March 8 is International Women’s Day which is the perfect opportunity to recognize all the fantastic women of the past who have influenced the world of tech. Many of these women have faced adversity in pursuit of their dreams but they didn’t let that stop them from achieving amazing things!
Considered by many to the be the first computer programmer, Ada Lovelace’s work related to the “Analytical Engine” - the prototype computer of the 1840’s. While many others at the time thought that this “computing machine” only function was computation, Ada recognized the larger potential and published a series of notes that are considered the first published algorithm.
One of six women tasked with programming the ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer), aka one of the earliest types of computer. Betty Holberton was also part of the team that was responsible for designing both the UNIVAC and the BINAC (the first commercial electronic computers). Apparently not the best sleeper, it was said that Betty: “solved more problems in her sleep than other people did awake”!
While Hedy Lamarr is more well known for her acting career, we’re going to focus on her achievements as an inventor instead. Although she had no formal education, Lamarr was a lifelong inventor, always curious about learning and improving technology. Part of a team that developed a patented torpedo jamming system for the Allies during World War II - this technology didn’t get the attention it deserved until the 1960’s. A few little known technologies like GPS, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi were all developed in part thanks to Lamarr’s invention.
Dorothy Vaughan has become a more well known name recently thanks to the success of the film “Hidden Figures”. Vaughan worked for NACA (a predecessor to NASA) and NASA for almost 30 years. During her tenure there, she taught herself FORTRAN and also taught the programming language to her co-workers as well. Before retiring from NASA, Vaughan was the head of the the programming section of the Analysis and Computation Division.
Computer scientist and United States Navy rear admiral, talk about impressive! Grace Hopper was one of the pioneering workers on the Harvard Mark I, as well as popularized computer programming and computer programming languages. Without Grace, there would be no COBOL and without COBOL the world of data processing (including industries like banking) would look very different.
Among her many achievements, including a Ph.D in in biochemistry from Purdue University, Elizabeth “Jake” Feinler was a pioneer on the development of world wide web. She was responsible for classifying all the original web domains that were organized into category types including: .mil, .gov, .edu, .org, and .com.
Happy International Women’s Day from Lighthouse Labs!
About International’s Women’s Day - From www.internationalwomensday.com
International Women's Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. International Women's Day (IWD) has occurred for well over a century, with the first March 8 IWD gathering supported by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. Prior to this the Socialist Party of America, United Kingdom's Suffragists and Suffragettes, and further groups campaigned for women equality. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not country, group or organisation specific. Make IWD your day! - everyday!