Women who transformed computer science
Ada Lovelace, daughter of the English poet Lord Byron, wrote the first-ever computer program to be executed on a computing device, even before computers were invented. One of her mentors was Charles Babbage, a mathematician who started conceptualizing the computer. Working under the mentorship of Babbage, she started studying machines. After seeing a mechanical loom that had been programmed to weave an elaborate pattern, Lovelace understood that any sort of mathematical program could be executed this way. Her ideas were widely ignored during her life, since her notes were discovered and published in 1950, she has come a symbol of successful women.
Grace Hopper is known as the mother of computing for her important contributions to this science. She led the team that invented the Common Business-Oriented Language, or COBOL, the first programming language that used words instead of numbers. Hopper programmed the enormous Mark I computer and popularized the term "bug" for a computer glitch after lifting an actual moth stuck in the Mark II. She wrote the first compiler, a program that converts instructions into a machine-code so they can be read and executed by a computer. In 1969, she was the first recipient of the Computer Science Man-of-the-year Award. Discover more about Hopper's fascinating life watching the CODE documentary.
In 2006, Frances Allen was the first woman to win the Turing Award, known as the "Nobel Prize" of computer science. The prize was award for her work in compilers, code optimization and parallelization. Her "abstractions, algorithms, and implementations (...) laid the groundwork for automatic program optimization technology ", says her description in the Turing Award page. During her career, she became the first woman IBM Fellow and created programming languages and security codes for the NSA.