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Margaret Hamilton (Software Engineer)
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Computer Tech
    (August 17, 1936- )
    Born in Paoli, Indiana
    Birth name was Margaret Heafield
    Director of the Software Engineering Division of the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory
    Headed the team that developed the onboard flight software for the Apollo space program
    One of the people credited with coining the term 'software engineering'
    CEO of Higher Order Software (1976-84)
    Founded Hamilton Technologies Inc. (1986)
    Received the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2016)
    She shared her name with the Wicked Witch of the West.
    She said about coining 'software engineering,' 'When I first started using the phrase, it was considered quite amusing. It was an ongoing joke for a long time.'
    She said she was so wrapped up in her work that she did not notice the gender disparities of the '60s until she watched Mad Men.
    When a reporter contacted her after a picture of her (the same one in the profile pic) went viral, she commented, 'My generation does not use that social media.'
    She headed a team of over a hundred engineers.
    She had to get the Apollo flight software to work on a computer with 72K memory -- about a millionth of what a contemporary cellphone might have.
    The prioritization protocols that she wrote into the Apollo XI software prevented a potential overload of the central processing unit (caused by a radar switch in the wrong position) just minutes before touchdown: 'It quickly became clear that the software was not only informing everyone there was a hardware problem, but that the software was compensating for it.'
    She said, 'Looking back, we were the luckiest people in the world. There was no choice but to be pioneers.'
    She was immortalized in Lego as part of their 'Women of NASA' set.

Credit: C. Fishel


    For 2019, as of last week, Out of 28 Votes: 50.0% Annoying
 
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