chicks & computers [was: [BATN] Bay Area gas at record high;experts cite ethanol]

James Rogers jamesr@best.com
Mon, 17 Mar 2003 00:05:13 -0800


On 3/16/03 6:37 PM, "Joseph S Barrera III" <joe@barrera.org> wrote:
> Russell Turpin wrote:
>> James Rogers:
>>> More to the point, name all the advances in the field of systems
>>> and software engineering that were the product of the fertile
>>> imagination of a female engineer or theoretician. ..
>>
>> If you look up the papers published by Nancy Lynch, you'll find
>> quite a few of these. She heads Theory of Distributed Systems at
>> MIT. Here's her home page:
>> 
>> http://theory.lcs.mit.edu/~lynch/
> 
> Lynch is a good example. There's also Mary Shaw and Barbara Liskov.


Precisely.  My contention isn't that these women are out there, but that for
every one of these women in circulation there are probably a dozen men in
circulation that are every bit as competent from a design engineering
standpoint.  Men that you probably haven't heard of.  When hiring, I see a
*lot* more of these men than these women.  That translates into bad odds for
a whole host of things associated with this fact.

To throw out another meaningless generalization, the best theoretical design
engineers in computer science are those that started in practical computer
science and then moved into theoretical mathematics.  A lot of the people
that do it the other way around often make wretched engineers in the real
world.  Main reason for the difference:  Two difference implicit assumptions
about the computational machinery that pervade their design sense.  The
people who are mathematicians first tend to do theoretical design work from
an implicitly ideal model of computation that occasionally translates badly
in practice.  I've seen it more than once over the years, and the
consequences are moderately interesting to observe.

Cheers,

-James Rogers
 jamesr@best.com