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Women & Computing at JS.LA

Women & Computing at JS.LA

This talk was [first given at Ruby on Ales](https://speakerdeck.com/jlsuttles/the-history-of-women-in-computing-at-ruby-on-ales) with [Elise Worthy](https://speakerdeck.com/eliseworthy/), but Elise was not present for this iteration.

Women were making exciting advances in computing before there were even computers to program. The past two centuries have seen women accomplish ground breaking feats that shape how we compute today. In the 1800s Ada Lovelace wrote the first computer program; in the 1950s Grace Hopper wrote the first compiler. In this talk I'll explore the accomplishments of women in our field: the successes, the obstacles, and the declinging trends. I'll close with where we are today and how you can play an active role in the advancement of women in computing.

Jessica Lynn Suttles

April 26, 2013

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  1. I want to tell you a little about myself and

    how I became a software engineer Friday, April 26, 13
  2. I loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer so I made a

    fan website Friday, April 26, 13
  3. In college I was determined to major in Fine Arts

    but I took Computer Science to fill a requirement I really liked both, so I majored in both Friday, April 26, 13
  4. I studied a lot of C++ and Scheme, but I

    didn’t make things outside of class The summer before my senior year I landed a development internship Friday, April 26, 13
  5. how big is la? st. louis milwaukee cleveland minneapolis boston

    san francisco boston pittsburgh manhattan /via @veganstraightedge Friday, April 26, 13
  6. it is controlled by a chain of cards, or punched

    cards laced together into a continuous sequence, but it did not computation Friday, April 26, 13
  7. the Analytical Engine was designed by Charles Babbage as the

    first general computer Friday, April 26, 13
  8. it was controlled by punch cards, it was Turning Complete,

    and it included integrated memory Friday, April 26, 13
  9. Ada Lovelace was the daughter of Lord Byron and a

    genius mathematician Friday, April 26, 13
  10. Ada Lovelace described an algorithm for the Analytical Engine to

    compute Bernoulli numbers Friday, April 26, 13
  11. the Analytical Engine was not completed in Ada’s lifetime, and

    she never got to run her algorithm Friday, April 26, 13
  12. Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service means women were only

    accepted because of the labor force shortage Friday, April 26, 13
  13. during World War II many computers were women and some

    of these women went on to program computers Friday, April 26, 13
  14. the idea that the development of hardware was the real

    business of computing was prevalent Friday, April 26, 13
  15. John von Neumann said coding was a “static” process–one that

    could be performed by a low-level clerical worker Friday, April 26, 13
  16. Maurice Wilkes said, “It had not occurred to me that

    there was going to be any difficulty about getting programs working.” Friday, April 26, 13
  17. Grace Hopper had a graduate degree in math and physics

    and was a professor at Vassar Friday, April 26, 13
  18. she took a leave of absence to participate in the

    war effort Friday, April 26, 13
  19. she joined the Navy Reserves and started out as a

    Lieutenant after graduating first in her class Friday, April 26, 13
  20. she served on the Mark I computer programming staff and

    focused on improving efficiency relentlessly Friday, April 26, 13
  21. “I had a running compiler and nobody would touch it.

    They told me computers could only do arithmetic.” Friday, April 26, 13
  22. Grace Hopper did a lot more for programming than coin

    the term bug Friday, April 26, 13
  23. org xor ax, ax mov ds, ax mov si, msg

    boot_loop:lodsb or al, al jz go_flag mov ah, 0x0E int 0x10 jmp boot_loop go_flag: jmp go_flag msg db 'Hello, world', 13, 10, 0 times 510-($-$$) db 0 db 0x55 db 0xAA Friday, April 26, 13
  24. the space race, like World War II, lead to a

    man power shortage Friday, April 26, 13
  25. software projects expanded in scope to encompass not only data

    processing but also management and control & computer personnel began to encroach on the domains of operational managers Friday, April 26, 13
  26. 50th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment, the

    culmination of the first-wave feminist movement Friday, April 26, 13
  27. Adele Goldberg was a researcher at Xerox PARC where she

    participated in the design & development of Smalltalk-80 Friday, April 26, 13
  28. Ruby is a language designed in the following steps: *

    take a simple lisp language (like one prior to CL). * remove macros, s-expression. * add simple object system (much simpler than CLOS). * add blocks, inspired by higher order functions. * add methods found in Smalltalk. * add functionality found in Perl (in OO way). So, Ruby was a Lisp originally, in theory. Let's call it MatzLisp from now on. ;-) matz. Friday, April 26, 13
  29. Goldberg’s team developed concepts that became the basis for GUIS

    to replace earlier command line systems Friday, April 26, 13
  30. Apple eventually used many of these ideas as the basis

    for their Macintosh desktop Friday, April 26, 13
  31. personal computers were still really expensive but it was the

    golden age of the video arcade game Friday, April 26, 13
  32. a lot of ground gained by the second-wave feminist in

    the 60s and 70s was lost Friday, April 26, 13
  33. in an effort to disassociate marital status from name and

    title women started using Ms instead of Miss or Mrs and keep their maiden names Friday, April 26, 13
  34. Elizabeth Feinler was director of the Network Information System Center

    at the Stanford Research Institute Friday, April 26, 13
  35. Her group operated the Network Information Center for the ARPANET

    as it evolved into the Defense Data Network and the Internet Friday, April 26, 13
  36. In 1982, an Internet protocol was defined by her group

    to access the online directory of people, called Whois Friday, April 26, 13
  37. her group became the overall naming authority of the Internet,

    developing and managing the name registries of the top-level domains: .mil, .gov, .edu, .org, .com Friday, April 26, 13
  38. 1984-1986 Adele Goldberg served as president of the Association for

    Computing Machinery, the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society Friday, April 26, 13
  39. computer science programs rose out of diverse departments but as

    computer science matured it found a home in engineering departments (see bottom line of graph) Friday, April 26, 13
  40. video games that do include a woman protagonist tend to

    objectify said women Friday, April 26, 13
  41. video games are often children’s first and most frequent interaction

    with computers and a lot of first computer programs are games Friday, April 26, 13
  42. 1992 was the Year of the Woman because a record

    number of women are elected to high office in the US Friday, April 26, 13
  43. second-wave feminism correlated with an increase in the number of

    women in computing, but this didn’t happen with third-wave Friday, April 26, 13
  44. Jane Margolis is a social scientist who studies gender and

    education Allan Fisher is the founding dean of the CMU undergraduate program in computer science Friday, April 26, 13
  45. they began a study at Carnegie Mellon University to understand

    the gender imbalance and interviewed 100 computer science students of both genders over a period of 5 years Friday, April 26, 13
  46. - kept high GRE scores - added emphasis on leadership

    qualities - dropped requirement for prior programming experience - added some catch-up courses to level out background differences Friday, April 26, 13
  47. - kept high GRE scores - added emphasis on leadership

    qualities - dropped requirement for prior programming experience - added some catch-up courses to level out background differences Friday, April 26, 13
  48. - kept high GRE scores - added emphasis on leadership

    qualities - dropped requirement for prior programming experience - added some catch-up courses to level out background differences Friday, April 26, 13
  49. - kept high GRE scores - added emphasis on leadership

    qualities - dropped requirement for prior programming experience - added some catch-up courses to level out background differences Friday, April 26, 13
  50. Fran Allen, already the first woman IBM Fellow, was the

    first woman in 40 years to win Turing Award from ACM, which is considered the Nobel Prize of computing, for her work in high performance computing Friday, April 26, 13
  51. Barbara Liskov was awarded the Turning Award from the ACM

    for her work in the design of programming languages Friday, April 26, 13
  52. as technology becomes more ingrained & common place in our

    daily lives software engineers are playing a larger role in shaping our future Friday, April 26, 13
  53. http://railsgirls.com/ “Our aim is to give tools and a community

    for women to understand technology and to build their ideas. We do this by providing a great experience on building things and by making technology more approachable.” Friday, April 26, 13
  54. http://workshops.railsbridge.org/ “RailsBridge is an organization that works to increase diversity

    in tech by putting on a variety of awesome free events. Our most well-known efforts are free weekend workshops where women learn Ruby on Rails from volunteers.” Friday, April 26, 13