.
Then there is Leah Culver. Well, Leah didn’t make an important contribution to computer science apart from getting a degree. She just had this cool idea to laser-etch her laptop and got declared the sexiest geek of 2006, what gives me the possibility to catch you with a sexy picture.
The first women to win the Turing Award (the Nobel prize of computer science) is Frances Allen. “Fran” is a pioneer in the field of optimzing compilers. Her current title is IBM Fellow Emerita, “a position at IBM, which doesn’t require or allow any useful work, in terms of strategies in the company’s current business.”
Do you agree with my placement? Whom would you put at place four and five?
Update: more women in computer science