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Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Tech pioneer discusses women and computers | Community - Los Altos Town Crier

Nomi Guillén Trapnell, a retired Hewlett-Packard executive, is scheduled to discuss “Women and Computers: Then and Now” 10:15 a.m. Thursday at Los Altos Hills Town Hall, 26379 W. Fremont Ave.

Seated portrait of Charles Babbage
Trapnell’s presentation will review innovative technologies that advanced computing, as well as the women who played key roles. As one of the few early female computer visionaries, she will address the declining numbers of women in technology today and offer suggestions for attracting more women to computer science programs.

“When I started at Lockheed, I was called a scientific programmer. There were no computer science degrees, and if you could do the job, you got hired,” she said.

Armed with degrees from Hofstra University in political science and San Jose State University in mathematics, Trapnell found she could do the work, and since Lockheed was involved in the space industry, it was fun.

Recent studies, like one by software platform Carta, find that Silicon Valley women continue to earn less than men. In addition, they tend to have less equity. Carta surveyed 6,000 plus companies and found that women own 9 percent of founder equity...

A native of El Salvador, Trapnell helped develop several computers featured in the “Revolution” exhibition at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. A docent at the museum since 2014, she showcases the Babbage difference engine, created by inventor Charles Babbage in the 1820s and ’30s. The machine is based on a mathematical principle, the method of divided differences. Babbage developed the analytic engine as well. Trapnell also leads the museum’s K-12 workshops and its Women in Computing tours.

Source: Los Altos Town Crier