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— INTRODUCTION —
In this article I would like to discuses / examine the role, impact and legacy of women in the computer industry, from the creation of the first programmable computers to the modern day computer and electronics revolution.
Historically, women in computing have had an effect on the evolution of the industry, with many of the first programmers during the early 20th century being female. In the 2000s, women have also had leadership roles in computer companies, such as Elizabeth Holmes, Founder, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Theranos, Meg Whitman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Marissa Mayer, President and CEO of Yahoo since July 2012 and previously a long-time executive, usability leader, and key spokesperson for Google.
— THE EARLY ERA AND INVENTION OF COMPUTERS —
Ada Lovelace, 1815 – 1852, was an analyst of Charles Babbage’s analytical engine and considered by many the “first computer programmer.”
Titles And Styles, By Which She Was Known :
10 December 1815 - 08 July 1835 : The Honourable Ada Byron. 08 July 1835 - 30 June 1838 : The Right Honourable The Lady King. 30 June 1838 - 27 November 1852 : The Right Honourable The Countess of Lovelace.
Augusta Ada King-Noel, Countess of Lovelace (née Byron; 10 December 1815 – 27 November 1852) was an English mathematician and writer, chiefly known for her work on Charles Babbage’s proposed mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. She was the first to recognise that the machine had applications beyond pure calculation, and created the first algorithm intended to be carried out by such a machine. As a result, she is often regarded as the first to recognise the full potential of a “computing machine” and the first computer programmer. Ada Lovelace was the only legitimate child of the poet George, Lord Byron, and his wife Anne Isabella Milbanke (“Annabella”), Lady Wentworth
When she was a teenager, her mathematical talents led her to a long working relationship and friendship with fellow British mathematician Charles Babbage, also known as ‘the father of computers’, and in particular, Babbage’s work on the Analytical Engine. Lovelace first met him in June 1833, through their mutual friend, and her private tutor, Mary Somerville. Between 1842 and 1843, Ada translated an article by Italian military engineer Luigi Menabrea on the engine, which she supplemented with an elaborate set of notes, simply called Notes. These notes contain what many consider to be the first computer program—that is, an algorithm designed to be carried out by a machine. Lovelace’s notes are important in the early history of computers. She also developed a vision of the capability of computers to go beyond mere calculating or number-crunching, while many others, including Babbage himself, focused only on those capabilities. Her mindset of “poetical science” led her to ask questions about the Analytical Engine (as shown in her notes) examining how individuals and society relate to technology as a collaborative tool. She died of uterine cancer in 1852 at the age of 36.
First Computer Program
Lovelace’s diagram from Note G, the first published computer algorithm In 1840, Babbage was invited to give a seminar at the University of Turin about his Analytical Engine. Luigi Menabrea, a young Italian engineer, and the future Prime Minister of Italy wrote up Babbage’s lecture in French, and this transcript was subsequently published in the Bibliothèque universelle de Genève in October 1842. Babbage’s friend Charles Wheatstone commissioned Ada Lovelace to translate Menabrea’s paper into English. She then augmented the paper with notes, which were added to the translation. Ada Lovelace spent the better part of a year doing this, assisted with input from Babbage. These notes, which are more extensive than Menabrea’s paper, were then published in Taylor’s Scientific Memoirs under the initialism AAL. Ada Lovelace’s notes were labelled alphabetically from A to G. In note G, she describes an algorithm for the Analytical Engine to compute Bernoulli numbers. It is considered the first published algorithm ever specifically tailored for implementation on a computer, and Ada Lovelace has often been cited as the first computer programmer for this reason. The engine was never completed so her program was never tested.
In 1953, more than a century after her death, Ada Lovelace’s notes on Babbage’s Analytical Engine were republished. The engine has now been recognised as an early model for a computer and her notes as a description of a computer and software.
Ada Lovelace died at the age of 36 – the same age that her father had died – on 27 November 1852, from uterine cancer probably exacerbated by bloodletting by her physicians. The illness lasted several months, in which time Annabella took command over whom Ada saw, and excluded all of her friends and confidants. Under her mother’s influence, she had a religious transformation and was coaxed into repenting of her previous conduct and making Annabella her executor. She lost contact with her husband after she confessed something to him on 30 August which caused him to abandon her bedside. What she told him is unknown. She was buried, at her request, next to her father at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Hucknall, Nottinghamshire. A memorial plaque in Latin to her and her father is in the chapel attached to Horsley Towers.
The computer language Ada, created on behalf of the United States Department of Defense, was named after Lovelace. The reference manual for the language was approved on 10 December 1980 and the Department of Defense Military Standard for the language, MIL-STD-1815, was given the number of the year of her birth.
Since 1998 the British Computer Society (BCS) has awarded the Lovelace Medal, and in 2008 initiated an annual competition for women students.BCSWomen sponsors the Lovelace Colloquium, an annual conference for women undergraduates. Ada College is a further-education college in Tottenham Hale, London focused on digital skills.
Ada Lovelace Day is an annual event celebrated in mid-October whose goal is to “… raise the profile of women in science, technology, engineering, and maths,” and to “create new role models for girls and women” in these fields. The Ada Initiative was a non-profit organisation dedicated to increasing the involvement of women in the free culture and open source movements.
The Engineering in Computer Science and Telecommunications College building in Zaragoza University is called the Ada Byron Building. The computer centre in the village of Porlock, near where Lovelace lived, is named after her. Ada Lovelace House is a council-owned building in Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, near where Lovelace spent her infancy; the building was once an internet centre One of the tunnel boring machines excavating London’s Crossrail project is named Ada.
Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology is an “open-access, multi-modal, [open-]peer-reviewed feminist journal concerned with the intersections of gender, new media, and technology” that began in 2012 and is run by the Fembot Collective.
Adafruit Industries is an open-source hardware company named in her honour. Seattle has a geek bookshop and cafe named after her.
Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler AKA Hedy Lamarr 9 November 1914 – 19 January 2000, was an Austrian and American movie star and inventor.
After an early and brief film career in Germany, she fled from her husband, a wealthy Austrian ammunition manufacturer, and secretly moved to Paris,, where she met the head of MGM, a Mr Louis B. Mayer, with whom she singed a movie contract to work in Hollywood where she became a movie star in the later half of 1930s to he 1950s.
At the beginning of World War II, Lamarr and composer George Antheil developed a radio guidance system for Allied torpedoes, which used spread spectrum and frequency hopping technology to defeat the threat of jamming by the Axis powers. Although the US Navy did not adopt the technology until the 1960s, the principles of their work are now incorporated into modern Wi-Fi, CDMA, and Bluetooth technology, and this work led to their induction into the US National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014.
Frequency-hopping spread spectrum
Lamarr’s earliest inventions included an improved traffic stoplight and a tablet that would dissolve in water to create a carbonated drink. The beverage was unsuccessful; Lamarr herself said it tasted like Alka-Seltzer
During World War II, Lamarr and composer George Antheil realized that radio-controlled torpedoes, which could be important in the naval war, could easily be jammed, thereby causing the torpedo to go off course. With the knowledge she had gained about torpedoes from her first husband, and using a method similar to the way piano rolls work, they drafted designs for a new frequency-hopping, spread-spectrum technology that they later patented.
Their invention was granted a patent on 11 August 1942 (filed using her married name Hedy Kiesler Markey). However, it was technologically difficult to implement, and at that time the U.S. Navy was not receptive to considering inventions coming from outside the military. Only in 1962 (at the time of the Cuban missile crisis) did an updated version of their design appear on Navy ships. The design is one of the important elements behind today’s spread-spectrum communication technology, such as modern CDMA, Wi-Fi networks, and Bluetooth technology.
In 1997, they received the Electronic Frontier Foundation Pioneer Award and the Bulbie Gnass Spirit of Achievement Bronze Award, given to individuals whose creative lifetime achievements in the arts, sciences, business, or invention fields have significantly contributed to society. She was featured on the Science Channel and the Discovery Channel. In 2014, Lamarr and Antheil were posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Lamarr had no formal training and was primarily self-taught.
Lamarr died in Casselberry, Florida, on 19 January 2000, aged 85. she died of heart failure, Her ashes were spread in the Vienna Woods in Austria, in accordance with her wishes. Lamarr was given an honorary grave in Vienna’s Central Cemetery in 2014.
Ida Rhodes born Hadassah Itzkowitz, born May 15, 1900, died February 1, 1986, was an American mathematician who became a member of the clique of influential women at the heart of early computer development in the United States.
Hadassah Itzkowitz was born in a Jewish village between Nemyriv and Tulchyn in the Ukraine. She was 13 years old in 1913 when her parents, David and Bessie Sinkler Itzkowitz, brought her to the United States (her name was changed upon entering the U.S.) Rhodes was awarded the New York State Cash Scholarship and a Cornell
University Scholarship and was studying mathematics at Cornell University only six years after coming to the United States. Rhodes studied at Cornell University from 1919-1923. During her time at Cornell University she worked as a nurse’s aid at Ithaca City Hospital. She was elected to the honorary organizations Phi Beta Kappa (1922) and Phi Kappa Phi (1923). She received her BA in mathematics in February, 1923 and her MA in September of the same year, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. Rhodes had her first encounter with Albert Einstein in 1922 and in 1936 encountered him again in 1936 at Princeton, where a group of mathematicians traveled to spend
the weekend in informal seminars. She later studied at Columbia University in 1930-31. She held numerous positions involving mathematical computations before she joined the Mathematical Tables Project in 1940, where she worked under Gertrude Blanch, whom she would later credit as her mentor.
She was a pioneer in the analysis of systems of programming, and with Betty Holberton designed the C-10 programming language in the early 1950’s for the UNIVAC I. She also designed the original computer used for the Social Security Administration. In 1949, the Department of Commerce awarded her a Gold Medal for “significant
pioneering leadership and outstanding contributions to the scientific progress of the Nation in the functional design and the application of electronic digital computing equipment”.
Though she retired in 1964, Rhodes continued to consult for the Applied Mathematics Division of the National Bureau of Standards until 1971. Her work became much more widely known after her retirement, as she took the occasion to travel around the globe, lecturing and maintaining international correspondence. In 1976, the
Department of Commerce presented her with a further Certificate of Appreciation on the 25th Anniversary of UNIVAC I, and then at the 1981 Computer Conference cited her a third time as a “UNIVAC I pioneer.” She died in 1986.
In an unusual case of an old specialized algorithm still in use, and still credited to the original developer, Rhodes was responsible for the “Jewish Holiday” algorithms used in calendar programs to this day.
Grace Brewster Murray Hopper (née Murray; December 9, 1906 – January 1, 1992) was an American computer scientist and United States Navy rear admiral. In 1944, she was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer and invented the first compiler for a computer programming language. She popularized the idea of machine-independent programming languages, which led to the development of COBOL, one of the first high-level programming languages.
Owing to her accomplishments and her naval rank, she was sometimes referred to as “Amazing Grace”. The U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Hopper was named for her, as was the Cray XE6 “Hopper” supercomputer at NERSC. On November 22, 2016, she was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama
Hopper’s signatures on a duty officer signup sheet for the Bureau of Ships Computation Project at Harvard, which built and operated the Mark I Hopper had tried to enlist in the Navy early in the war. She was at age 34, too old to enlist, and her weight to height ratio was too low. She was also denied on the basis that her job as a mathematician—she was a mathematics professor at Vassar College—was valuable to the war effort. During World War II in 1943, Hopper obtained a leave of absence from Vassar and was sworn into the United States Navy Reserve, one of many women to volunteer to serve in the WAVES. She had to get an exemption to enlist; she was 15 pounds (6.8 kg) below the Navy minimum weight of 120 pounds (54 kg). She reported in December and trained at the Naval Reserve Midshipmen’s School at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. Hopper graduated first in her class in 1944, and was assigned to the Bureau of Ships Computation Project at Harvard University as a lieutenant, junior grade. She served on the Mark I computer programming staff headed by Howard H. Aiken. Hopper and Aiken coauthored three papers on the Mark I, also known as the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator. Hopper’s request to transfer to the regular Navy at the end of the war was declined due to her advanced age of 38. She continued to serve in the Navy Reserve. Hopper remained at the Harvard Computation Lab until 1949, turning down a full professorship at Vassar in favor of working as a research fellow under a Navy contract at Harvard.
In 1949, Hopper became an employee of the Eckert–Mauchly Computer Corporation as a senior mathematician and joined the team developing the UNIVAC I. When she recommended that a new programming language be developed using entirely English words, she “was told very quickly that [she] couldn’t do this because computers didn’t understand English.” This idea was not accepted for 3 years, and she published her first paper on the subject, compilers, in 1952. In the early 1950s, the company was taken over by the Remington Rand corporation, and it was while she was working for them that her original compiler work was done. The compiler was known as the A compiler and its first version was A-0.
In 1952 she had an operational compiler. “Nobody believed that,” she said. “I had a running compiler and nobody would touch it. They told me computers could only do arithmetic.”
In 1954 Hopper was named the company’s first director of automatic programming, and her department released some of the first compiler-based programming languages, including MATH-MATIC and FLOW-MATIC.
In the spring of 1959, computer experts from industry and government were brought together in a two-day conference known as the Conference on Data Systems Languages (CODASYL). Hopper served as a technical consultant to the committee, and many of her former employees served on the short-term committee that defined the new language COBOL (an acronym for COmmon Business-Oriented Language). The new language extended Hopper’s FLOW-MATIC language with some ideas from the IBM equivalent, COMTRAN. Hopper’s belief that programs should be written in a language that was close to English (rather than in machine code or in languages close to machine code, such as assembly languages) was captured in the new business language, and COBOL went on to be the most ubiquitous business language to date.
From 1967 to 1977, Hopper served as the director of the Navy Programming Languages Group in the Navy’s Office of Information Systems Planning and was promoted to the rank of captain in 1973. She developed validation software for COBOL and its compiler as part of a COBOL standardization program for the entire Navy.
In the 1970s, Hopper advocated for the Defense Department to replace large, centralized systems with networks of small, distributed computers. Any user on any computer node could access common databases located on the network. She developed the implementation of standards for testing computer systems and components, most significantly for early programming languages such as FORTRAN and COBOL. The Navy tests for conformance to these standards led to significant convergence among the programming language dialects of the major computer vendors. In the 1980s, these tests (and their official administration) were assumed by the National Bureau of Standards (NBS), known today as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
Hopper died in her sleep of natural causes on New Year’s Day 1992 at her home in Arlington, Virginia; she was 85 years of age. She was interred with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery.
Dorothy Johnson Vaughan, born September 20, 1910, died November 10, 2008, was an African American mathematician and human computer who worked for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), and NASA, at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. In 1949, she became acting supervisor of the West Area Computers, the first African-American woman to supervise a group of staff at the center.
Vaughan was later officially promoted to this position. During her 28-year career, Vaughan prepared for the introduction of machine computers in the early 1960s by teaching herself and her staff the programming language of FORTRAN; she later headed the programming section of the Analysis and Computation Division (ACD) at Langley. Vaughan is one of the women featured in Margot Lee Shetterly’s history Hidden Figures: The Story of the African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race (2016). It was adapted as a biographical film of the same name, also released in 2016.
Dorothy Vaughan was born in Kansas City, Missouri, the daughter of Annie and Leonard Johnson. Her family moved to Morgantown, West Virginia, where she graduated from Beechurst High School in 1925. Receiving a full-tuition scholarship, she graduated at the age of 19 with a B.A. in mathematics in 1929 from Wilberforce University, a historically black college located in Wilberforce, Ohio.
Although encouraged by professors to do graduate study at Howard University, Vaughan soon started working as a teacher. She wanted to assist her family during the Great Depression. Dorothy married Howard S. Vaughan Jr. in 1932, and the couple had six children. In 1943, Vaughan began what developed as a 28-year-career as a mathematician and programmer at Langley Research Center. She specialized in calculations for flight paths, the Scout Project, and FORTRAN computer programming. One of her children also later worked at NASA. After college, Vaughan worked as a mathematics teacher at R.R. Moton High School in Farmville, Virginia. Virginia’s public schools and other facilities were still racially segregated under Jim Crow laws.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt wanted to ensure the war effort drew from all of American society after the United States entered World War II in 1942. He issued Executive Order 8802, to desegregate the defense industry, and Executive Order 9346 to end racial segregation and discrimination in hiring and promotion among federal agencies and defense contractors. The US believed that the war was going to be won in the air. It had already ramped up airplane production, creating a great demand for engineers, mathematicians, craftsmen and skilled tradesmen. With many men being swept into service, federal agencies such as the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) expanded their hiring and increased recruiting of women to support war production of airplanes.
In 1943 Vaughan started to work at NACA, which in 1935 had established a section of women mathematicians, who performed complex calculations. Vaughan was assigned to the West Area Computers of the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. This segregated group consisted of African-American women who made complex mathematical calculations by hand, using tools of the time. Their work expanded in the postwar years to support research and design for the United States’ space program, which was emphasized under President John F. Kennedy. Vaughan moved into the area of electronic computing in 1961, after NACA introduced the first digital (non-human) computers to the center. Vaughan became proficient in computer programming, teaching herself FORTRAN and teaching it to her coworkers to prepare them for the transition. She contributed to the space program through her work on the Scout Launch Vehicle Program.
In 1949, Vaughan was assigned as the acting head of the West Area Computers, taking over from a white woman who had died. She was the first Black supervisor at NACA and one of few female supervisors. She led a group composed entirely of African-American women mathematicians. She served for years in an acting role before being promoted officially to the position as supervisor. Vaughan worked for opportunities for the women in West Computing as well as women in other departments. Seeing that machine computers were going to be the future, she taught the women programming languages and other concepts to prepare them for the transition. Mathematician Katherine Johnson was initially assigned to Vaughan’s group, before being transferred to Langley’s Flight Mechanics Division.
Vaughan continued after NASA, the successor agency, was established in 1958. At that time, the agency ended racial segregation at the facility. In a 1994 interview, Vaughan recalled that working at Langley during the Space Race felt like being on “the cutting edge of something very exciting.” Regarding being an African-American woman during that time, she remarked, “I changed what I could, and what I couldn’t, I endured.” Vaughan worked in the Numerical Techniques division through the 1960s. She later became part of the Analysis and Computation Division (ACD). She worked at NASA-Langley for a total of twenty-eight years. During her career at Langley, Vaughan was also raising her six children. One of them later also worked at NASA-Langley. Vaughan lived in Newport News, Virginia and commuted to work at Hampton via public transportation.
Last Days And Death
Vaughan retired from NASA in 1971, at the age of 60. She lived until November 10, 2008, aged 98. Vaughan was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, an African-American sorority. She was also an active member of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, where she participated in music and missionary activities.
Mary Winston Jackson (April 9, 1921 – February 11, 2005) was an African American mathematician and aerospace engineer at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), which in 1958 was succeeded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). She worked at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, for most of her career. She started as a computer at the segregated West Area Computing division. She took advanced engineering classes and in 1958 became NASA’s first black female engineer.
After 34 years at NASA, Jackson had earned the most senior engineering title available. She realized she could not earn further promotions without becoming a supervisor. She accepted a demotion to become a manager of both the Federal Women’s Program, in the NASA Office of Equal Opportunity Programs, and of the Affirmative Action Program. In this role, she worked to influence both the hiring and promotion of women in NASA’s science, engineering, and mathematics careers.
Jackson’s story features in the non-fiction book Hidden Figures: The Story of the African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race (2016). She is one of the three protagonists in Hidden Figures, the film adaptation released the same year.
Mary Winston was born on April 9, 1921, to Ella (née Scott) and Frank Winston. She grew up in Hampton, Virginia, where she graduated from the all-black George P. Phenix Training School with highest honors.
Mary Jackson earned bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and physical science from Hampton Institute in 1942. She was a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha. Jackson served for more than thirty years as a Girl Scout leader. She was noted in the 1970s for helping African American children in her community create a miniature wind tunnel for testing airplanes.
Jackson was married with three children. She died on February 11, 2005, at age 83
After graduation, Jackson taught math at a black school in Calvert County, Maryland, for a year. Public schools were still segregated across the South. She also began tutoring high school and college students, which she continued to do throughout her life.
By 1943, she had returned to Hampton, where she became a bookkeeper at the National Catholic Community Center there. She worked as a receptionist and clerk at the Hampton Institute’s Health Department; she returned home for the birth of her son. In 1951 she became a clerk at the Office of the Chief, Army Field Forces at Fort Monroe. In 1951 Jackson was recruited by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), which in 1958 was succeeded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). She started as a research athematician, or computer, at the Langley Research Center in her hometown of Hampton, Virginia. She worked under Dorothy Vaughan in the segregated West Area Computing Section.
In 1953 she accepted an offer to work for engineer Kazimierz Czarnecki in the Supersonic Pressure Tunnel. The 4 by 4 foot (1.2 by 1.2 m), 60,000 horsepower (45,000 kW) wind tunnel used to study forces on a model by enerating winds at almost twice the speed of sound. Czarnecki encouraged Jackson to undergo training so that she could be promoted to an engineer. She needed to take graduate-level courses in math and physics to qualify for the job. They were offered in a night program by the University of Virginia, held at the all-white Hampton High School. Jackson petitioned the City of Hampton to allow her to attend the classes. After completing the courses, she was promoted to aerospace engineer in 1958, and became NASA’s first black female engineer. She analyzed data from wind tunnel experiments and real-world aircraft flight experiments at the Theoretical Aerodynamics Branch of the Subsonic-Transonic Aerodynamics Division at Langley. Her goal was to understand air flow, including thrust and drag forces, in order to improve United States planes.
Jackson worked as an engineer in several NASA divisions: the Compressibility Research Division, Full-Scale Research Division, High-Speed Aerodynamics Division, and the Subsonic-Transonic Aerodynamics Division. She ultimately authored or co-authored 12 technical papers for NACA and NASA. She worked to help women and other minorities to advance their careers, including advising them how to study in order to qualify for promotions.
After 34 years at NASA, Jackson had achieved the most senior title within the engineering department. She decided to take a demotion in order to serve as an administrator in the Equal Opportunity Specialist field. After undergoing training at NASA Headquarters, she returned to Langley. She worked to make changes and highlight women and other minorities who were accomplished in the field. She served as both the Federal Women’s Program Manager in the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs and as the Affirmative Action Program Manager, and she worked to influence the career paths of women in science, engineering, and mathematics positions at NASA. She continued to work at NASA until her retirement in 1985.
The 2016 film Hidden Figures recounts the NASA careers of Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Dorothy Vaughan, specifically their work on Project Mercury during the Space Race. The film is based on the book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly. Jackson is portrayed in the film by Janelle Monáe. In 2018 the Salt Lake City School Board voted that Jackson Elementary School in Salt Lake City would from then on be officially named after Mary Jackson rather than (as it used to be) after President Andrew Jackson.
Awards And Honors
Apollo Group Achievement Award, 1969
Daniels Alumni Award for Outstanding Service to Disadvantaged Youth
National Council of Negro Women, Inc. Certificate of Recognition for Outstanding Service to the Community
Distinguished Service Award for her work with the Combined Federal Campaign representing Humanitarian Agencies, 1972
Langley Research Center Outstanding Volunteer Award, 1975
Langley Research Center Volunteer of the Year, 1976
Iota Lambda Sorority Award for the Peninsula Outstanding Woman Scientist, 1976
King Street Community Center Outstanding Award
National Technical Association’s Tribute Award, 1976
Hampton Roads Chapter “Book of Golden Deeds” for service
Langley Research Center Certificate of Appreciation, 1976–1977
Margaret Heafield Hamilton (born Heafield on August 17, 1936), is an American computer scientist, systems engineer, and business owner. She was Director of the Software Engineering Division of the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, which developed on-board flight software for the Apollo space program. In 1986, she became the founder and CEO of Hamilton Technologies, Inc., in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The company was developed around the Universal Systems Language based on her paradigm of Development Before the Fact (DBTF) for systems and software design. Hamilton has published over 130 papers, proceedings, and reports about the 60 projects and six major programs in which she has been involved. On November 22, 2016, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by U.S. President Barack Obama for her work leading the development of on-board flight software for NASA’s Apollo Moon missions.
Margaret Heafield was born in Paoli, Indiana, to Kenneth Heafield and Ruth Esther Heafield (née Partington). After graduating from Hancock High School in 1954, she studied mathematics at the University of Michigan in 1955 and subsequently earned a B.A. in mathematics with a minor in philosophy from Earlham College in 1958. She briefly taught high school mathematics and French upon graduation, in order to support her husband while he worked on his undergraduate degree at Harvard, with the ultimate goal of pursuing a graduate degree at a later time. She moved to Boston, Massachusetts, with the intention of doing graduate study in abstract mathematics at Brandeis University. She cites a female math professor as helping her desire to pursue abstract mathematics. She had other inspirations outside the technological world, including her father, the philosopher and poet, and her grandfather, a school headmaster and Quaker Minister. She says these men inspired her to a minor in philosophy. In 1960 she took an interim position at MIT to develop software for predicting weather on the LGP-30 and the PDP-1 computers (at Marvin Minsky’s Project MAC) for professor Edward Norton Lorenz in the meteorology department. Hamilton wrote that at that time, computer science and software engineering were not yet disciplines; instead, programmers learned on the job with hands-on experience.
From 1961 to 1963, she worked on the SAGE Project at Lincoln Lab, where she was one of the programmers who wrote software for the first AN/FSQ-7 computer (the XD-1), to search for unfriendly aircraft; she also wrote software for the Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratories. SAGE Project he SAGE Project was an extension of Project Whirlwind, started by MIT, to create a computer system that could predict weather systems and track their movements through simulators; SAGE was soon developed for military use in anti-aircraft air defense from potential Soviet attacks during the Cold War. Hamilton said, “What they used to do when you came into this organization as a beginner, was to assign you this program which nobody was able to ever figure out or get to run. When I was the beginner they gave it to me as well. And what had happened was it was tricky programming, and the person who wrote it took delight in the fact that all of his comments were in Greek and Latin. So I was assigned this program and I actually got it to work. It even printed out its answers in Latin and Greek. I was the first one to get it to work.” It was her efforts on this project that made her a candidate for the position at NASA as the lead developer for Apollo flight software.
Working for NASA, Hamilton then joined the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory at MIT, which at the time was working on the Apollo space mission. She eventually led a team credited with developing the software for Apollo and Skylab. Hamilton’s team was responsible for developing in-flight software, which included algorithms designed by various senior scientists for the Apollo command module, lunar lander, and the subsequent Skylab. Another part of her team designed and developed the systems software which included the error detection and recovery software such as restarts and the Display Interface Routines (AKA the Priority Displays) which Hamilton designed and developed. She worked to gain hands-on experience during a time when computer science courses were uncommon and software engineering courses did not exist Her areas of expertise include systems design and software development, enterprise and process modelling, development paradigm, formal systems modeling languages, system-oriented objects for systems modelling and development, automated life-cycle environments, methods for maximizing software reliability and reuse, domain analysis, correctness by built-in language properties, open-architecture techniques for robust systems, full life-cycle automation, quality assurance, seamless integration, error detection and recovery techniques, man-machine interface systems, operating systems, end-to-end testing techniques, and life-cycle management techniques.
Working on Apollo 11,In one of the critical moments of the Apollo 11 mission, the Apollo Guidance Computer together with the on-board flight software averted an abort of the landing on the Moon. Three minutes before the Lunar lander reached the Moon’s surface, several computer alarms were triggered. The computer was overloaded with interrupts caused by incorrectly phased power supplied to the lander’s rendezvous radar. The program alarms indicated “executive overflows”, meaning the guidance computer could not complete all of its tasks in real time and had to postpone some of them. The asynchronous executive designed by J. Halcombe Laning was used by Hamilton’s team to develop asynchronous flight software, because of the flight software’s system-software’s error detection and recovery techniques that included its system-wide “kill and recompute” from a “safe place” restart approach to its snapshot and rollback techniques, the Display Interface Routines (AKA the priority displays) together with its man-in-the-loop capabilities were able to be created in order to have the capability to interrupt the astronauts’ normal mission displays with priority displays of critical alarms in case of an emergency. This depended on our assigning a unique priority to every process in the software in order to ensure that all of its events would take place in the correct order and at the right time relative to everything else that was going on.
Hamilton’s priority alarm displays interrupted the astronauts’ normal displays to warn them that there was an emergency “giving the astronauts a go/no go decision (to land or not to land)”. Jack Garman, a NASA computer engineer in mission control, recognized the meaning of the errors that were presented to the astronauts by the priority displays and shouted, “Go, go!” And on they went. Dr. Paul Curto, senior technologist who nominated Hamilton for a NASA Space Act Award, called Hamilton’s work “the foundation for ultra-reliable software design.” Hamilton wrote of the incident, the computer (or rather the software in it) was smart enough to recognize that it was being asked to perform more tasks than it should be performing. It then sent out an alarm, which meant to the astronaut, I’m overloaded with more tasks than I should be doing at this time and I’m going to keep only the more important tasks, i.e., the ones needed for landing … Actually, the computer was programmed to do more than recognize error conditions. A complete set of recovery programs was incorporated into the software. The software’s action, in this case, was to eliminate lower priority tasks and re-establish the more important ones … If the computer hadn’t recognized this problem and taken recovery action, I doubt if Apollo 11 would have been the successful moon landing it was.
From 1976 through 1984, Hamilton was the CEO of a company she co-founded called Higher Order Software (HOS) to further develop ideas about error prevention and fault tolerance emerging from her experience at MIT. They created a product called USE.IT, based on the HOS methodology developed at MIT. It was successfully used in numerous government projects. One notable project was to formalize and implement the first computable IDEF, C-IDEF for the Air Force, based on HOS as its formal foundation.
One critical assessment contended that, apart from a few independent reviews, the HOS methodology generated little analysis except among consultants associated with the company. That evaluation, conducted by a consultant for the United States Navy asserted that “the HOS literature tends to advertise their ideas and products more than making a contribution in substance to the field of Computer Science.” Edsgar Dijkstra described the USE.IT software as “mechanized aids for the application of obsolete techniques.” A detailed analysis of the HOS theory and AXES language was used by Harel to develop a derived language for a more modern form of structured programming derived from HOS called the And/Or programming language from the viewpoint of and/or subgoals. Referring to Dijkstra’s classic work on structured programming, Harel states: “As will become clear, the “layers” in which the program is arranged, these being in the heart of the idea of structured programming, correspond to the levels of the tree.” Harel goes on to show at that time how HOS and his derived And/Or programming language relates to mathematical logic, game theory and artificial intelligence. Others have used HOS to formalize the semantics of linguistic quantifiers. and to formalize the design of reliable real-time
Hamilton left the company, HOS, in 1985. In March 1986, she became the founder and CEO of Hamilton Technologies, Inc. in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The company was developed around the Universal Systems Language (USL) and its associated automated environment, the 001 Tool Suite, based on her paradigm of Development Before The Fact (DBTF) for systems design and software development.
Hamilton made up the term “software engineering” during the Apollo space mission days During this time at MIT, she wanted to give their software “legitimacy”, just like with other engineering disciplines, so that it (and those building it) would be given its due respect; and, as a result she made up the term “software engineering” to distinguish it from other kinds of engineering. Hamilton details how she came about to make up the term “software engineering”, “When I first came up with the term, no one had heard of it before, at least in our world. It was an ongoing joke for a long time. They liked to kid me about my radical ideas. It was a memorable day when one of the most respected hardware gurus explained to everyone in a meeting that he agreed with me that the process of building software should also be considered an engineering discipline, just like with hardware. Not because of his acceptance of the new ‘term’ per se, but because we had earned his and the acceptance of the others in the room as being in an engineering field in its own right.”
When Hamilton started using the term “software engineering”, software engineering was not taken seriously compared to other engineering, nor was it regarded as a science. She began to use the term “software engineering” during the early Apollo missions in order to give software the legitimacy of other fields such as hardware engineering. Over time the term “software engineering” has gained the same respect as any other discipline. “At MIT she assisted in the creation of the core principles in computer programming as she worked with her colleagues in writing code for the world’s first portable computer”. Hamilton’s innovations go beyond the feats of playing an important role in getting humans to the moon. Hamilton, along with many other female engineers alike, challenged the male dominated technology field of their time, to allow for women to enter in these STEM fields for many years to come.
In 1986, she received the Augusta Ada Lovelace Award by the Association for Women in Computing. This award is given to individuals who have excelled in either (or both) of two areas: 1. Outstanding scientific and technical achievement and 2. Extraordinary service to the computing community through their accomplishments and
contributions on behalf of women in computing. In 2003, she was given the NASA Exceptional Space Act Award for scientific and technical contributions. The award included $37,200, the largest amount awarded to any
individual in NASA’s history. In 2009, she received the Outstanding Alumni Award by Earlham College.
In 2016, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama, the highest civilian honor in the United States.
On April 28, 2017, she received the “Computer History Museum Fellow Award” that honors exceptional men and women whose ideas have changed the world.
In 2017, a “Women of NASA” LEGO set went on sale featuring (among other things) mini-figurines of Hamilton, Mae Jemison, Sally Ride, and Nancy Grace Roman.
She met her husband James Cox Hamilton while at Earlham College. They married in the late 1950s after Hamilton earned her bachelor’s degree. They have a daughter together named Lauren, who subsequently married the billionaire, actor, dancer, and choreographer James Cox Chambers. Lauren said that Margaret was the homecoming queen at Earlham College, and married the class president. During the weekends she would often take Lauren to the lab to allow her to spend time with her daughter. While Lauren slept on the office floor, “her mother programmed away, creating routines that would ultimately be added to the Apollo’s command module computer”.Margaret Hamilton and James Cox Hamilton eventually divorced.
M. Hamilton (1994), “Inside Development Before the Fact,” cover story, Special Editorial Supplement, 8ES-24ES. Electronic Design, Apr. 1994.
M. Hamilton (1994), “001: A Full Life Cycle Systems Engineering and Software Development Environment,” cover story, Special Editorial Supplement, 22ES-30ES.
Electronic Design, Jun. 1994.
M. Hamilton, Hackler, W. R.. (2004), Deeply Integrated Guidance Navigation Unit (DI-GNU) Common Software Architecture Principles (revised Dec. 29 2004), DAAAE30-02-
D-1020 and DAAB07-98-D-H502/0180, Picatinny Arsenal, NJ, 2003–2004.
M. Hamilton and W. R. Hackler (2007), “Universal Systems Language for Preventative Systems Engineering,” Proc. 5th Ann. Conf. Systems Eng. Res. (CSER), Stevens
Institute of Technology, Mar. 2007, paper #36.
M. Hamilton and W. R. Hackler (2007), “A Formal Universal Systems Semantics for SysML”, 17th Annual
International Symposium, INCOSE 2007, San Diego, CA, Jun. 2007.
M. Hamilton and W. R. Hackler (2008), “Universal Systems Language: Lessons Learned from Apollo”, IEEE Computer, Dec. 2008.
— MODERN ERA AND CONTINUING DEVELOPMENT —
Limor “Ladyada” Fried
Limor Fried is an American electrical engineer and owner of the electronics hobbyist company Adafruit Industries. She is influential in the open-source hardware community, having participated in the first Open Source Hardware Summit and the drafting of the Open Source Hardware definition, and is known for her moniker ladyada, an homage to Lady Ada Lovelace.
Career And Recognition
Fried studied at MIT, earning a BS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) in 2003 and a Master of Engineering in EECS in 2005. For part of the qualification she created a project called Social Defense Mechanisms: Tools for Reclaiming Our Personal Space. Following the concept of critical design she prototyped glasses that darken when a television is in view, and a low-power RF jammer that prevent cell phones operating in a user’s personal space.
Fried was an Eyebeam fellow from 2005-2006
During 2005, Fried founded what became Adafruit Industries, first in her MIT dorm room, later moving to New York. The company designs and resells open source electronic kits, components, and tools, mainly for the hobbyist market. In 2010 the company had eight employees and shipped more than $3 million worth of product. The company’s mission extends beyond the adult hobbyist audience to pre-school STEM education.
In 2009, she was awarded the Pioneer Award by the Electronic Frontier Foundation for her participation in the open source hardware and software community. Fried was awarded the Most Influential Women in Technology award, in 2011, by Fast Company magazine. and became the first female engineer featured on the cover of Wired. In an interview with CNET, Fried said, “If there’s one thing I’d like to see from this, it would be for some kids to say to themselves “I could do that” and start the journey to becoming an engineer and entrepreneur.” Limor was named “Entrepreneur of the Year” in 2012 by Entrepreneur, of the 15 finalists she was the only female.
Open Kinect Project
In response to the launch of Microsoft’s Kinect for the Xbox 360 in 2010, Fried, along with Phillip Torrone, organized a $1,000 challenge to create an open source driver. After Microsoft condemned the challenge as modification to their product, Adafruit increased the prize to $2,000 and then $3,000. This prompted a response
from a Microsoft company spokesperson:
Microsoft does not condone the modification of its products … With Kinect, Microsoft built in numerous hardware and software safeguards designed to reduce the chances of product tampering. Microsoft will continue to make advances in these types of safeguards and work closely with law enforcement and product safety groups to keep Kinect tamper-resistant.
After significant advancements in the open source drivers, spokespeople from Microsoft stated that they did not condemn the challenge, and in fact were excited to see what the community developed.
Becky Stern (born January 29, 1985) is an American expert in DIY technology based in New York City. Her work combines electronics, textile crafts, and fashion through the use of physical computing technologies like Arduino, 3D printing, and e-textiles.
Stern was born in Florida and grew up in Ashford, Connecticut. As a child, she developed an interest in and learned crafts by the example of her parents who cooked and practiced various sorts of sewing. Her interest in videography was born when at the age of five and a half she videoed her parents framing an addition to their home. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Design and Technology from Parsons School of Design in 2007. It was there that she developed an interest in electronics and programming by hacking toys and building her own. Around this time Stern started sharing her school projects and tutorials online. Beginning in 2007, Stern began studying interaction design and sculpture at graduate programs at Arizona State University. She returned to New York in 2009 without completing her graduate degree.
From 2007 to 2012 Stern worked as a blogger and senior video producer for MAKE and CRAFT magazines, where she produced tutorials and videos about crafts and how to embed electronics in clothes and home goods.
From 2012 to February 2016, Stern was the director of wearable electronics at NYC-based Adafruit Industries. She then became Content Creator at Instructables.
Stern also holds an adjunct faculty position at School of Visual Arts in New York City, is a fellow with the online Free Art and Technology Lab (F.A.T.), and has
participated in events with the Brooklyn combine Madagascar Institute.
Her work has been featured on G4TV, CNN, Creators Project, Fast Company, Wired, BBC, Business Insider and Forbes.
Stern has shown projects at the San Francisco Museum of Craft & Folk Art (2009), Bildmuseet in Umeå, Sweden, and Gizmodo Gallery
Compubody Knitted Interface (2008) – sweater that fits around the wearer’s head & laptop, providing privacy and warmth.
CAPTCHA Paintings (2008) – hand-painted versions of the CAPTCHA tests used by websites to prevent spam robots.
LilyPad Embroidery (2008) – hand embroidery sampler featuring LilyPad Arduino microcontroller.
TV-B-Gone Jacket (2008/2011) – hoodie with embedded TV-B-Gone remote control and conductive thread zipper switch.
ASCII Heart Necklace (2009) – emoticon pendant from laser-cut silver.
Sparkle Skirt (2013) – motion-activated circuit with sewable components lights up when wearer dances.
Citi Bike Helmet (2013) – GPS and LED bicycle helmet navigates wearer to nearest bike share station.
Firewalker LED Sneakers (2013) – shoes with wrap-around LED strip and pressure sensors animate the wearer’s steps.
RFID Manicure (2014) – NFC tag embedded in nail polish to interact with Android phones.
Carrie Anne Philbin
Carrie Anne Philbin, Director of Education At The Raspberry Pi Foundation.
Director of Education At The Raspberry Pi Foundation, January 2014 – Present,United Kingdom Leading education strategy, cpd programmes, and learning resources at the Raspberry Pi Foundation.
Volunteer Experience & Causes
Chair, CAS #include, April 2011 – Present (7 years 1 month)Education, CAS #include are a group of teachers, academics and professionals who are passionate about giving ALL students the opportunity to study Computer Science, without regard to gender, ethnicity, special educational needs, socio-economic status or disability.
Python Software Foundation
October 2017 – Present (7 months)Education
Python Software Foundation
October 2017 – Present (7 months)Education
Fellows are members who have been nominated for their extraordinary efforts and impact upon Python, the community, and the broader Python ecosystem. Fellows are
nominated from the broader community and elevated by a vote of the members.
Computing At School
October 2015 – Present (2 years 7 months)Education
The mission of Computing At School is to provide leadership and strategic guidance to all those involved in Computing education in schools, with a significant but
not exclusive focus on the Computer Science theme within the wider Computing curriculum. Excellence in the teaching of Computing can only be made by teachers through
the way they deliver the skills, knowledge, understanding and attitudes associated with the curriculum. Through the participation of the wider community we seek to
support and empower each other in an inclusive and self-sustaining body so that each child has the opportunity of an outstanding computer science education. CAS
achieves this by supporting and promoting all those individuals, partner organisations, companies, and university departments who wish to run CAS regional hubs, put
on CPD courses, generate teaching resources etc. that support the Computing curriculum.
Python Software Foundation
June 2015 – June 2017 (2 years 1 month)Science and Technology
The Python Software Foundation is an organisation devoted to advancing open source technology related to the Python programming language. As an elected member of the
board I hope to help advance the education of adults and young people in computer science and related subjects. http://python.org
Honors And Awards
Computer Weekly Third Most Influential Women in UK IT 2017
Computer Weekly has announced the list for Most Influential Women in UK IT 2017, including this year’s winner Sherry Coutu, and is showcasing 50 of the top women in
UK’s technology industry.
Most influential women in UK IT 2016: Rising Stars
Each year the judges of Computer Weekly’s list of the most influential women in UK IT choose five women who are making their way up in the industry and increasing
their profile. In highlighting these great women, the hope is to showcase the names of industry role models who are making a difference in the technology sector.
The “Rising Star” category was added to the judging process of the list of the most influential women in UK, to increase the scope of recognising women who make a
difference to the industry and acknowledge the Rising Stars for their work and potential.
The judges selected five women whose growing influence is likely to make them candidates for the top 50 most influential women in UK IT over the coming years.
Starting April 2014
Free Raspberry Pi flavoured continued professional development for teachers. The Raspberry Picademy is a free professional development experience for primary and
secondary teachers, open to individuals around the world. Over the course of two days, 24 teachers get hands-on with computing here at Pi Towers in Cambridge, and
discover the many ways in which the Raspberry Pi can be used in the classroom. No experience is necessary; the Foundation’s Education Team will help you discover
practical ways in which Raspberry Pi can support and further your teaching of the new curriculum. At the end of the two days, attendees are pronounced Raspberry Pi
Certified Educators and join an active network of teachers from around the world.
Team members: Carrie Anne Philbin
Geek Gurl Diaries
Starting June 2012
The Geek Gurl Diaries are a collection of video logs about using and making technology, along side interviews with inspirational women in the fields of computing,
science, technology and engineering. They also include video contributions from women working in IT and Science, and include ‘Geek Gurl Diaries On Air’ panel
discussions with graduate computer science students on various topics like computer gaming and geek culture.
Team members: Carrie Anne Philbin
Crash Course Computer Science
February 2017 – February 2017
Crash Course is an educational YouTube channel started by the Green brothers, Hank Green and John Green. To date, there are 17 seasons of Crash Course, with Hank
hosting six and John hosting five. Starting February 22nd, Carrie Anne Philbin will be hosting Crash Course Computer Science! In this series, we’re going to trace
the origins of our modern computers, take a closer look at the ideas that gave us our current hardware and software, discuss how and why our smart devices just keep
getting smarter, and even look towards the future! Computers fill a crucial role in the function of our society, and it’s our hope that over the course of this
series you will gain a better understanding of how far computers have taken us and how far they may carry us into the future.
Produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios: http://youtube.com/pbsdigitalstudios
Team members: Carrie Anne Philbin
Too geeky for girls? Tech industry stereotypes are hindering equality
Article written for the Guardian – Teachers are gradually being given the tools to get girls into computer science, but tech companies must pull their weight too
Authors: Carrie Anne Philbin
Adventures in Raspberry Pi
Adventures in Raspberry Pi, 2nd Edition includes 9 cool projects that show you how to set up and start developing on your Raspberry Pi. Updated for the release of
the Rev 3 board, this second edition covers all the latest features and tells you everything you need to know. Written specifically for 11-15 year-olds, this book
uses the wildly successful, Raspberry Pi to explain the fundamentals of computing. You’ll have a blast learning basic programming and system administration skills,
beginning with the very basics of how to plug in the board and turn it on. Each project includes an instructional video so you can jump right in and start going
through the lessons on your own.
Authors: Carrie Anne Philbin.
— VIDEO GAMES AND LESHER APPLICATIONS —
Carol Shaw (born 1955), is a former video game designer, notable for being one of the first female designers in the video game industry. While working at Atari, Inc. in 1978, Shaw designed the unreleased Polo game and designed 3-D Tic-Tac-Toe the same year, both for the Atari 2600. Shaw’s official job title at Atari was Microprocessor software Engineer. Later she joined Activision, where she programmed her best-known game, River Raid. According to the River Raid manual, she is also a “scholar in the field of Computer Science.”
Early Life And Education
Shaw was born in 1955 and was raised in Palo Alto, California. Her father was a mechanical engineer and worked at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. She did not enjoy the stereotypical girl activities as a child like playing with dolls. Instead, she would mess with her brother’s model railroad set. Shaw first became interested in computers in high school when she used a computer for the first time and discovered she could play text-based games on the system. Shaw attended the University of California, Berkeley and graduated with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 1977. She went on to complete a master’s degree in Computer Science at Berkeley.
Shaw was hired at Atari, Inc. in 1978 to work on games for the Atari VCS (later called the 2600). While there she wrote Video Checkers (1978), 3-D Tic-Tac-Toe (1978), and, with Nick Turner, Super Breakout (1978). Co-worker Mike Albaugh later put her on a list of Atari’s “less publicized superstars”:
I would have to include Carol Shaw, who was simply the best programmer of the 6502 and probably one of the best programmers period….in particular, [she] did the  kernels, the tricky bit that actually gets the picture on the screen for a number of games that she didn’t fully do the games for. She was the go-to gal for that sort of stuff.
With Keith Brewster she wrote the Atari BASIC Reference Manual.
She left Atari in 1980 to work for Tandem Computers. Shaw joined Activision in 1982. Her first game was River Raid (1982) for the Atari 2600, which was inspired by the 1981 arcade game Scramble. The game was a major hit for Activision and personally lucrative for Shaw.
Shaw also wrote Happy Trails (1983) for the Intellivision and ported River Raid to the Atari 8-bit family and Atari 5200. She left Activision in 1984.
From 1984-90 Shaw worked at her former employer, Tandem. She took early retirement in 1990 and subsequently did some voluntary work including a position at the Foresight Institute. She has credited the success of River Raid as being a significant factor in enabling her to retire early.
Shaw lives in California and has been married to Ralph Merkle, a researcher in cryptography and nanotechnology since 1983.
In 2017, Shaw won the Industry Icon Award at The Game Awards.
3D Tic-Tac-Toe (Atari, 1978)
Polo (Atari, 1978) unreleased
Super Breakout (Atari, 1978) with Nick Turner
Video Checkers (Atari, 1978)
Othello (Atari, 1978) with Ed Logg, re-released in Taiwan as Chess
River Raid (Activision, 1982)
Happy Trails (Activision, 1983)
Atari 8-bit family
Calculator (Atari, 1979)
River Raid (Activision, 1983) port from 2600 to Atari 8-bit and 5200
Dona Bailey is an American game programmer and educator who, along with Ed Logg in 1981, created the arcade video game Centipede.
As a young programmer Bailey was hired by General Motors and trained in assembly language programming. She worked there for two years on displays, and microprocessor-based cruise control systems. She became interested in Space Invaders and the world of arcade games, another application of the work she was doing at GM. She found out that Atari was using the same microprocessor in its games.
In 1980, Bailey joined Atari’s coin-op division, where she was the only woman. In an interview Bailey recalled that Atari had a notebook of possible game ideas at the time. Of the 30 or so entries the only one without “lasering or frying things” was a short description of a bug winding down the screen. “It didn’t seem bad to shoot a bug”.
Bailey left Atari in 1982 and went to work at Videa (later renamed Sente Technologies), founded by three former Atari employees. In 2007, she was the keynote speaker at the Women in Games International Conference. Bailey holds M.Ed. and M.A. degrees and taught as a faculty member in the department of Rhetoric and Writing at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock until her retirement.
The Big Cat
Roberta Williams (born February 16, 1953 – present) is an American video game designer, writer, and a co-founder of Sierra On-Line (later known as Sierra Entertainment), who developed her first game while living in Simi Valley, California. She is most famous for her work in the field of graphic adventure games with titles such as Mystery House, the King’s Quest series, and Phantasmagoria. She is married to Ken Williams and retired from her career in 1999. Roberta Williams is one of the most influential PC game designers of the 1980s and 1990s, and has been credited with creating the graphic adventure genre.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Roberta and her husband, Ken Williams, were leading figures in the development of graphical adventure games. In 1980, they founded the company On-Line Systems, which later became Sierra On-Line. The first Williams’ title was Mystery House (1980), the first graphical adventure game. The second title, Wizard and the Princess (1980), added color graphics. But the first serious success was the King’s Quest series, which featured a “large expansive world” that could be explored by players. After that, Roberta Williams designed such titles as Mixed-Up Mother Goose (1987), The Colonel’s Bequest (1989), and Phantasmagoria (1995), which was the first in her career to be developed in the full-motion video technology. Phantasmagoria featured extreme violence and rape scenes. The game has received mixed reviews. Though Sierra was sold in 1996, Williams’ production credits date to 1999, when she retired from Sierra On-Line. Roberta posed for the cover of the game Softporn Adventure by Chuck Benton, published by On-line Systems. She also posed much later with her children as Mother Goose for the cover photograph of Mixed-Up Mother Goose. The end sequence of Leisure Suit Larry 3 features her as an in-game character.
Ars Technica stated that Roberta Williams was “one of the more iconic figures in adventure gaming”. GameSpot named her as the number ten in their list of “the most influential people in computer gaming of all time” for pushing the envelope of graphic adventures” and being “especially proactive in creating games from a woman’s point of view, and titles that appealed to the mainstream market, all the while integrating the latest technologies in graphics and sound wherever possible.” In 1997, Computer Gaming World ranked her as number 10 on the list of the most influential people of all time in computer gaming for adventure game design. In 2009, IGN placed the Williams at 23rd position on the list of top game creators of all time, expressing hope that “maybe one day, we’ll see the Williams again as well.”
Since her retirement in 1999 (stated at the time to be a “sabbatical”), she has stayed away from the public eye and rarely gives interviews to talk about her past with Sierra On-Line. However, in a 2006 interview, she admitted that her favorite game she created was Phantasmagoria and not King’s Quest: “If I could only pick one game, I would pick Phantasmagoria, as I enjoyed working on it immensely and it was so very challenging (and I love to be challenged!). However, in my heart, I will always love the King’s Quest series and, especially, King’s Quest I, since it was the game that really ‘made’ Sierra On-Line.
In a 2006 interview, Williams said that designing computer games was in the past for her then and that she intended to write a historical novel. However, in 2011, the video game website Gamezebo reported that Roberta Williams was working on a social network game Odd Manor.
As a young, timid only child Roberta was known to have a wild imagination. Unlike most kids, she would make up elaborate stories, which she called her “movies” and use them to entertain her family. Later on in high school, she met her future husband, Ken Williams, at the age of 17. In Petter Holmberg’s biography he shares the couple’s story about how Roberta and Ken met. Petter says, “She was dating a friend of his and two months after a double date where they had both met, Ken unexpectedly called her and asked her out. Roberta wasn’t very impressed with him in the beginning. He was shy and insecure, like her, but also overly pushy at times. He asked her to go steady the first week. It took some time, but at one point Roberta suddenly realized that he was very intelligent and quite different from the other boys she had dated. Ken wanted them to have a permanent commitment and they got married when Roberta was only 19 years old,” on November 4, 1972. They have two children, D.J. (born 1973) and Chris (born 1979). The Williams family now has homes in Seattle, France and Mexico and they spend most of their time traveling on their family-owned yacht.
Mystery House (1980)
Wizard and the Princess (1980)
Mission Asteroid (1981)
Time Zone (1982)
The Dark Crystal (1983)
King’s Quest I: Quest for the Crown (1984)
Mickey’s Space Adventure (1984)
King’s Quest II: Romancing the Throne (1985)
King’s Quest III: To Heir Is Human (1986)
King’s Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella (1988)
Mixed-Up Mother Goose (1987)
Laura Bow: The Colonel’s Bequest (1989)
King’s Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder! (1990)
King’s Quest 1: Quest for the Crown (Remake) (1990)
Mixed-Up Mother Goose Multimedia (1990)
Laura Bow in The Dagger of Amon Ra (1992)
King’s Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow (1992)
King’s Quest VII: The Princeless Bride (1994)
Mixed-Up Mother Goose Deluxe (1994)
King’s Quest: Mask of Eternity (1998)
Odd Manor (2014)
Industry Icon Award (2014).
Jane Jensen (born January 28, 1963 in Palmerton, Pennsylvania), is an American video game designer and author. She is mostly known as the creator of the Gabriel Knight series of adventure games, and also co-founded Oberon Media and Pinkerton Road video game development companies. Jensen also writes under the name Eli Easton.
Jane Jensen was born Jane Elizabeth Smith, the youngest of seven children. She received a BA in computer science from Anderson University in Indiana and worked as a systems programmer for Hewlett-Packard. Jensen owns a farm in Pennsylvania where she lives with her husband, composer Robert Holmes, who composed the music for the
Gabriel Knight series and Gray Matter.
Her love of both computers and creative writing eventually led her to the computer gaming industry and Sierra OnLine where she worked as a writer on Police Quest III: The Kindred and EcoQuest: The Search for Cetus. After co-designing King’s Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow with veteran game designer Roberta Williams,
Jensen designed her first solo game: Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers, which was released in 1993. The dark, supernatural mystery was a departure for Sierra but the game was enthusiastically received, with the strength of Jensen’s writing, along with the game’s horror and gothic sensibilities coming in for particular praise
from the gaming press and earning the Computer Gaming World’s “Adventure Game of the Year” award.
Jensen followed up Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers with two sequels: The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery in 1995 and Gabriel Knight 3: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned in 1999. Somewhat unusually for an adventure game series, each Gabriel Knight title was produced in an entirely different format to the
others. Whereas the original was a traditional 2D animated game, the sequels were realised through full motion video and a custom built 3D engine, respectively. Despite further acclaim for Jensen’s design in both cases (The Beast Within too was Computer Gaming World’s “Game of the Year”), the large expenses associated with
making the sequels, coupled with the declining marketability of adventure games (especially within Sierra) meant that a fourth in the series was not commissioned.
In 1996, Jensen published a novelization of the first Gabriel Knight game. A second Gabriel Knight novelization followed in 1998. In 1999, Jensen published her first non-adapted novel, Millennium Rising (later retitled Judgment Day). Her fourth book, Dante’s Equation was published in 2003 and was nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award.
Jensen has been involved in designing casual online games at Oberon Media, of which she is a co-founder. Her work in the hidden object/light adventure category can partially be credited with moving casual games in the direction of full adventure games in puzzle and story sophistication. Some of her more notable recent games
include Deadtime Stories (2009) and Dying for Daylight (2010). After leaving Oberon in 2011, she briefly worked at Zynga.
Jensen’s next big adventure game Gray Matter was developed by Wizarbox and published by dtp entertainment in 2010. The game, originally intended to be developed by Hungarian software house Tonuzaba, switched to another developer, French company Wizarbox in 2008: as a result, the tentative release was changed and shifted to 2010. Jensen was also a story consultant on Phoenix Online Studios’ 2012 adventure game Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller.
On April 5, 2012, Jensen and her husband Robert Holmes announced the formation of Pinkerton Road, a new game development studio to be headquartered on their Lancaster, Pennsylvania farm. With this announcement, a Kickstarter campaign was launched to raise funds for the studio’s first year of game development. In 2014, Pinkerton released their first games, Moebius: Empire Rising and Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers 20th Anniversary Edition.
Since 2013, Jensen has written gay romance fiction under the pen name “Eli Easton”. The Lion and the Crow was written for the Goodreads M/M Romance event “Love has No Boundaries” in 2013, and later expanded and rereleased as a second edition in e-book and audiobook.
EcoQuest: The Search for Cetus (1991) (writer)
Police Quest III: The Kindred (1991) (writer)
The Dagger of Amon Ra (1992) (voice actor)
King’s Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow (1992) (co-designer, co-writer)
Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers (1993) (designer, director, writer)
Pepper’s Adventures in Time (1993) (designer)
The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery (1995) (designer, writer)
Gabriel Knight 3: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned (1999) (designer, writer)
Inspector Parker (2003) (designer)
BeTrapped! (2004) (designer)
Agatha Christie: Death on the Nile (2007) (designer, director)
Agatha Christie: Peril at End House (2007) (designer, director)
Women’s Murder Club: Death in Scarlet (2007) (designer, director)
Dr. Lynch: Grave Secrets (2008) (designer, director)
Women’s Murder Club: A Darker Shade of Grey (2008) (designer, director)
Agatha Christie: Dead Man’s Folly (2009) (creative director)
Women’s Murder Club: Twice in a Blue Moon (2009) (designer, director)
Deadtime Stories (2009) (creator, designer, director)
Gray Matter (2010) (designer, writer)
Dying for Daylight (2011) (designer, director)
Hidden Chronicles (2012) (co-writer)
Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller (2012-2013) (story consultant)
Moebius: Empire Rising (2014) (creator, designer, director, writer)
Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers 20th Anniversary Edition (2014) (creative director, designer)
Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers (Roc, 1997)
The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery (Roc, 1998)
Millennium Rising (Judgment Day) (Del Rey, 1999)
Dante’s Equation (Del Rey, 2003)
Kingdom Come – An Elizabeth Harris Novel (Berkley, 2016)
In the Land of Milk and Honey – An Elizabeth Harris Novel (Berkley, 2016)
Gabriel Knight: The Temptation (Phoenix Online Publishing, 2014-15)
As Eli Easton
“A Kiss in the Dark” (2013) (a novella part of Closet Capers anthology)
Before I Wake (2013)
The Lion and the Crow (2013)
The Trouble with Tony (2013)
Puzzle Me This (2013)
“Caress” (2013) (a novella part of Steamed Up anthology)
Blame it on the Mistletoe (2013)
A Prairie Dog’s Love Song (2013)
The Enlightenment of Daniel (2013)
“Reparation” (2014) (a novella part of Stitch anthology)
Heaven Can’t Wait (2014)
The Mating of Michael (2014)
“The Bird” (2014) (a novella part of Bones anthology)
Unwrapping Hank (2014)
A Midwinter Night’s Dream (2015)
How to Howl at the Moon (2015)
How to Walk like a Man (2015)
“Among the Dead” (2015) (a novella part of Spirit anthology)
The Stolen Suitor (2016)
A Second Harvest (2016)
Falling Down (2016)
Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles (2016)
— ENTERPRISE AND SOCIAL MEDIA —
Martha Lane Fox
Martha Lane Fox, Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho, CBE (born 10 February 1973), is a British businesswoman, philanthropist and public servant. Lane Fox co-founded Lastminute.com in the dotcom boom of the early 2000s and has subsequently served on public service digital projects. She is a board member of Twitter, and mydeco.com, and chairs the board of the digital skills charity, Go ON UK and was on the board of Channel 4 from 2007 to 2011.
Lane Fox joined the House of Lords as a crossbencher on 26 March 2013, becoming its youngest female member. Lane Fox was also appointed as Chancellor of the Open University as of 12 March 2014. Lane Fox is a convenor of the cross-party political movement, More United.
Born in Oxford, Lane Fox is the daughter of the academic and gardening writer Robin Lane Fox. She was educated at Oxford High School, an all-girls independent school in Oxford, and at Westminster School, an all-boys public school in London with a mixed-sex sixth form. She read ancient and modern history at Magdalen College, Oxford, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree.
After university she showed interest in acting and prison governorship but joined the consulting firm Spectrum, involved in IT and media companies. Her first project was for British Telecom called “What is the Internet?” Here she met Brent Hoberman, a fellow employee.
In 1998, Lane Fox and Hoberman founded Lastminute.com, an online travel and gift business that generated great publicity, floating at the peak of the dot-com bubble. On 20 November 2003, it was announced that she would step down as managing director of Lastminute.com. The company survived the dotcom crash to be bought for £577m in 2005, by Sabre Holdings. Lane Fox’s personal share holding at the time the company was bought was worth £13 million.
On 28 December 2003, it was reported by The Sunday Telegraph and other media that Lane Fox would join Selfridges, which had been bought by Galen Weston, and take over the day-to-day running of the business, but this had not occurred by the time of her car accident in 2004.
In 2005, Julian Douglas, an advertising executive, suggested launching a private karaoke bar in London. Together with Nick Thistleton she launched a private karaoke company, Lucky Voice, with a club in Soho, London. The company has seven bars in the United Kingdom, an online application, and an additional product to be used with
In 2007 Lane Fox joined the board of Marks & Spencer as a non-executive director. She is also on the board of Channel 4. In 2007 Lane Fox joined the board of an interior design and furniture website, mydeco.com, the start-up venture of her lastminute.com partner, Brent Hoberman.
On 16 June 2009, she was appointed the UK Government’s Digital Inclusion Champion to head a two-year campaign to make the British public more computer literate. She has argued that “I don’t think you can be a proper citizen of our society in the future if you are not engaged online.”
On 22 March 2010 her government role was expanded when it was announced that she would set up a new Digital Public Services Unit within the Cabinet Office.
In June 2010, the incoming Government asked Lane Fox to expand her role as UK Digital Champion to advise how online public services delivery could help to provide better and more efficient services, as well as getting more people online. She was invited to sit on the Cabinet Office Efficiency and Reform Board. In July 2010 David Cameron hosted an event at 10 Downing Street to celebrate her Manifesto for a Networked Nation – a challenge for people and organisations in every sector and every corner of the country to work together to inspire, encourage and support as many new people as possible to get online by the end of 2012. By the beginning of 2011 the Race Online 2012 campaign had over 1000 partners pledging to reach almost 2 million adults. In November 2013, she resigned as UK digital champion after three years, stating “I feel it is now time I step down from that role. As Chair of Go ON UK, I will focus my efforts on the vital issue of building digital skills.”
In April 2012, Lane Fox launched Go ON UK, a charity focused on making the UK the world’s most digitally skilled nation. Go ON UK wants every individual,small business and charity to have the skills and confidence to benefit from new digital services. Lane Fox currently chairs the Go ON UK board.
Lane Fox entered the House of Lords as a crossbencher on 26 March 2013, becoming its youngest female member. In her maiden speech she addressed the need for skills and understanding of the digital world in all parts of the UK economy. She highlighted the lack of skills at the top of corporate, public and political life, leading to “a lack of high quality decisions about our future—a future where so much will inevitably revolve around technology. Only four FTSE 100 businesses have a CTO or digital executive on their plc board and yet all these businesses face huge upheavals”.
The Open University appointed her as Chancellor in March 2014, with effect from September 2014.
In August 2014, Lane Fox was one of 200 signatories to a letter to The Guardian opposing Scottish independence in the run-up to September’s referendum on that issue.
In 2015, Lane Fox delivered the Richard Dimbleby Lecture on the theme of “dot everyone”.
In April 2016, Lane Fox joined the board of US-based social network Twitter.
Lane Fox is an advocate of causes such as human rights, women’s rights and social justice. In 2007 she founded Antigone, a grant-making trust to support charities based in the UK.
She is a patron of Reprieve, a legal action charity, which made the news during its involvement in the release of a UK resident, Binyam Mohammed, from Guantanamo Bay. Lane Fox is also a patron of Camfed, which is dedicated to fighting poverty, HIV and AIDS in rural Africa through the education of girls and young women.
When the telecom company Orange withdrew its 17-year-long support for the Orange Prize for women’s fiction, Lane Fox was one of several benefactors, along with Cherie Blair and Joanna Trollope, who offered financial support to keep the prize going until another major sponsor was found, to be known, pro tem, as the Women’s Prize for Fiction,
Honours And Assessment
Lane Fox was appointed Commander of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for “services to the digital economy and charity”. In February 2013 she was assessed as one of the 100 most powerful women in the United Kingdom by Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4. In the same month it was announced that she was to be created a life peer in the House of Lords as a crossbencher.
On 25 March 2013, she was raised to the peerage as Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho, of Soho in the City of Westminster and was introduced in the House of Lords the next day. Her surname is not hyphenated, but her title is.
On 29 October 2015, Fox was listed by UK-based company Richtopia at number 15 in the list of 100 Most Influential British Entrepreneurs.
In February 2016, Fox was made a Distinguished Fellow of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, by HRH, The Duke of Kent, BCS’s patron.
Lane Fox lives in Marylebone, London, with her long-term partner Chris Gorell Barnes.
In May 2004 she was severely injured in a car accident in the tourist resort of Essaouira in Morocco, and she was flown to England for treatment. She was discharged from hospital in December 2005 after recovering at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, and later at Wellington Hospital in London. She had skin grafts, and fractured bones were held in position with internal metal supports.
Margaret Cushing “Meg” Whitman, born August 4, 1956, is an American business executive, political activist and donor. Whitman is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, as well as the Chairwoman of HP Inc. A native of Cold Spring Harbor, New York, Whitman is a graduate of princeton University, New Jersey, and Harvard Business School, Massachusetts. Whitman served as an executive in The Walt Disney Company, where she was Vice President of Strategic Planning throughout the 1980s. In the 1990s, Whitman served as an executive for DreamWorks, Procter & Gamble, and Hasbro. Whitman served as President and Chief Executive Officer of eBay, from 1998 to 2008. During Whitman’s 10 years with the company, she oversaw its expansion from 30 employees and $4 million in annual revenue, to more than 15,000 employees and $8 billion in annual revenue. In 2014, Whitman was named 20th in Forbes List of the 100 Most Powerful Women in the World.
In 2008, Whitman was cited by The New York Times as among the women most likely to become the first female President of the United States. In February 2009, Whitman announced her candidacy for Governor of California, becoming the third woman in a 20-year period to run for the office. Whitman won the Republican primary in June 2010. The fourth-wealthiest woman in the state of California with a net worth of $1.3 billion in 2010, she spent more of her own money on the race than any other political candidate spent on a single election in American history, spending $144 million of her own fortune and $178.5 million in total, including money from donors. Whitman was defeated by Democratic former Governor Jerry Brown in the 2010 California gubernatorial election by 54% to 41%.
Beginning her career in 1979 as a brand manager at Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati, Ohio. Whitman later moved on to work as a consultant at Bain & Company’s San Francisco office. She then rose through the ranks to achieve the position of senior vice president. Whitman became vice president of strategic planning at The Walt Disney Company in 1989. Two years later she joined the Stride Rite Corporation, before becoming president and CEO of Florists’ Transworld Delivery in 1995.
As Hasbro’s Playskool Division General Manager, she oversaw global management and marketing of two children’s brands, Playskool and Mr. Potato Head starting in January 1997. She also imported the UK’s children’s television show Teletubbies into the U.S.
eBay, Whitman joined eBay on March 1998, when it had 30 employees and revenues of approximately $4 million. During her time as CEO, the company grew to approximately 15,000 employees and $8 billion in annual revenue by 2008. Originally, when Whitman had joined eBay, she found the website as a simple black and white webpage with courier font. On her first day, the site crashed for eight hours. She believed the site to be confusing and began by building a new executive team. Whitman organized the company by splitting it into twenty-three business categories. She then assigned executives to each, including some 35,000 subcategories.In 2004, Whitman made several key changes in her management team. Jeff Jordon took over PayPal, Matt Bannick took control of international operations and Bill Cobb was placed in control of U.S. operations, which has the colorful U.S. logo, while each international site has unique branding. Whitman picked John J. Donahoe for eBay in March 2005 as President of eBay Marketplaces, responsible for all elements of eBay’s global ecommerce businesses.
During Whitman’s tenure as CEO, eBay completed the purchase of Skype for $4.1B in cash and stock in September 2005. eBay later admitted that it had overpaid and, in 2009, eBay sold Skype to a group of investors led by Silver Lake Partners at a valuation of $2.75B. In 2011, after the first papers were filed for a possible IPO, Microsoft purchased Skype for US$8.5B. In June 2007, while preparing for an interview with Reuters, Whitman allegedly shoved her subordinate, communications employee Young Mi Kim. Of the incident, Whitman related, “In any high-pressure working environment, tensions can surface.” Kim also stated, “Yes, we had an unfortunate incident, but we resolved it in a way that speaks well for her and for eBay.” The matter was resolved after a $200,000 settlement. Whitman resigned as CEO of eBay in November 2007, but remained on the board and served as an advisor to new CEO John Donahoe until late 2008. She was inducted into the U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 2008. “I’ve said for some time that 10 years is roughly the right time to stay at the helm at a company like ours”, she said in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, adding that “it’s time for new leadership, a new perspective and a new vision.”
Whitman has received numerous awards and accolades for her work at eBay. On more than one occasion, she was named among the top five most powerful women by Fortune magazine. Harvard Business Review named her the eighth-best-performing CEO of the past decade and the Financial Times named her as one of the 50 faces that
shaped the decade.
Whitman also served on the board of directors of the eBay Foundation, Summit Public Schools, Procter & Gamble and DreamWorks SKG, until early 2009. She was appointed to the board of Goldman Sachs in October 2001 and then resigned in December 2002, amidst controversy that she had received shares in several public offerings managed by Goldman Sachs, although she denied any wrongdoing. (see Ties to Goldman Sachs for further detail). In March 2011, she was appointed a part-time special adviser at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. She has also joined the boards of Zipcar and Teach For America, and re-joined the board of Procter & Gamble.
Hewlett-Packard In January 2011, Whitman joined Hewlett-Packard’s board of directors. She was named CEO on September 22, 2011. As well as renewing focus on HP’s Research & Development division, Whitman’s major decision during her first year as CEO has been to retain and recommit the firm to the PC business that her predecessor announced he was considering discarding.
In May 2013, Bloomberg L.P. named Whitman “Most Underachieving CEO” along with Apple’s CEO Tim Cook (ranked 12) and IBM’s Virginia Rometty (ranked 10) — whose stocks have all turned in the worst numbers relative to the broader market since the beginning of each CEO’s tenure. HP’s stock led the list by underperforming by 30
percentage points since Whitman took the job.
Whitman founded a charitable foundation with husband Harsh on December 21, 2006, by donating to it 300,000 shares of eBay stock worth $9.4 million. By the end of its first year of operation, the Griffith R. Harsh IV and Margaret C Whitman Charitable Foundation had $46 million in assets and has disbursed $125,000 to charitable
causes. Most of the money disbursed went to the Environmental Defense Fund. In 2010, Warren Buffett asked Whitman to join the Giving Pledge in which billionaires would commit to donating half of their money to charity, and Whitman declined. In 2011, the foundation donated $2.5 million to Summit Public Schools, which operates
several charter schools in the San Jose area.
Marissa Ann Mayer, born May 30, 1975, is an American information technology executive, currently serving as the president of Yahoo, a position she has held since July 2012. In January 2017, it was announced that she stepped down from the company’s board to serve principally as CEO of the company. She is a graduate of Stanford, and was a long-time executive, usability leader, and key spokesperson for Google.
Google, After graduating from Stanford, Mayer received 14 job offers, including a teaching job at Carnegie Mellon University and a consulting job at McKinsey & Company. She joined Google in 1999 as employee number 20 and was the company’s first female engineer. She started out writing code and overseeing small teams of engineers, developing and designing Google’s search offerings. She became known for her attention to detail which helped land her a promotion to product manager, and later became director of consumer web products. She oversaw the layout of Google’s well-known, unadorned search homepage. She was also on the three-person team responsible for Google AdWords, which is an algorithm used by advertisers to get insight into the products consumers want. AdWords helped deliver 96% of the company’s revenue in the first quarter of 2011. In 2002, Mayer started the Associate Product Manager (APM) program, a Google mentorship program aimed to recruit new talents and cultivate and train them for leadership roles within the company. Each year, Mayer selected a number of junior employees for the two-year program, which would see them take on a number of extracurricular assignments and intensive evening classes. Notable graduates of the program include Bret Taylor and Justin Rosenstein. In 2005 she became Vice President of Search Products and User Experience. Mayer held key roles in Google Search, Google Images, Google News, Google Maps, Google Books, Google Product Search, Google Toolbar, iGoogle, and Gmail. Mayer was the vice president of Google Product Search until the end of 2010, when she was demoted by then-CEO Eric Schmidt to head the Local, Maps, and Location Services. In 2011, she secured Google’s acquisition of survey site Zagat for $125 million. While Mayer was working at Google, she taught introductory computer programming at Stanford and mentored students at the East Palo Alto Charter School. She was awarded the Centennial Teaching Award and the Forsythe Award from Stanford.
Yahoo, On July 16, 2012, Mayer was appointed president and CEO of Yahoo!, effective the following day. She is also a member of the company’s board of directors. To simplify the bureaucratic process and “make the culture the best version of itself”, Mayer launched a new online program called PB&J. It collects employee complaints, as well as their votes on problems in the office; if a problem generates at least 50 votes, online management automatically investigates the matter. In February 2013, Mayer oversaw a major personnel policy change at Yahoo! that required all remote-working employees to convert to in-office roles. Having worked from home toward the end of her pregnancy, Mayer returned to work after giving birth to a boy, and had a nursery built next to her office suite—Mayer was consequently criticized for the telecommuting ban. In April 2013, Mayer changed Yahoo!’s maternity leave policy, lengthening its time allowance and providing a cash bonus to parents. CNN noted this was in line with other Silicon Valley companies, such as Facebook and Google. Mayer has been criticized for many of her anagement decisions in pieces by The New York Times and The New Yorker. On May 20, 2013, Mayer led Yahoo! to acquire Tumblr in a $1.1 billion acquisition. In February 2016, Yahoo! acknowledged that the value of Tumblr had fallen by $230 million since it was acquired. In July 2013, Yahoo! reported a fall in revenues, but a rise in profits compared with the same period in the previous year. Reaction on Wall Street was muted, with shares falling 1.7%. In September 2013, it was reported that the stock price of Yahoo! had doubled over the 14 months since Mayer’s appointment. However, much of this growth may be attributed to Yahoo!’s stake in the Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group, which was acquired before Mayer’s tenure.
In November 2013, Mayer instituted a performance review system based on a bell curve ranking of employees, suggesting that managers rank their employees on a bell curve, with those at the low end being fired. Employees complained that some managers were viewing the process as mandatory. In February 2016, a former Yahoo! employee filed a lawsuit against the company claiming that Yahoo’s firing practices have violated both California and federal labor laws. In 2014, Mayer was ranked sixth on Fortune’s 40 under 40 list, and was ranked the 16th most-powerful businesswoman in the world that year according to the same publication. In March 2016 Fortune would name Mayer as one of the world’s most disappointing leaders. Yahoo! stocks continued to fall by more than 30% throughout 2015, while 12 key executives left the company. In December 2015, the New York-based hedge fund SpringOwl, a shareholder in Yahoo Inc., released a statement arguing that Mayer be replaced as CEO. Starboard Value, an activist investing firm that owns a stake in Yahoo, likewise wrote a scathing letter regarding Mayer’s performance at Yahoo. By January 2016, it was further estimated that Yahoo!’s core business has been worth less than zero dollars for the past few quarters. In February 2016, Mayer confirmed that Yahoo! was considering the possibility of selling its core business. In March 2017, it was revealed that Mayer would lose her CEO job and receive a $23 million termination package upon the sale of Yahoo! to Verizon.
Boards And Honors
As well as sitting on the boards of directors of Walmart, Jawbone, and Yahoo! Mayer also sits on several non-profit boards such as Cooper–Hewitt, National Design Museum, New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Mayer actively invests in technology companies, including crowd-sourced design retailer Minted, live video platform Airtime, wireless power startup uBeam, online DIY community/e-commerce company Brit + Co.,mobile payments processor Square, home décor site One Kings Lane, genetic testing company Natera, and nootropics and biohacking company Nootrobox.
Mayer was named to Fortune magazine’s annual list of America’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 with ranks at 50, 44, 42, 38, 14 and 8 respectively. In 2008, at age 33, she was the youngest woman ever listed. Mayer was named one of Glamour Magazine’s Women of the Year in 2009. She was
listed in Forbes Magazine’s List of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women in 2012, 2013 and 2014, with ranks of 20, 32 and 18 respectively. In September 2013, Mayer became the first CEO of a Fortune 500 company to be featured in a Vogue magazine spread. In 2013, she was also named in the Time 100 and became the first woman listed as number one on Fortune magazine’s annual list of the top 40 business stars under 40 years old. Mayer eventually made Fortune magazine history in 2013, as the only person to feature in all three of its annual lists during the same year: Businessperson of the Year (No. 10), Most Powerful Women (at No. 8), and 40 Under 40 (No. 1) at the same time. On 24 December 2015, Mayer was listed by UK-based company Richtopia at number 14 in the list of 500 Most Influential CEO’s. In March 2016, in contrast, Fortune named Mayer as one of the world’s most disappointing leaders
— NOTABLE ORGANIZATIONS IN COMPUTING WITH REGARD TO WOMEN —
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 In 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.
— Bibliography / Sources —
A bibliography is an alphabetized list of sources that have been used to compile data, typically in an article, essay, or research paper. This list is found at the end of the work and allows the person reviewing the data to verify the veracity of the statements and/or figures presented in the data itself.
NB : I Have provided this preliminary bibliography for the interim as this is still a work in progress (WIP), and is by no means exhaustive.
Sadie Plant – Zeros And Ones – 1998
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