Sunayana’s Blog

Ada Lovelace Day: Jeannette Wing

Posted on: March 24, 2009

When I first heard about Ada Lovelace Day, a day for which more than 1500 people have signed up to publish blog posts about women in technology that they admire, I was a little confused about who to blog about. I’ve met some truly great women in Computer Science, including last year’s Turing Award winner Fran Allen, Prof. Lenore Blum and Prof. Manuela Veloso from Carnegie Mellon, Dr. Jennifer Tour Chayes from Microsoft Research, Dr. Elaine Weyuker from AT&T, to name just a few.

However, since I had to restrict myself to talking about one person, I decided to blog about Prof. Jeannette Wing, who is the President’s Professor of Computer Science in the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University. She is also the Assistant Director of the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate at the NSF. She completed her undergraduate, Master’s and PhD degrees from MIT. Her research interests include specification and verification, concurrent and distributed systems,programming languages and software engineering. A detailed biography of Dr. Wing can be found here.

I had the opportunity of listening to a talk by Prof. Wing at CMU in 2007, during the OurCS conference held there. I was inspired by her energy and enthusiasm and her passion for what she was talking about that day – Computational Thinking.

What is Computational Thinking?
Computational Thinking is a way of solving problems, designing systems, and understanding human behavior that draws on concepts fundamental to computer science, like abstraction, scale, algorithms etc. To flourish in today’s world, computational thinking has to be a fundamental part of the way people think and understand the world[1]. Prof. Wing’s CACM article on Computational Thinking can be found here (warning: PDF).

Prof. Wing has been nicknamed ‘Dragon Lady’ 🙂 by some of her students, because of the intensity she brings into her work and her love of martial arts.

She is considered to be one of the most original and creative scientists in Computer Science today.

[1] The Center for Computational Thinking, CMU


4 Responses to "Ada Lovelace Day: Jeannette Wing"

The cool thing about Jeannette is that she completed all three degrees in one place, and still became successful. It’s one thing that I’ve been constantly warned about doing!

I think you can be successful no matter where you are. It may be more difficult in some places compared to others, but it can definitely be done! 🙂

Lady, i got to your blog through Ravi Mohan’s. Interesting to see a pretty lady working upon nerdy stuff. Just don’t let all this flattery and attention distract you from your work. I can bet you that most of these comments are more due to your charming face than probably your work 🙂
All the best

Curious about what flattery you are talking about.

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