Women In Computing – Mary Wilkes

Mary Allen Wilkes is a notable figure in the field of computer science, known for her pioneering work in the development of early computer operating systems. She was born in 1937 in Chicago, Illinois, and went on to earn her Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Logic from Wellesley College in 1959. Later, she shifted her focus towards computer science.

Wilkes worked at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory, where she was involved in the development of the LINC (Laboratory Instrument Computer), which is often recognized as one of the world’s first personal computers due to its small size and individual use capabilities. The LINC was developed to assist biomedical researchers in data analysis and lab instrument control.

Mary Allen Wilkes is particularly noted for her work on the LINC’s operating system, which she designed and implemented. Not only did this make her one of the first individuals to develop an operating system, but she also was likely the first person to have a personal computer in her home, as she used a LINC at her residence for software development work.

Wilkes’ contributions have been valuable in showcasing the immense possibilities that computers presented for individual use and for the development of software and operating systems that allow computers to function effectively and efficiently. Her work paved the way for future advancements in computer technology and has influenced the field of computer science significantly.

Comments are closed.