, women cover 26% of the IT industry by 2023. Contrary to the typical situation today, women have played a leading role in the development of the technology sector in history.
While a significant ratio of computer programming pioneers were women, the lack of female representation in computer science today is a critical problem.
The tech industry may be dominated by men, but many women in leadership positions are changing the situation.
On the occasion of March 8, International Women’s Day, we wanted to commemorate the most powerful women in the technology industry.
Augusta Ada King, Countess Lovelace,
is an English mathematician and writer.
Ada Lovelace was born on December 10, 1815 in London. She designed a flying machine when she was only 13 years old and made all the momentary calculations. Ada Lovelace, who spent her childhood with illness, continued her education process despite the negativities she experienced.
• Mathematical abilities
Ada was specially trained in mathematics and science by the famous 19th-century researchers and scientists William Frend, William King, and Mary Somerville. Ada’s interest in mathematics shaped most of her life.
One of the reasons Ada was taught Mathematics at an early age was her mother’s obsession with rescuing her father, Lord Byron, from accusing her of being insane.
• Analytical machine studies
Because of her interest in mathematics, Ada Lovelace formed a very close friendship with the English mathematician Charles Babbage. In this way, he had the opportunity to work on Babbage’s mechanical general-purpose computer, “Analytical Engine”.
At the same time, Ada explored basic assumptions about combining poetry and science. She believed that imagination and intuition were important for the effective application of mathematical and scientific concepts. She valued metaphysics at least as much as mathematics, and also saw her work as a tool to explore the unseen world.
Ada wanted to create a mathematical model of how the brain generates thoughts and transmits our emotions to the nerves, but failed. Ada’s interest in brain structure stemmed from the possibility that she herself was crazy, which had preoccupied her mother’s mind for a long time.
• The first computer programmer in history
Between 1842 and 1843, Ada Lovelace translated the Italian engineer-mathematician Luigi Menabrea’s article on the engine, supplementing it with her own notes.
Ada’s notes include a motorized method of computing the Bernoulli sequence of numbers.
These notes cover the first algorithm written to be processed by a computer, thereby making Ada Lovelace the world’s first computer programmer.
Lovelace’s notes are very important in computer history.
While other scientists, including Babbage, focused only on the pure computational or computational capacity of computers,
Ada developed a view on the capabilities of computers in order to go beyond mere computation or intensive computation.
His poetic science approach inspired him to ask fundamental questions of the analytical engine that examines how technology relates to the individual and society as a collaborative tool.
• Scientific publications
Lovelace succeeded in being the first woman to make an academic publication in a scientific journal on computers by using her initials so that it would not be obvious that she was a woman, at a time when women were not allowed to participate in scientific discussions. An academic publication was a dream in England until 1832.
• Ada Lovelace is remembered every year!
Ada Lovelace died of uterine cancer on November 27, 1852.
Today we can see the important contributions of Ada Lovelace’s work and its impact on computer science.
In 1979, one of the famous programming languages developed by the US Department of Defense was named “ADA” in Lovelace’s honor.
The Lovelace Medal, awarded by the British Computer Association to people who have made significant contributions to the technology industry in 1998, is one of the UK’s top awards in computing.
At the same time, the annual conference for female university students in the UK, the BCS Women Lovelace Colloquium, takes its name from Ada Lovelace.
However, Ada Lovelace Day, celebrated on the second Tuesday of October every year, is an international celebration of women’s achievements in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) and aims to increase the number of women in the STEM field and create new role models.
Inventor of Wi-Fi Technology: Hedy Lamarr
Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler, Hedy Lamarr
is an actress and inventor.
Heddy Lamarr was born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler on November 9, 1914, in Vienna, Austria. She was discovered at a young age by an Austrian film director.
Recognized as one of the most beautiful of Hollywood’s leading women, Lamarr starred in numerous critically acclaimed films during the 1930s and 1940s.
• Cinema career
Hedy Lamarr became the subject of controversy with her obscene scenes in the 1933 film Ecstasy directed by Gustav Machatý, and she secretly fled to Paris, leaving her husband.
During his time there, he met with MGM’s president, Louis B. Mayer, and was offered a movie contract in Hollywood. Hedy Lamarr became a star, starring in films from the early 1930s to the late 1950s.
• Confidential communication system
In 1942, at the height of his career, he announced his work in a quite different field.
Lamarr and his friend, composer George Antheil, received a patent for the “Secret Communication System”, a radio signaling device. The system, which was designed to win the victory against the German Nazis, was a valuable step in ensuring the security of military communications and mobile phones.
The covert communication system involved the use of “frequency hopping” between radio waves, where the transmitting and receiving systems jumped together to new frequencies. In this way, interruption of radio waves was prevented.
• Mother of Wi-Fi
Since the invention of the secret communication system was not used later, Hedy Lamarr did not have the opportunity to come to the fore with her work in this field at that time. But in 1997, Hedy Lamarr and George Antheil were honored with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Pioneer Award.
That same year, Lamarr made history as the first woman to receive the BULBIE™ Gnass Spirit of Achievement Award.
Using the foundation created by Hedy Lamarr and Antheil, GSM, Wi-Fi and GPS technologies used by billions of people today were invented.
Although he died in 2000, Lamarr was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014 for the development of frequency hopping technology. This feat led to Lamarr being referred to as the “Mother of Wi-Fi”.
• The continuing story of Hedy Lamarr
On January 19, 2000, Lamarr passed away at the age of 85 due to a heart condition.
When she died, the world remembered her as one of the most important faces of the big screen, a famous beautiful woman with a scandalous love life. The legacy of show business is immortalized forever with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. But his story didn’t end there.
Lamarr was a great inventor, that was his passion and his pastime. Between filming, she retired to her trailer and tinkered with her inventions.
The critically acclaimed 2017 documentary Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, written and directed by Alexandra Dean and co-produced by Susan Sarandon, sheds light on this aspect of Lamarr’s story.
Mother of the Internet: Radia Perlman
Radia Joy Perlman
is an American computer programmer and network engineer.
Born on December 18, 1951, in Virginia, as the daughter of an engineer couple, Perlman spent her childhood years in New Jersey. Perlman, who was closely interested in mathematics and art throughout his school years, met programming in high school.
He describes his first programming lesson experience in high school as follows in an interview:
“When I entered the computer programming class, all the students were talking about how they made radio when they were 7 years old. I didn’t even know what amateur radio was. They also asked questions using scary words like “input”. I had no idea what that meant, and I was so far behind it felt like I would never catch up. I didn’t understand anything from that lesson.”
• Education life
In 1969, Dr. Perlman earned a specialization in mathematics at MIT.
She continued her management at the university until 1976, when she completed her master’s degree. She got a job as a part-time programmer in the Logo group at the MIT Artificial Intelligence lab. This was the first experience that allowed her to learn programming.
After working for a short time, she developed a project called Toddler’s Own Recursive Turtle Interpreter System / TORTIS. With this project, she aimed to create LISP, a programming language that can be taught to children. She didn’t continue the project because she thought that if this project was seen as “cute”, it would have a negative impact on the image of women in society.
• Career life and inventions
Dr. Perlman was struggling to write a thesis for his master’s degree. In this process, she started to work at BBN Technologies by evaluating the offers. She spent her time at BBN as a software developer for network equipment, developing and designing network protocols.
In 1980, Dr. Perlman started working at Digital Equipment Corporation. While at DEC, she was tasked with working on network protocols for DECnet. She designed a protocol known as Intermediate System to Intermediate System (IS-IS). Many of the DECnet and IS-IS protocols she wrote in 1980 still form the basis of the network protocol today.
Perlman developed the tree protocol, which encompasses security rules known as ground rules for the internet.
The tree protocol allows computers to communicate in a network over bridges and switches without creating redundancies or loops. This allows your home network router to connect to your smart devices, computers and the internet to transfer high-bandwidth information quickly and efficiently.
Perlman became known as the “Mother of the Internet” after inventing the STP technology.
On October 23, 1996, while working at Novell, she applied for a patent for the “Single password user authentication for applications” project.
Dr. Perlman has received more than 100 patents for network protocols and methods. She developed and filed 40 of her patents during her tenure at Sun Microsystems. At the end of her time at Sun Microsystems, she was known as the “Distinguished Engineer.”
While working as a distinguished engineer, she further developed the tree protocol covering security issues.
In 2010, Dr. Perlman has been appointed as an Intel Fellow. Intel Fellowship is the highest rank, in terms of the level of leadership and technical expertise within the company.
While working in this position, she was head of network and security at Intel Labs. She worked for Intel Labs until 2017, after applying for patents for nearly 30 network and security protocols.
Despite the ongoing gender inequality from the past to the present, women have achieved and continue to achieve many successes in the field of science throughout history. In this article, we reviewed the stories and achievements of these 3 women.
Do you know the story of Grace Hopper, known as the Queen of Software? Well, do you know Margaret Hamilton, the hero of the Apollo project?
You can browse our blog posts to discover the story of Grace Hopper and Margaret Hamilton, who made great contributions to the programming world.
👉 Grace Hopper, WW2, and Development of Programming Language
👉 On Margaret Hamilton, Apollo 11, and Software Engineering