Grace Hopper and Women in Computing

Grace Hopper Conference 2007 I normally try to avoid events like this because I feel like issues around women in computing, much less women of color, are usually handled in an awkward way, no matter how good someone’s intentions are.

And yes, even if that someone is a woman.

But I’m giving it another go, so I’ll be attending the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference in Orlando this week. For those who don’t know, Grace Hopper was a pioneering computer scientist who, among other things, developed the first compiler for a computer programming language. She’s also often credited incorrectly for coining the software term “bug.” The term was already in use when the it happened, but the story goes that, in 1947, when Hopper was working on the Harvard Mark II calculator, an error was traced back to a moth trapped in a relay. The moth was carefully removed and Hopper taped it into the log book, noting that it was the “first actual case of bug being found.”

In any case, I’ve written here about the gender imbalance in computer science and engineering before. Read about Geek Girls: parts one and two. I’ll be posting more thoughts as the week progresses.