The Mother of all programming languages

I’m really pleased that my first post to this blog is to tell you about the work of a woman who has had a huge impact on computing during her career.

Barbara Liskov, an MIT Professor, who is head of the Programming Methodology Group in the Computer Science department , and the Artificial Intelligence Lab, has been awarded the A M Turing award by the  Association of Computing Machinery (ACM). 

The AM Turing Award has been described as somewhat akin to the Nobel prize, and it has a long history of celebrating the work of the great minds of computing. 

Liskov has been a professor at MIT since 1972, and her research has resulted in concepts that have been used in almost every single programming language that has emerged since that time. 

The Turing award was given to her in recognition “for her contributions to practical and theoretical foundations of programming language and system design, especially related to data abstraction, fault tolerance, and distributed computing.”

This is a huge honour, but why have we not heard about Liskov before? She has a breathtaking past, being the first woman to get a PHd in Computer Science in the US, and in a very real sense is the mother of all modern computer programming languages. If Liskov were a man, surely she would have been elevated to the state of Steven Hawking by now, because her research really is that important to the modern computing field.

There is a real movement this year to bring the (usually) unsung work of women in computing to the forefront more, Ada Lovelace Day is just around the corner, do you know who Ada Lovelace is? Only the first computer programmer..

Women, by their nature do not draw attention to themselves or their achievements – we prefer to get the job done, rather than crow about how well it went – but this has been to the detriment of how we are perceived as a gender, and certainly in a male dominated profession, this has made it more difficult for our peers.

This blog aims to celebrate and crow about all that is good within the realm of women and their IT achievements, to draw attention to the inequalities that can still persist, and give hope that there are others out there who are dealing with the same issues as you.

We aren’t THE voice, but we want to be a louder voice, and you can help us!

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