From Ada Lovelace to Katherine Johnson, women have been behind some of tech’s greatest achievements. This International Women's Day at Lighthouse Labs, we’re celebrating a few of the unsung heroes who have left an impact on the tech landscape.
Annie spent 34 years as a computer programmer at NASA, where she developed code to support alternative power technologies. Her work had a direct impact on energy conversion systems and revolutionary batteries used in the first hybrid cars. Her work with the Centaur project contributed to the Cassini probe that travelled to Saturn in the 90s. Throughout her life, she was an outspoken proponent of diversity in STEM fields.
Karen Spärck Jones
This British computer scientist was a pioneer in her field, and she is responsible for the natural language processing discoveries used in your favourite search engine. She also introduced weighting in information retrieval, to help search engines determine the most relevant results. Jones actively campaigned for more women to join the field of computer science.
Radia earned her PhD in computer science from MIT, and went on to work as a network engineer and software designer. Dubbed The Mother of the Internet, she invented the Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) algorithm which led to the Internet as we know it. Perlman holds more than 100 patents, and she has twice been honoured as Data Communications magazine’s 20 Most Influential People in the Industry.
An Atari alumni, Shaw is considered the first female video game programmer. She is the designer behind a number of games from Atari and Activision, but remains best known for her smash hit River Raid in 1982. She literally wrote the book on video game programming - the Atari BASIC Reference Manual - and she’s listed as one of the video game giant’s unsung heroes.
Hailing from Kenya, Rotich has been a leader in the IT industry for more than a decade. She co-founded Ushahidi (Swahili for testimony), an open-source web tool for crowdsourcing crisis information which piloted during the Kenyan presidential election crisis of 2007 and has since been used around the world. She is a senior TED fellow and the Director of BRCK, a Kenyan communications company tackling internet access through the production of waterproof, solar-powered WiFi routers.