ACM Women's Contributions a Fitting Tribute to Ada Lovelace

Throughout its history, ACM has celebrated the groundbreaking work of women innovators through its prestigious awards program, and advocated for the full engagement of women in computing through a wide range of programs and services. In honor of Ada Lovelace’s birthday on October 9, this series is designed to honor the women who have made formative developments in the field of computing, and to celebrate contemporary women who are shaping the world of tomorrow.

Fran Allen, 2006 ACM A.M. Turing Award Recipient

Fran Allen was the first woman to receive the ACM A.M. Turing Award. She received the award in 2006 for contributions that fundamentally improved the performance of computer programs in solving problems, and accelerated the use of high performance computing. She was the first woman to receive the honor, and the first woman to be named an IBM Fellow. She joined IBM as a programmer in 1957, where she taught incoming employees the basics of Fortran.

View her Turing Lecture video and 2008 Grace Hopper Celebration keynote.

Fran Allen, 2006 ACM AM Turing Award recipient

Barbara Liskov, 2008 ACM A.M. Turing Award Recipient

Barbara Liskov received the 2008 ACM A.M. Turing Award for her foundational innovations to designing and building the pervasive computer system designs that power daily life. She revolutionized the programming field with groundbreaking research that underpins virtually every modern computer application used by both consumers and businesses. Liskov is one of the first US women to be awarded a PhD from a computer science department.

View her Turing Lecture video and an interview in which she discusses her life and work.

Barbara Liskov, 2008 ACM AM Turing Award recipient

Shafi Goldwasser, 2012 ACM A.M. Turing Award Co-recipient

Shafi Goldwasser received the 2012 ACM A.M. Turing Award (with Silvio Micali) for contributions to cryptography. Working with Micali, she pioneered the field of provable security, which laid the mathematical foundations for modern cryptography, addressing important practical problems such as the protection of data from being viewed or modified. Among other honors, Goldwasser was named an ACM Athena Lecturer.

View her Turing Lecture video and ACM Award Banquet video.

Shafi Goldwasser, 2012 ACM AM Turing Award co-recipient

Dina Katabi, 2017 ACM Prize Recipient

Dina Katabi received the 2017 ACM Prize in Computing for creative contributions to wireless systems. She and her team pioneered the use of wireless signals in applications that can sense humans behind walls, determine their movements and even surmise their emotional states. She also received the 2012 Grace Murray Hopper Award (with Martin Casado) and was named an ACM Fellow.

View her CACM video on Emotion Recognition Using Wireless Signals.

Image of Dina Katabi

Amanda Randles, 2017 ACM Grace Murray Hopper Award Recipient

Amanda Randles received the 2017 ACM Grace Murray Hopper Award for developing HARVEY, a massively parallel circulatory simulation code capable of modeling the full human arterial system at subcellular resolution and fostering discoveries that will serve as a basis for improving the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of human diseases.

Read a People of ACM interview.

Image of Amanda Randles

Andrea Goldsmith, 2018-2019 ACM Athena Lecturer

Andrea Goldsmith was named 2018-2019 ACM Athena Lecturer for her contributions to the theory and practice of adaptive wireless communications, and for the successful transfer of research to commercial technology. She introduced innovative approaches to the design, analysis and performance limits of wireless systems and networks, and helped develop technologies used in cellular devices, and Wi-Fi standards for wireless local area networks. 

Read a People of ACM interview.

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Susan Eggers, 2018 Eckert-Mauchly Award Recipient

Susan Eggers is the first woman to receive the ACM - IEEE CS Eckert-Mauchly Award. She was cited for outstanding contributions to simultaneous multithreaded processor architectures and multiprocessor sharing and coherency. Widely recognized as one of the leading computer architects in the field, Eggers was also named a 2009-2010 ACM Athena Lecturer and a 2002 ACM Fellow. 

 

Image of Susan Eggers

Jan Cuny, 2017 Distinguished Service Award & 2006 Presidential Award

Jan Cuny received the 2017 ACM Distinguished Service Award for the establishment and tireless promotion of projects that have nationally transformed computer science education by increasing and diversifying access to high-quality CS education. She received the 2006 ACM Presidential Award for showing us how to help underserved populations as a computer scientist, a parent, a teacher, a civil servant, and as a citizen.

Photo of ACM Distinguished Service Award recipient Jan Cuny

Judith Gal-Ezer, 2017 Karlstrom Educator Award

Judith Gal-Ezer received the 2017 ACM Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award for her central role in developing a groundbreaking high school computer-science curriculum; her outstanding computer science education research; and her extensive service to the education community. Her approach moved away from conventional pedagogies, which prioritized coding, to emphasizing the underlying ideas of computer science.

Photo of ACM Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award recipient Judith Gal-Ezer

Margaret Boden, 2017 ACM – AAAI Allen Newell Award

Margaret Boden received the 2017 ACM – AAAI Allen Newell Award for her contributions to the philosophy of cognitive science, particularly in the cognitive study of human creativity, and to its historiography. For four decades, Boden has been one of the world’s premiere thought leaders on the intersection of artificial intelligence, cognitive science and the humanities.

2017 ACM – AAAI Allen Newell Award recipient Margaret Boden

Lydia Kavraki, 2017-2018 Athena Lecturer, 2000 ACM Grace Murray Hopper Award, ACM Fellow

Lydia E. Kavraki of Rice University was the 2017-2018 Athena Lecturer, cited for the invention of randomized motion-planning algorithms in robotics and the development of robotics-inspired methods for bioinformatics and biomedicine. She also received the 2000 ACM Grace Murray Hopper Award, and was named an ACM Fellow in 2010.

2017 ACM Athena Lecturer Lydia Kavraki

Chris Stephenson, 2016 ACM Presidential Award

Chris Stephenson, Head of Computer Science Education Programs at Google Inc., received the 2016 ACM Presidential Award for creating the Computer Science Teachers Association, an international organization dedicated to supporting teachers and pursuing excellence in CS education for K-12 students.

Valerie Barr, 2016 Outstanding Contribution to ACM Award

Valerie Barr received recognition from ACM for broadening the impact of ACM-W, increasing its effectiveness in supporting women in computing worldwide, and encouraging participation in ACM. Barr led ACM-W, ACM's Council on Women in Computing, from 2012 to 2017 and founded a scholarship program for students to attend conferences.

Read Barr's inspirational article on "The Value of Ada" in Communications of the ACM.

2016 Outstanding Contribution to ACM Award recipient Valerie Barr

Jennifer Rexford, 2016-2017 Athena Lecturer & 2004 Grace Murray Hopper Award

ACM's Council on Women (ACM-W) has recognized Jennifer Rexford of Princeton University for her contributions to data networking. Her innovations in advancing network efficiency have greatly enhanced the stability and flow of Internet transmissions, and make data networks easier to design, understand and manage. The Athena Lecturer is invited to present a lecture at an ACM event.

2016-2017 ACM Athena Lecturer Jennifer Rexford

Kathy Yelick, 2015 Ken Kennedy Award & 2013-2014 Athena Lecturer

Kathy Yelick received the 2015 ACM/IEEE Computer Society Ken Kennedy Award for innovative research contributions to parallel computing languages. She also received the and the 2013-2014 ACM Athena Lecturer Award for for contributions to improving fundamental understanding and practice of parallel programming. 

Sylvia Ratnasamy, 2014 Grace Murray Hopper Award

Sylvia Ratnasamy received the 2014 Grace Murray Hopper Award for her contributions to the first efficient design for distributed hash tables (DHT), a critical element in large-scale distributed and peer-to-peer computing systems. The Hopper Award recognizes the outstanding young computer professional of the year.

sylvia ratnasamy

Jennifer Widom, 2015-2016 Athena Lecturer and 2005 ACM Fellow

Jennifer Widom received the 2015-2016 Athena Lecturer Award for pioneering foundations, architecture, and applications of database systems. The award celebrates women researchers who have made fundamental contributions to computer science. Widom was also named a 2005 ACM Fellow.

jennifer widom

Jeannette Wing, 2014 Distinguished Service Award

Jeannette Wing received the 2014 Distinguished Service Award for helping the computing community articulate the promise of computation to broad audiences. She positioned the field to communicate the core concepts of computing in elegant and easily understood ways, and championed its introduction in numerous national and international venues. She is also an ACM Fellow.

Read a People of ACM interview.

jeannette wing

Robin Murphy, 2014 Lawler Award

Robin Murphy received the 2014 Eugene L. Lawler Award for pioneering work in humanitarian disaster response through search and rescue robotics, to the benefit of both survivors and responders. The biannual Eugene L. Lawler Award for Humanitarian Contributions within Computer Science and Informatics recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution through the use of computing technology.

Read a People of ACM interview.

robin murphy

Dame Wendy Hall, 2014 Outstanding Contribution to ACM Award

As the first ACM President from outside North America, Professor Dame Wendy Hall had a vision of ACM as an international organization and developed a success path to achieve this vision. Her dedication to having ACM a global organization resulted in the development of ACM Europe, ACM India and ACM China Councils, which continue to thrive. She also focused on education of the younger CS generations and promoting gender diversity.

Susan Dumais, 2014-2015 ACM Athena Lecturer

Susan T. Dumais was named 2014-2015 ACM Athena Lecturer for contributions to algorithms and interfaces for interactive information retrieval that make it easier for people to find, use and make sense of information. The author of more than 200 articles on information science, human-computer interaction, and cognitive science, Dumais holds several patents on novel retrieval algorithms and interfaces. She is also an ACM Fellow.

2014-2015 ACM Athena Lecturer Susan Dumais

Susan Rodger, 2013 Karlstrom Educator Award

ACM Distinguished Member Susan Rodger received the 2013 ACM Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award for her outstanding contributions to the teaching of computer science theory, to the development of computer science education in primary and secondary schools, and to service on behalf of the computer science education community.

2013 ACM Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Susan Rodger

Mary Lou Soffa, 2012 ACM-IEEE CS Ken Kennedy Award

Mary Lou Soffa received the 2012 ACM-IEEE CS Ken Kennedy Award for contributions to compiler technology and software engineering, exemplary service to the profession, and life-long dedication to mentoring and improving diversity in computing. She was also named an ACM Fellow for development and enhancement of code improving transformations and design of program analysis algorithms for use in compilers and software engineering tools.

2012 ACM-IEEE CS Ken Kennedy Award recipient Mary Lou Soffa

Nancy Lynch, 2012-2013 ACM Athena Lecturer

Nancy Lynch was named the 2012-2013 ACM Athena Lecturer. She delivered her lecture at the 2013 joint meeting of the Symposium on Principles of Distributed Computing (PODC) and the Symposium on Parallel Algorithms and Architectures (SPAA). Lynch was also named a 1997 ACM Fellow for contributions to the theory of distributed computing, including mathematical models and proof techniques, algorithms and impossiblity results.

2012-2013 ACM Athena Lecturer Nancy Lynch

Stephanie Forrest, 2011 ACM – AAAI Allen Newell Award

Stephanie Forrest received the 2011 ACM – AAAI Allen Newell Award for fundamental, paradigm-changing contributions to computer science and biological sciences, most notably bringing together models of immune systems, automated diversity, and network epidemiology, with significant impact on real computer and biological systems research and practice. Her contributions have also impacted on biology.

2011 ACM – AAAI Allen Newell Award recipient Stephanie Forrest

Susan Graham, 2011 Ken Kennedy Award

Susan L. Graham received the 2011 ACM-IEEE CS Ken Kennedy Award for foundational compilation algorithms and programming tools; research and discipline leadership; and exceptional mentoring. She also received the 2006 ACM Distinguished Service Award For service to the computing community, especially for service on national committees. Graham was the founding editor of ACM Transactions on Programming Languages and Systems.

Susan Graham, 2011 Ken Kennedy Award recipient

Judith Olson, 2011-2012 ACM Athena Lecturer

Judith S. Olson's Athena Lecture was delivered at the ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), February 11-15, 2012, in Seattle, Washington. Olson was also named a 2008 ACM Fellow dor contributions to human-computer interaction and computer-supported cooperative work.

Judith Olson, 2011-2012 ACM Athena Lecturer

Barbara Ericson, 2010 Karlstrom Educator Award

Barbara Ericson received the 2013 ACM Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award (along with Mark Guzdial) for contributions to computing education, through the Media Computation (MediaComp) approach that they have created, supported, and disseminated, and its impact on broadening participation in computing. She also led efforts in Georgia to create a high school computer science curriculum.

2010 ACM Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Barbara Ericson

Elaine Weyuker, 2010 ACM Presidential Award

Elaine Weyuker received the 2010 ACM Presidential Award for her tireless efforts in the development and growth of ACM-W. As Chair of ACM-W, she built a network of enthusiastic volunteers to help propel ACM-W forward, and reshaped it from a grassroots network to a professional community within ACM. Weyuker was also named an ACM Fellow for contributions to software engineering, specifically testing and metrics, and the theory of computation.

2010 ACM Presidential Award recipient Elaine Weyuker

Mary Jane Irwin, 2010-2011 ACM Athena Lecturer

Mary Jane Irwin's Athena Lecture took place June 22, 2010, at the 37th International Symposium on Computer Architecture (ISCA 2010) in Saint-Malo, France. She also received the 2005 ACM Distinguished Service Award for wide-ranging service to the computing community, especially in areas related to professional society leadership and governance.

Mary Jane Irwin, 2010-2011 ACM Athena Lecturer

Francine Berman, 2009 ACM-IEEE CS Ken Kennedy Award

Francine Berman received the 2009 ACM-IEEE CS Ken Kennedy Award for her influential leadership in the design, development and deployment of national-scale cyberinfrastructure, her inspiring work as a teacher and mentor, and her exemplary service to the high performance community. She was also named an ACM Fellow for pioneering work in application scheduling for parallel distributed computing.

2009 ACM-IEEE CS Ken Kennedy Award recipient Francine Berman

Barbara J. Grosz, 2008 ACM – AAAI Allen Newell Award

Barbara J. Grosz received the 2008 ACM – AAAI Allen Newell Award for fundamental contributions to research in natural language processing and in multi-agent systems, for her leadership in the field of artificial intelligence, and for her role in the establishment and leadership of interdisciplinary institutions. She was also named an ACM Fellow for contributions to the study of human discourse.

2008 ACM – AAAI Allen Newell Award recipient Barbara J Grosz

Corinna Cortes, 2008 Paris Kanellakis Award

Corinna Cortes received the 2008 ACM Paris Kanellakis Theory and Practice Award (with Vladimir Vapnik) for the development of Support Vector Machines, a highly effective algorithm for classification and related machine learning problems. The algorithm and its variants have been used in practical applications such as handwriting recognition, speech synthesis, medical diagnosis, protein structure prediction, face detection, and weather forecasting.

2008 ACM Paris Kanellakis Theory and Practice Award co-recipient Corinna Cortes

Telle Whitney, 2008 ACM Distinguished Service Award

Telle Whitney was recognized for significant service to the computing community, by founding and leading initiatives and institutes that have positively impacted the professional careers of women in computing. She served as Secretary-Treasurer of ACM, and (with Anita Borg) founded the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, the premier conference for supporting and mentoring technical women.

ACM Distinguished Service Award recipient Telle Whitney

Barbara Ryder, 2008 ACM Presidential Award

Barbara Gershon Ryder received the 2008 ACM Presidential Award for chairing two Federated Computing Research Conferences, as well as for work on SIGPLAN's History of Programming Languages conferences. She was also named an ACM Fellow for seminal contributions to the theoretical foundations and empirical investigation of interprocedural compile-time analyses, especially for languages with general-purpose pointers.

2008 ACM Presidential Award recipient Barbara Ryder

Daphne Koller, 2007 ACM Prize

Daphne Koller received the very first ACM Prize in Computing (then known as the ACM-Infosys Foundation Award in the Computing Sciences) for her work on combining relational logic and probability that allows probabilistic reasoning to be applied to applications including robotics, economics, and biology. A lecture she gave at IJCAI 2001 established a new knowledge representation paradigm, "relational probabilistic models," as a major research area in AI.

2007 ACM Prize Recipient Daphne Koller

Karen Sparck-Jones, 2007-2008 Athena Lecturer, 2006 Allen Newell Award

Karen Sparck-Jones videotaped her Athena Lecture shortly before her death in April 2007; the lecture was shown at the 30th Annual International ACM SIGIR Conference later that year. Sparck-Jones also received the 2006 ACM-AAAI Allen Newell Award for seminal contributions to the field of information retrieval, and for contributions bridging information retrieval and computational linguistics.

Karen Sparck-Jones, 2007-2008 Athena Lecturer, 2006 Allen Newell Award

Deborah Estrin, 2006-2007 ACM Athena Lecturer

Deborah Estrin was the inaugural Athena Lecturer. She delivered her lecture at MobiCom 2006. She was also named an ACM Fellow for significant contributions to the design of scalable internet protocols, and for service to the networking community. Estrin was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2018 for designing open-source platforms that leverage mobile devices and data to address socio-technological challenges such as personal health management.

Deborah Estrin, 2006-2007 ACM Athena Lecturer

Ruzena Bajcsy, 2001 Allen Newell Award

Ruzena R. Bajcsy received the 2001 ACM-AAAI Allen Newell Award for outstanding research contributions in several areas including computational anatomy and active sensing and perception, resulting in major impacts in robotics, computer vision, and artificial intelligence. She also received the 2003 ACM Distinguished Service Award for contributions to computer science, information technology and societal systems as a researcher, educator and administrator.

2001 Allen Newell Award recipient Ruzena Bajcsy