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

Evan Hepler-Smith ehepler at princeton.edu
Tue Feb 7 09:47:41 PST 2017


Dear Madeleine,

If you're willing to do a little digging, you might look into the work of
Georgia Sutherland at Stanford during the 1960s-70s. Sutherland did the
LISP programming for DENDRAL, an important early expert systems AI project.
Some of her correspondence regarding the project is online
<https://exhibits.stanford.edu/feigenbaum/catalog?_=1486488951509&f%5Bauthor_no_collector_ssim%5D%5B%5D=Sutherland%2C+Georgia+L.>,
and she published quite a bit on it as well.

Can't find much about her online (which is the point of studying hidden
figures, I guess). But I recall coming across a picture of her hanging out
with the other major DENDRAL figures (Ed Feigenbaum, Joshua Lederberg, Carl
Djerassi, Bruce Buchanan) at a reunion. Might be worth reaching out to
Buchanan (here's his website <https://people.cs.pitt.edu/~buchanan/>; there
must be others on this list who know him personally).

All best,
Evan

On Tue, Feb 7, 2017 at 12:10 PM, Pierre MOUNIER-KUHN <mounier at msh-paris.fr>
wrote:

>
>
> ------------------------------
> *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]
> <https://messagerie.msh-paris.fr/zimbra/#_ftn2>. 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] <#m_-4549428472080457872__ftn1>.
> 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.
> Best,
> Pierre Mounier-Kuhn
>
>
> [1] <https://messagerie.msh-paris.fr/zimbra/#_ftnref1> For an overview of
> Paul Braffort’s life and activities, see his website :
> http://www.paulbraffort.net/
>
> [2] <https://messagerie.msh-paris.fr/zimbra/#_ftnref2>
> 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)
>
> https://www.academia.edu/30680162/Logic_Formal_
> Linguistics_and_Computing_in_France_From_non-reception_to_
> progressive_convergence_HaPoC3_
>
> ------------------------------
> *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,
>
> Madeleine
>
> --
> M C Elish
>
> Researcher
> Intelligence & Autonomy Initiative
> <http://www.datasociety.net/initiatives/intelligence-and-autonomy/>
> Data & Society Institute <http://www.datasociety.net/>
> 36 West 20th Street, 11th Floor
> New York, NY 10011
>
>
>
>
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-- 
Evan Hepler-Smith
Environmental Fellow
Harvard University Center for the Environment
339.203.1096
evanheplersmith.com
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