Tech innovators to celebrate this Women’s History Month

by | Mar 14, 2024

Celebrate tech innovators this Women's History Month
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The journey to taking the first steps on the moon didn’t begin when Neil Armstrong and the Apollo 11 crew lifted off. It began decades before when the Wright brothers made the first powered flight. Along the way, innovators like Katherine Johnson contributed their genius to the cause and deserve to be celebrated this Women’s History Month!

We’re celebrating Women’s History Month by honoring the women whose innovations made it possible for Quantum Fiber to offer lightning-fast, ultra-reliable fiber internet today. Read the Women’s History Month stories below to see how women paved the way for Quantum Fiber and still do today!

Ada Lovelace

Women’s contributions go back as far as 1815 when Ada Lovelace was born. When she was just 17 Lovelace met a mathematician named Charles Babbage who designed a machine that could solve mathematical equations.

No one then knew that Babbage’s “Analytical Engine” was the ancestor of modern computers, but Lovelace saw the potential. In fact, Lovelace translated an article describing Babbage’s work into English with such detail that the article grew from eight thousand words to twenty thousand. She also realized that Babbage’s engine could weave algebraic patterns, and created a series of punch cards that the engine could read to create the patterns.

Today her punch cards are recognized as the world’s first computer program.

Celebrating women in tech

Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr was born in Austria in 1914 where she picked up acting in theater and film. Although she was known as a talented actor Lamarr also had a naturally innovative mind. She soon rose to fame as an actor during Hollywood’s Golden Age, but when World War II broke out she was moved to contribute to the Allied war effort.

Lamarr worked with a friend named George Antheil to create a communication system that protected torpedo’s radio waves from being interrupted. Although their invention wasn’t immediately adopted by the U.S. Navy, decades later it was instrumental in the creation of modern WiFi.

Mary Wilkes

Mary Wilkes began her career as a computer programmer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) in the 1950s. Using a computer during Wilkes’ era didn’t just require time, patience, and expertise. It also required space since, computers at the time were large enough to fill entire rooms.

Wilkes was assigned to the M.I.T. team responsible for changing that through the “Laboratory Instrument Computer” (LINC.) LINC was meant to be the world’s first interactive personal computer, and Wilkes was assigned to write its operating system.

During the project, her lab was relocated to St. Louis where Wilkes did not want to go. As a result, Wilkes not only made major contributions to the first personal computer, but she also became one of the first people to have one in her own home when she brought it there to finish her programming work!

Grace Hopper

Like Hedy Lamarr, Grace Hopper was inspired to help the Allies in World War II and joined the U.S. Naval Reserve. Hopper had also received a PhD. in mathematics from Yale in 1934 which led her to work on calculations for weapons as well as early computers like the Mark I.

Hopper applied her skills to computer programming which at the time involved writing programs with mathematical symbols. Hopper made programming more accessible by creating a programming language using English words instead of symbols called common business-oriented language (COBOL.) COBOL made programming much more approachable, and by the 1970s it was the most popular computer language in the world.

Hopper continued to serve in the U.S. Navy on top of her contributions to the technology field, and retired as a rear admiral at the age of 79.

Lumen leads the way today

The innovators on this list made major contributions to the technology that allows Quantum Fiber, a Lumen Technologies brand, to provide ultra-fast and reliable fiber internet. Today, Lumen CEO Kate Johnson is leading the way to help Lumen customers take advantage of the incredible tools these innovators helped create.

Johnson said this about her goals for Lumen under her leadership:

“The whole goal at Lumen is to migrate from playing not to lose in legacy telco markets to creating a new category of company — a global integrated network solutions provider that’s really focused on helping customers build their growth businesses in the digital economy. And as a result, I think there’s a role for this company to grow right alongside them.”

Celebrate women leaders in tech

Celebrate Women’s History Month

The contributions these women made to technology only scratch the surface of the things worth celebrating this Women’s History Month. No matter your field, we encourage you to join us in celebrating the accomplishments of women throughout history this Women’s History Month!

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