[SIGCIS-Members] "Hidden Figures" in history of computing?

Pierre MOUNIER-KUHN mounier at msh-paris.fr
Tue Feb 7 09:10:43 PST 2017

De: "Pierre MOUNIER-KUHN" <mounier at msh-paris.fr> 
À: "Madeleine Clare Elish" <madeleine at datasociety.net> 
Envoyé: Mardi 7 Février 2017 18:10:04 
Objet: Re: [SIGCIS-Members] "Hidden Figures" in history of computing? 

Dear Madeleine, 

If you care for a transnational perspective, I would suggest Paul Braffort. A physicist and mathematician whose curiosity ranged from logic to linguistics, including formal poetry, song writing and private jokes [1] . Braffort created an analogue computing laboratory at the French Atomic Energy Authority in 1950, then headed Euratom’s computer center in Brussels. His good relationship with IBM Belgium allowed him to use an IBM educational facility to gather a conference of logicians and computer scientists, where among other memorable speakers, John McCarthy present his vigorous manifesto, “A Basis for a Mathematical Theory of Computation”, which proclaimed the foundation of a new science of computation (proceedings : P. Braffort & D. Hirschberg (eds.) (1963), Computer Programming and Formal Systems , Amsterdam, North-Holland). 

Paul Braffort and others interacted on artificial intelligence research at Euratom in Brussels and in a “Leibniz” seminar at Ispra (Italy), leading to a book by Braffort in 1968 – certainly one of the first books including “ artificial intelligence ” in their titles [2] . Moreover, as your project is a film, note that Paul really looks like a character from a cartoon, and is a remorseless Bolshevik. He is 93 years old and lives in a XVIIth century attic in the center of Paris. 

Hope this helps. 
Pierre Mounier-Kuhn 

[1] For an overview of Paul Braffort’s life and activities, see his website : http://www.paulbraffort.net/ 

[2] http://www.paulbraffort.net/ia/pdf/IA_couvertures.pdf. http://www.paulbraffort.net/ia/ia.html 

I presented him in his historical context at the HaPoC3 Conference for the History and Philosophy of Computing (8-11 October, 2015, Pisa, Italia) 


De: "Madeleine Clare Elish" <madeleine at datasociety.net> 
À: "members" <members at sigcis.org> 
Envoyé: Mardi 7 Février 2017 17:13:57 
Objet: [SIGCIS-Members] "Hidden Figures" in history of computing? 

Dear SIGCIS community, 

Who are the "Hidden Figures" in the history of computing, and especially "artificial intelligence" research? There must be so many more (and more diverse?) than Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper and the women behind ENIAC. Do you have favorite histories about individuals or communities? 

I'm working on a research project for a documentary film and would be very grateful for suggestions about books, articles, people, or other resources. I'm a novice here, so thank you for your patience with my inquiry. Suggestions on or off list most welcome! 

Have you come across an unsung hero(ine) that you'd be willing to direct us toward? 

Thank you for your time, and looking forward to your thoughts, 


M C Elish 

Intelligence & Autonomy Initiative 
Data & Society Institute 
36 West 20th Street, 11th Floor 
New York, NY 10011 

This email is relayed from members at sigcis.org, the email discussion list of SHOT SIGCIS. Opinions expressed here are those of the member posting and are not reviewed, edited, or endorsed by SIGCIS. The list archives are at http://lists.sigcis.org/pipermail/members-sigcis.org/ and you can change your subscription options at http://lists.sigcis.org/listinfo.cgi/members-sigcis.org 

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.sigcis.org/pipermail/members-sigcis.org/attachments/20170207/3c0c64ab/attachment.htm>

More information about the Members mailing list