As we celebrate Women's History Month, let’s take a look at just five women who have made significant contributions to the advancement of information technology.
- Annie Easley
Brilliantly skilled in mathematics, this 1933 born Alabama native planned on a career in pharmaceuticals. With a single application to the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, Easley made a career change into a field that would later become Information technology. Starting as a human computer, she later worked as a mathematician and computer technician. Annie Easley was integral in helping NASA examine and address discrimination complaints, generating a more merit based employment path for women an racial minorities. Code to analyze alternative energy, solar and wind projects, ozone layer damage examination, economic evaluation of power sources and more make the list of contributions from Annie Easley.
- Dr. Fei Fei Li
Dr. Li is not only a major contributor to IT, she continues to advance the field through education. Currently serving as a professor of computer science at Stanford University, Li has held other teaching roles in highly ranked programs. At Google, Dr. Fei Fei Li served as both Vice President and Chief Scientist of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. As inventor of ImageNet, she has contributed to computer’s ability to recognize details in a picture. Dr. Li is still contributing to the world of information science and we look forward to witnessing what’s next.
- Katherine Johnson
Played by Taraji P. Henson in the hit film Hidden Figures, Katherine Johnson’s story is becoming more widely known. Johnson’s human computing and mathematical prowess helped the first American to enter space. Additionally, she was a part of the team that completed the calculations for the Apollo 11 flight to the moon.
- Dr. Valerie Taylor
Director of the Mathematics and Computer Science department for the US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, Dr. Taylor’s resume includes positions as faculty and Dean of elite programs. Being awarded numerous awards and generous project funding, Taylor is known for an analysis and predictive performance database called Prophesy.
It is only right to include Ada Lovelace, commonly known as the first computer programmer in a list of historical women contributors. Credited with the first algorithm to be machine processes, Lovelace helped create the basis for the first modern computers. Without Lovelace’s work, in spite of gender bias, the advent of the modern computer would be delayed, drastically changing the history and evolution of Information Technology.
The historical roadmap of technology and information science is full of advancement created by women. During March, Woman’s History Month, we pay homage to their contributions, and this list only represents a few.
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