Kathleen Barker March 16, 2018
Computer 9 Mrs. Mariano
Women in the History of Computers and how it Impacted the World
From the beginning of computer history, women played a huge part in the evolution of computers, and the way they are now. Although we usually see men in the spotlight when it comes to computers and technology, many women are the actual brains. Many women impacted the computers and technology, including Ada Lovelace, Susan Kare, Hedy Lamarr, Grace Hopper, Mary Lou Jepson, Roberta Williams, andMarissa Mayer. Even if some of these women didn’t do anything directly impacting computers, their work was used to better computers until they became are what they are today.
All of these women impacted the world of computers and technology in one way or another. One of these women was Ada Lovelace. Ada started her work in computers in 1843, when she helped Charles Babbage. She documented his computer, though at the time they never realized what it could become. Ada added extensive noted to the Italian mathematician Luigi Menabrea’s French document while she translated it to English. She included the first computer algorithm ever. This Analytical Engine was made to count numbers, but funds never came in to help Babbage build his machine. Ada saw potential in the computer for even more than it was intended for. In 1852, Ada died of uterine cancer when she was 36. For years, her work wasn’t noticed, but now that is has been, she is celebrated every year. The day she is celebrated on is Ada Lovelace Day. One of her descendants, Honora Smith, is going down a career in math and computer science.
Another women who impacted the world of computers with her achievements is Susan Kane. Susan was the designer who brought the Apple computer to reality. She used sophisticated typography and amazing graphing skills. She worked alongside Steve Jobs, and she shaped many interface parts of the Mac, which is now a common idem today. She found the command icon, while looking through a book full of different symbols. She created the Happy Mac icon. This icon greets users when they open up their device. She also created the trash can icon. This allows the user to “throw away” any unwanted files. Susan helped make the computer more like one of your friends than a machine. Susan didn’t only work with Apple. In the 1980’s, she left Apple for Microsoft. She used her design skills to create a more “human” Windows 3.0 system. Susan also helped Facebook with “digital gifts” including a nice rubber duck. Most recently, she worked on online media company Glam Media. She served as co-founder as well as creative director. Present-day, Susan owns her own digital design firm kare.com, which is in San Francisco. She also sells print designs on kareprints.com.
Hedy Lamarr is yet another women whose impact on technology shaped the computers we use today. Hedy was largely known as the “screen star of the 1920s.” Hedy conceptualized frequency hopping. This is a method that sends radio signals of different frequency channels. Hedy worked alongside George Antheil. They developed the technology originally used to help Navy soldiers remotely control their torpedoes. This helped the Navy communicate without outside agents to know what was being stated. But in the end, the Navy never went with the idea.
Barker 3 Hedy received the Pioneer Award by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in 1997. She died only 3 years later. Her son speaks about her achievements even now. Even though the technology Hedy created wasn’t used at the time, it is in use today.
Grace Hopper is a Navy Rear Admiral that helped with the invention of English programing languages. She is associated with the Common Business-Oriented Languages, or also known as COBOL. This is based on a language that Grace designed herself in 1958, FLOW-MATIC. Before this, computers spoke only in binary code. This wasn’t very useful, since humans couldn’t understand it. Grace thought that programs should be produced so that people can read them themselves, and not have to go through a lot to understand what is being said. She thought that this would lead to more programmers, which ended up being correct. Although COBOL wasn’t the nest technology compared to today’s technology, it was still pretty good. 53% of organizations say they use COBOL for business applications, according to a Computerworld survey. Grace gives lectures about computers and programming languages history throughout the country. She died in 1992.
Mary Lou Jepsen was a co-founder of MicroDisplay in 1995. Not only that, but she also chief-technology officer. She would go on to run the display division while at Intel, and dreamed that every child would one day have a computer. She was the co-founder of One Laptop Per Child. This nonprofit organization wanted to provide all children of the world with an affordable, green notebook computer. She gained attention for hardware prowess in producing the XO. The XO is one of the lowest-cost and powerful notebooks ever made. Mary Lou won support as well
Barker 4 as backing from major manufacturers. This allowed her to kick-start a high production of Barker devices. In 2008, she started working in Pixel Qi. This company had many advances achieved in XO.
A woman who created the adventure series for games called “King’s Quest”, Roberta Williams was a pioneer for popularizing the PC game series. Her company started out as Sierra On-Line, but would be changed to the name Sierra Entertainment. Roberta co-founded the company with her husband Ken Williams. They would go on to shape the history of video games with detailed story lines, as well as complex puzzles that were found in their games. Her ideas and concepts in other genres of games always included a mode having to do with a quest. In these, the fighter must battle to achieve victory. She taught logic as well as problem solving skills in her games. Roberta stopped game development in 1999. She was in the industry for 20 years.
Finally, Marissa Mayer was Google’s first ever female engineer. She joined Google in 1999, and was the 20th employee. When she joined the search-engine, it was just starting up. Marissa is now vice president of location and local services. She leads product management and engineering in many different products. These products include Google Maps, Local Search, Google Earth, Street View, and Latitude. The talents Marissa has helped keep Google as the top search-engine. She is the youngest member of Google’s executive operating commuter, since she is only 36 years old. She is an inspiration to all women who want to take up a career in technology, as well as those in it already. She still works in Google, working on local maps, and search-based products. She has been recently named the board of directors at Wal-Mart.
Women have impacted the fields of technology and computing for years, starting in the 1880s with Ada Lovelace, and continues to be to this day with the thousands of young women dreaming of taking up a job in technology. Although we only see and hear of the men in the field, women have the most influence on the field. Women continue to effect our times through all their impacts on technology.