A timeline of women in world computing

I thought it might be interesting to compile–so to speak–a timeline of women in computing around the world. Hopefully this can be of use as historical research or even just inspiration.

* 1800s: Ada Lovelace (1815–1852, British), was an analyst of Charles Babbage’s analytical engine (an early mechanical general-purpose computer) and is often described as the first computer programmer, since her notes on the engine include the first algorithm intended to be processed by a machine.

* 1926: Grete Hermann (1901-1984, German) 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, who were called “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.

* 1940s: Jean Bartik, Betty Holberton, Frances Spence, Kathleen Antonelli, Marlyn Meltzer, and Ruth Teitelbaum were the original programmers of the ENIAC, the world’s first general-purpose electronic computer. All were American except Kathleen Antonelli was born in Ireland.

* 1940s: Women worked as WREN Colossus operators during World War II in Bletchley Park, England. Colossus was the world’s first electronic, digital, programmable computer, and was used by British codebreakers to help read encrypted German messages.

* 1942: Austrian-American actress Hedy Lamarr (1913–2000, born in Austria), co-invented an early form of spread-spectrum broadcasting with composer George Antheil.

* 1950s: Orbital calculations for the United States’ Explorer 1 satellite were solved by the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s all-female team using mechanical calculators, supplemented with logarithmic calculations performed by hand. Many of the women were recruited right out of high school.

* 1952: Grace Hopper (1906–1992, American), developed the first ever compiler for an electronic computer, known as the A-0 System.

* 1960s: Mary Allen Wilkes (American) became the first developer of an operating system (LAP) for the first minicomputer (LINC). In 1965 she became the first person to use a computer in a private home.

* 1961: Dana Ulery (1938-, American) became 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-, American), developed the FORMAC programming language.

* 1965: Sister Mary Kenneth Keller (1914? – 1985) became the first American woman to earn a PhD in Computer Science. Her thesis was titled “Inductive Inference on Computer Generated Patterns.”

* 1969: Jean E. Sammet (1928-, American) became the first person to write extensively about the history and categorisation of programming languages.

* 1972: Karen Spärck Jones (1935 – 2007, British) introduced the concept of inverse document frequency (IDF) weighting in information retrieval.

* 1972: Adele Goldberg (1945-, American), was one of the designers and developers of the Smalltalk language, which appeared in 1972.

* 1972: Sandra Kurtzig (American) founded ASK Computer Systems, an early Silicon Valley startup.

* 1974: Jean E. Sammet (1928-, American) became the first female president of the Association for Computing Machinery.

* 1978: Sophie Wilson (1957-, British), designed the Acorn Microcomputer.

* 1978: The Association for Women in Computing was founded in Washington, D.C.

* 1979: Carol Shaw (American) became the first woman to program and design a video game, 3D Tic-Tac-Toe for the Atari 2600.

* 1980s: Susan Kare (1954-, American), created the icons and many of the interface elements for the original Apple Macintosh.

* 1980: Lynn Conway (1938-), co-authored ”Introduction to VLSI Systems.”

* 1984: Roberta Williams (1953-, American), did pioneering work in graphical adventure games for personal computers, particularly the King’s Quest series, which was first released in 1984.

* 1985: Radia Perlman (1951-, American), invented the Spanning Tree Protocol.

* 1985: Irma Wyman (~1927-, American), became the first Honeywell Chief Information Officer.

* 1988: Éva Tardos (1957-, Hungarian), was the recipient of the Fulkerson Prize for her research on design and analysis of algorithms.

* 1989: Frances E. Allen (1932-, American), became the first female IBM Fellow.

* 1991: Lucy Hickman (unknown) became the first female editor for CRASH magazine, a British magazine dedicated to the ZX Spectrum home computer.

* 1993: Shafi Goldwasser (1958-, American), a theoretical computer scientist, won the Gödel Prize for “The knowledge complexity of interactive proof systems.”

* 1993: Barbara Liskov (American), together with Jeannette Wing (American), developed the Liskov substitution principle.

* 1993: Sally Floyd (~1953-, American), co-invented Random early detection with Van Jacobson.

* 1996: Xiaoyuan Tu (1967-, unknown), was the first female recipient of the Association for Computing Machinery’s Doctoral Dissertation Award.

* 1997: Anita Borg (1949–2003, American), became the founding director of the Institute for Women and Technology (IWT).

* 1999: Marissa Mayer (1975-, American), became the first female engineer hired at Google.

* 2002: Jeri Ellsworth (1974-, American), co-designed the single-board computer C-One.

* 2005: Audrey Tang (1981-, Taiwanese), became the initiator and leader of the Pugs project, a compiler and interpreter for the Perl 6 programming language.

* 2005: Ruchi Sanghvi (born in India) became the first female engineer at Facebook.

* 2006: Frances E. Allen (American) became the first female recipient of the Association for Computing Machinery’s Turing Award.

* 2008: Mary Lou Jepsen (1965-, American), founded Pixel Qi, a manufacturer of low-cost, low-power LCD screens for laptops.

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