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My original Famous Women in Computer Science list was getting messy with all of the late additions, so I put it into surname alphabetical order and am re-posting it here. This list started in 19 November 2009 but with so many additions in email and comments, it keeps growing. One purpose of this list is to encourage readers to go to awards web sites (like that of the RAISE Project), think about women who should be considered, and then organize a nomination. Awards often go begging for lack of good nominations and a great woman is often overlooked because no one mentioned her name or took the time to build her case. Increased focus is needed on awards going to great technical women at every stage in their careers.

Read more about The Value of Awards in my 1 October 2009 blog entry about our Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC09) panel by that name.

The following list is uneven and I am sure there are many more who should be added but here is what I have so far. Additions and edits are very welcome.

Criteria for inclusion:

    • Must be a woman working in Computer Science with a remarkable history both of success and of public acknowledgment beyond her home organization.
    • Pioneers and originators get extra credit and may have much-delayed public acknowledgment.
    • Extra credit for being a CTO, CEO, President, or founder of a technical company.






Famous Women in Computer Science


      Frances E. Allen, 1st female IBM Fellow, 1st female recipient of ACM's A. M. Turing Award 2006, WITI Hall of Fame 1997, IEEE Fellow 1991, ACM Fellow 1994
      Betsy Ancker-Johnson, 1st observation of microwave emission without the presence of an external field (1967), Fellow American Physical Society, Fellow American Association for the Advancement of Science, Fellow Society of Automotive Engineers, IEEE Fellow, Member National Academy of Engineering
      Carol Bartz, President and CEO of Yahoo! (starting in 2009), previously Chairman, President, and CEO at Autodesk (1992-2009), WITI Hall of Fame 1997
      Lenore Blum, Distinguished Career Professor of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University
      Anita Borg, founding director of the Institute for Women and Technology (IWT), which became the Anita Borg Institute, EFF Pioneer Award 1995, WITI Hall of Fame 1998, ACM Fellow 1996
      Cynthia Breazeal, pioneer of social robotics at MIT Media Lab, US Office of Naval Research (ONR) Young Investigators Award
      Safra A. Catz, President Oracle Corporation since 2004, CFO Oracle since 2005, Member Oracle Board since 2001
      Lynn Conway, Mead & Conway revolution in VLSI design, invention of generalised dynamic instruction handling, IEEE Fellow 1985, Society of Women Engineers Achievement Award 1990
      Susan Dumais, leadership in bridging the fields of information retrieval and human computer interaction, ACM Fellow 2006, ACM SIGIR Salton Award 2009-lifetime achievement in IR
      Carly Fiorina, CEO Hewlett-Packard 1999-2005
      Adele Goldberg, co-developer of Smalltalk at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, ACM President 1984, ACM Fellow 1994
      Adele Goldstine, authored the Manual for the ENIAC in 1946
      Shafi Goldwasser, RSA Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT, and of computer science and applied mathematics at Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, ACM Grace Murray Hopper Award 1996
      Diane Greene, VMWare co-founder and CEO (1998-2008)
      Irene Greif, IBM Fellow, 1st woman to earn a PhD in computer science at MIT, MIT Professor of electrical engineering and computer science, ACM Fellow, Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow, WITI Hall of Fame 2000
      Helen Greiner, 1990-2008 Co-founder, Board Chair of iRobot, Anita Borg Institute Woman of Vision - Innovation award winner 2008, WITI Hall of Fame 2007
      Wendy Hall, Professor of Computer Science, University of Southampton, UK, 2008 ACM President, 2009 Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE), 2009 elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS)