Margaret Hamilton


Video Script

The next influential woman in computer science that we’ll talk about here is Margaret Hamilton. Margaret was the director of software engineering at MIT’s instrumentation lab. Margaret Hamilton was also known as the, essentially the creator of the field of software engineering, essentially. But the reason why she is credited for software engineering is that she was responsible for a team that developed onboard flight software for the Apollo space program. During this timeframe, her program actually prevented a mission abort during the Apollo 11 moon landing, which is kind of crazy cool to think about right.

In this picture here is, she’s actually standing next to the output of one of the programs that they had actually made. In the video here you’ll see that, you know, programming at this time was completely by the seat of your pants, right? There was no really step by step procedure or best practice of programming pretty much anything. And so the idea that NASA trusted this group of engineers to create the flight software for the Apollo space program was really kind of crazy to think about. And so if you had actually messed up, right, the output of your program would just be you know, feet high instead of just a few pages long, which is this famous picture with Margaret Hamilton here in the slide.