Famous Women in Computer Science History


Here is a list of famous women in computing. The role of women in computing is often a question of interest in this fast evolving technology era. It is not a tough task to find famous women in computer science or technology. The role of women in society was gradually polished with the advent of digital age. But the question is about women’s contribution to computing.  Here I am not trying to bring up some gender based differences, but trying to bring some remarkable contributions under spotlight. Let us go for a year based list which outlines progressive discoveries or contributions.

Famous Women in Computing

  • Ada Lovelace (1815-1852)


She is called as the “first woman computer programmer” in the history. She was the daughter of poet Lord Byron and Anne Isabella Milbanke. She was more inclined towards technology rather than becoming a poet like her father. It was in 1843, she translated a memoir on analytical engine of Charles Babbage. These notes were processed by the engine and were considered to be the first algorithm!

  • Grete Hermann (1926)

The basis of “Computerized Algrebra” was laid down by Grete. She published her thesis “The Question of Finitely Many Steps in Polynomial Ideal Theory” in the leading journal of that time. Her contribution to algrebra is marked in golden letters in history.

  • Betty Snyder, Betty Jennings, Fran Bilas, Kay McNulty, Marlyn Wescoff, and Ruth Lichterman

 They were the programmers of ENIAC. These women laid the foundation stone in ENIAC programming. 

  • Grace Hopper (1949)

She was a navy officer of United States and is known as the “Mother of COBOL“. Grace was the first programmer of Harvard Mark I.

>Grace developed the first compiler “A-0”

>She used the term “debugging” for the first time when she took away a moth from her computer!

  • Jean Bartik

She was one of the most popular woman in the ENIAC group. She was graduated in Mathematics and started a career with Pennsylvania University. After meeting Kay McNulty, she entered into the programming domain and started as one of the first programmers of ENIAC. Jean worked with both UNIVAC I and BINAC computers.


  • Radia Perlman

She is the brain behind the “Spanning Tree Protocol”. Radia was a network and software engineer who developed the famous spanning tree while working for DEC. She completed her masters in Mathematics and later joined for Ph.D in computer science in MIT. Spanning tree protocol is imperative for several operations in networking and network bridges.


>She is known as the “Mother of Internet

>Expert in link-state protocols and network design

>Took several patents

  • Carol Shaw

She is known as the first woman video game developer! Carol is the brain behind the popular game “River Raid”. It was released in 1982.

  • Roberta Williams

Roberta is known for her video game series. She gave remarkable contributions to graphical adventure games. She was introduced to the field of computer games by Ken, her husband. She designed a unique game by herself and named it as “Mystery House”. This made her popular in graphical adventure.

  •  Carla Meninsky

In 1980s, Carla started her career as a game designer at Atarti 2600. She worked with Carol Shaw and developed several games. She was responsible for developing the popular game Dodge ‘Em which is a famous racing game. Carla is now a property attorney.

  • Sophie Wilson

Sophie is a popular computer scientist from Britain. She designed Acorn Microcomputer which is also known as Acorn System 1. In 1981, she changed the Acorn Atom’s BASIC programming language dialect and developed Acorn Proton. It was yet another microcomputer. She also developed the instruction set for the 1st RISC processor.


>Designed Acorn Replay for Acorn machines(video architecture)