Celebrating International Women's Day:Technological Innovations by Women

Women are usually considered to be techno phobic with many taking the back seat when it comes to technology innovations and  projects.Usually  when we celebrate innovations in Technology and IT,it is men like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs  who receive the lionshare of the glory .

By Delight Mawere 

 

1.Susan Kare(User Interface Guru)

Her impact on technology:
Susan Kare, described by some as “the Betsy Ross of the Personal Computer,” was the designer who helped bring the Apple computer to life with her sophisticated typography and iconic graphic design skills. Working alongside Steve Jobs, she shaped many of the now-common interface elements of the Mac, like the command icon, which she found while looking through a book of symbols.

She also created the Happy Mac icon, which greeted Apple users when they booted their machines, and the trash can icon, which let users know where to put files they no longer wanted. If Jobs is credited with making technology more personable through Apple’s devices, it’s in part because of Kare’s efforts to make the computer feel more like a friend — and less like a machine.

But she didn’t work exclusively on Apple products. In the mid-1980s, after Jobs was forced out, Kare left Apple and worked with Microsoft, where she applied her design skills to humanizing the Windows 3.0 operating system.

Kare’s design work didn’t stop with Apple and Microsoft. Her hand can be seen in many of Facebook’s “digital gifts,” including the friendly rubber ducky. Her most recent digital footprint can be seen in the online media powerhouse Glam Media, where she served as a co-founder and the organization’s creative director.

2.Hedy Lamarr(Wireless Visionary)

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Heddy Lamarr

Her impact on technology:
Largely known as a screen star of the 1920s, Hedy Lamarr proved to be more than just a pretty face. She played a key role in the invention of spread-spectrum technology; specifically, by conceptualizing the idea of frequency hopping, which is a method of sending radio signals from different frequency channels.

Lamarr and her co-inventor, George Antheil, developed the technology originally to help the Navy remotely control torpedoes. The key value of frequency hopping was that the randomized channel switching made it difficult for outside agents to understand what was being communicated. It was, in essence, an early form of encryption technology.

The two received a patent on their idea on August 11, 1942, according to the American Heritage of Invention & Technology. But despite lobbying and fundraising efforts on their part, the Navy ultimately passed on the technology.

It was reborn, however, in the late 1950s when engineers at Sylvania Electronic Systems Division revived it, which led to the use of Lamarr’s frequency hopping concept in secure military communications. Her work on spread-spectrum has played a part in many modern wireless technologies, such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA)

3.Grace Hopper(Programming Pioneer )

Her impact on technology:
Called the Queen of Software by some and Grandma COBOL by others, Navy Rear Admiral Grace Hopper helped invent some of the early English-language programming languages. She is most famously associated with the Common Business-Oriented Language (COBOL), which was based on the FLOW-MATIC language that she designed back in 1958.

Before the invention of such language-based programming, computers spoke exclusively in binary code, which was illegible to human beings. Hopper was convinced that if programming were produced in a form that anyone could read, then there would be more programmers. It turns out that she was right.

While COBOL isn’t exactly the cutting edge of programming technology today, it still has a faithful following. In fact, in a recent Computerworld survey, 53 percent of the organizations that responded said that they were using COBOL to build new business applications.

4.Ada Lovelace(Algorithm Enchantress)

Her impact on technology:
Ada Lovelace was unique in that she developed an algorithm for a computer that didn’t yet exist — an accomplishment that some say qualifies her as the world’s first computer programmer.

Born to English nobility in 1815, Lovelace was put to work by Charles Babbage in 1843, documenting his never-to-be-realized “computer,” the Analytical Engine. Starting with a document written in French by Luigi Menabrea, an Italian mathematician, Lovelace added extensive notes to the English translation, including the world’s first computer algorithm.

The Analytical Engine was intended to count Bernoulli numbers, but Babbage was unsuccessful in getting the funding to build his machine. Notably, Lovelace was able to see the potential for the computer beyond simple math.

“Many persons who are not conversant with mathematical studies imagine that because the business of [Babbage’s Analytical Engine] is to give its results in numerical notation, the nature of its processes must consequently be arithmetical and numerical, rather than algebraical and analytical. This is an error. The engine can arrange and combine its numerical quantities exactly as if they were letters or any other general symbols; and in fact it might bring out its results in algebraical notation, were provisions made accordingly,” Lovelace wrote in the Sketch of the Analytical Engine Invented by Charles Babbage, Esq.

5.Mary Lou Jepsen(Screen Display Rebel)

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Mary Lou Jepsen

Her impact on technology:
Mary Lou Jepsen knows that the screen is the gateway to all of the transformative powers that a computer can hold. She co-founded and served as the chief technology officer of MicroDisplay in 1995, where worked on creating small screens. She later ran the display division at Intel, until she was spirited away by a bold dream: a computer for every child.

As co-founder of One Laptop Per Child, a nonprofit organization with the mission of providing children worldwide with affordable, green notebook computers, Jepsen gained attention for her hardware prowess in producing the XO, one of the lowest-power, lowest-cost notebooks ever made.

The prototype device was unveiled at the UN by Kofi Annan, and Jepsen won the backing and support of major manufacturers which allowed OPLC to kick-start high-volume production of its devices.

6.Robert Williams(Gaming Genius)

Her impact on technology:
Adventure gaming isn’t as popular now as today’s hot first-person and third-person shooter games, like “Call of Duty.” But there was a time when an adventure game was all that geeks could talk about.

Perhaps best known for her adventure game series “King’s Quest,” which went all the way to an eighth sequel, Roberta Williams was a pioneer and visionary in creating and popularizing this niche of PC games. Sierra On-Line was the name of company (later known as Sierra Entertainment) that Williams co-founded with her husband, Ken Williams. Together, they helped shape the history of video games with their complex puzzles and detailed storylines.

You can see hints of Williams’ ideas and concepts in other gaming genres, like fighting games, which almost always include a “quest” mode, in which the fighter must battle his way through a series of bouts and achievements to seal his victory. You can also draw a link to our current obsession with gamification in many nongaming contexts. Williams’ games taught logic and problem-solving skills, but made it seem like an adventure the entire time, in much the same way that gamification transforms seemingly mundane things like, location check-ins, into an exciting quest to collect digital badges.

7.Radia Pelman(Networking Maven)

Her impact on technology:
Network engineer Radia Perlman helped make Ethernet technology a household name. Her Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) made it possible to build massive networks using Ethernet by creating a mesh network of layer-2 bridges and then disabling the links that aren’t part of that tree.

This networking innovation had a significant impact on network switches, which has led some to call Perlman the Mother of the Internet — a title that she eschews.

“It’s overreaching because I don’t think any single individual deserves credit for inventing the Internet. Many people had large roles, including, actually, Al Gore, and in a sense it was something that was inevitable,” Perlman said in an Intel Free Press story.

8.Dr Erna Hoover(Telephony hero)

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Her impact on technology:
Dropped calls and busy signals are an annoyance that most could do without. But we’d have a lot more of them if it weren’t for Dr. Erna Hoover. While working at Bell Laboratories, she invented a telephony switching computer program that kept phones functioning under stressful loads.

“I designed the executive program for handling situations when there are too many calls, to keep it operating efficiently without hanging up on itself. Basically it was designed to keep the machine from throwing up its hands and going berserk,” Hoover told the New Jersey Star-Ledger.

Her 1971 patent for this technology was among one of the first software patents ever issued. Even more impressive: She worked on her idea while still in the hospital following the birth of her second daughter.

9.Marissa Mayer(Search siren)

Her impact on technology:
Marissa Mayer is Google’s first female engineer (she’s actually employee number 20), having joined the search-engine superstar back in 1999, when it was still a startup.

Now vice president of location and local services, Mayer leads product management and engineering for a variety of search products, including Google Maps, Local Search, Google Earth, Street View and Latitude. Her talents in user interface design and product vision have helped keep Google at the top as a leading web, mobile and search company.

At 36, she is the youngest member of Google’s executive operating committee, and an inspiration to women aspiring to careers in technology.

“The number one most important thing we can do to increase the number of women in tech is to show a multiplicity of different role models,” Mayer said in article for The Huffington Post. “The stereotype of that very complete and rigid picture of what being a computer scientist means really hurts people’s understanding and ability to identify with the role and say, ‘Yes, this is something I can be in and want to be in.’”

10.Barbara Liskov(Computing Virtuoso)

Her impact on technology:
As one of the first women to earn a computer science Ph.D., Barbara Liskov has been an IT trailblazer from early on.

Liskov has several notable achievements under her belt, including the invention of CLU, a programming language that helped lay the foundation for object-oriented programming; Argus, a programming language, largely an extension of CLU, that supports distributed programs; and Thor, an object-oriented database system.

These advances in object-oriented programming have contributed to the wealth of many modern OOP-based languages and operating systems, such as Mac OS X, Objective-C, Visual Basic.NET and Java.

Source:BiztechMagazine

 

 

 

 

 

 

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