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9 Programming Languages and the Women Who Created Them


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Kathleen Booth, developer of the ARC assembly language.

Women have made many important and lasting contributions to the field of software development, including the development of programming languages.

Credit: Centre for Computing History

Despite software development's reputation as a male-dominated field, women have made many important and lasting contributions to the field, including the development of programming languages.

One of the first was the ARC assembly language created by Kathleen Booth for the ARC (Automatic Relay Calculator) computer in 1950.

In 1955, Soviet physicist and mathematician Kateryna Yushchenko developed the Address programming language, which was widely used in the Soviet Union for more than 20 years.

A few years later, the U.S. Navy's Grace Hopper was one of the technical advisers for the committee that created COBOL.

In 1962, IBM's Jean Sammet developed the FORMAC programming language, which was widely used for symbolic mathematical computation.

Later that decade, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Cynthia Solomon helped develop Logo, which would go on to influence educational programming languages such as Scratch.

In 1974, Barbara Liskov, the first woman awarded a computer science Ph.D. in the U.S., led the team that developed CLU, which would influence later languages such as Java and Python.

Xerox PARC researcher Adele Goldberg was part of the team that developed the Smalltalk programming language released in 1980.

British computer scientist Sophie Wilson developed BBC BASIC, a programming language used to teach people about programming.

Finally, in 1991, Christine Paulin-Mohring created Coq, a new implementation based on the Calculus of Inductive Constructions language.

From Computerworld
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