Influential Women in Computer Science From the Last 10 Years

Influential Women in Computer Science From the Last 10 Years

Our list of influential women in computer science features those who have impacted artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, who have held executive roles in big tech companies, and who have affected positive change in their university departments. These women are helping to shape the future of technology and influencing others to follow in their footsteps.

Top 10 Women in Computer Science From the Last 10 Years

  1. Fei-Fei Li
  2. Daphne Koller
  3. Shafrira Goldwasser
  4. Dina Katabi
  5. Barbara Liskov
  6. Timnit Gebru
  7. Nancy Lynch
  8. Daniela L. Rus
  9. Jennifer Widom
  10. Stephanie Seneff

Computer scientists helped to create the smartphones in our hands, the software programs we use to power our workplaces, the medical devices needed to perform surgery, and the games we play on our computers. Computer scientists work in a diverse range of fields including AI, robotics, automation, information technology, FinTech, and much more. Computer scientists find employment in healthcare, startups, think tanks, government, finances, and more. There is demand for qualified computer science professions in every sector of the economy. This is why the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a job growth rate of 22% between now and 2030, which far exceeds the average rate of job growth for all occupations.

Students who study computer science will gain foundational knowledge in algorithms, programming languages, and operating systems. They can take courses on subjects like cybersecurity, data mining, analytics, and website construction. Postgraduate degree programs offer specialized and advanced courses, providing in-depth knowledge of theory and design of computing systems, among other subjects. Though many graduates with a bachelor’s degree go on to find successful employment, many choose to continue their education, earning a master’s or doctorate.

While the American Association of University Women (AAUW) reports that women in computer science are paid higher salaries than women in many other fields, they still face representation and pay gaps relative to their male counterparts. In 2019, only 19% of the bachelor’s in computer science were awarded to women, and only 28% and 20%, respectively, of master’s and doctorates in the field went to women.

AAUW is among many organizations seeking to change that. The Association for Women in Computing,, and Girls Who Code all encourage women to enter the technology field. is named after Dr. Anita Borg, who in 1987, started a digital community for women in computing. Part of the organization’s mission is to connect, inspire, and guide women in computing, and organizations that view technology innovation as a strategic imperative.

While there is a need for more female representation in computer science, our list of influential women in the field serves to inspire others to join their ranks. Our top influencer, Fei-Fei Li, is co-creator of ImageNet and the Sequoia Capital Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University. Barbara Liskov was one of the first women in the US to earn a PhD in computer science and is now a computer scientist at MIT. Timnit Gebru, an Ethiopian American computer scientist, works on algorithmic bias and data mining and is the co-founder of Black in AI. Carol E. Reiley is a pioneer in teleoperated and autonomous robot systems in surgery, space exploration, disaster rescue and self-driving cars.

Influential Women in Computer Science From the Last 10 Years

  1. #1

    Fei-Fei Li

    1975 - Present (49 years)
    Fei-Fei Li is an American computer scientist, who was born in China and is known for establishing ImageNet, the dataset that enabled rapid advances in computer vision in the 2010s. She is the Sequoia Capital Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University and former board director at Twitter. Li is a Co-Director of the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, and a Co-Director of the Stanford Vision and Learning Lab. She served as the director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory from 2013 to 2018.
  2. #2

    Daphne Koller

    1968 - Present (56 years)
  3. #3

    Shafi Goldwasser

    1958 - Present (66 years)
  4. #4

    Dina Katabi

    1970 - Present (54 years)
    Dina Katabi is the Andrew and Erna Viterbi Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT and the director of the MIT Wireless Center. Academic biography Katabi received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Damascus in 1995 and M.S and Ph.D. in Computer Science from MIT in 1998 and 2003 respectively. In 2003, Katabi joined MIT, where she holds the title of Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. She is the co-director of the MIT Center for Wireless Networks and Mobile Computing and a principal investigator at MIT’s Computer Science a...
  5. #5

    Barbara Liskov

    1939 - Present (85 years)
    Barbara Liskov is an American computer scientist who has made pioneering contributions to programming languages and distributed computing. Her notable work includes the introduction of abstract data types and the accompanying principle of data abstraction, along with the Liskov substitution principle, which applies these ideas to object-oriented programming, subtyping, and inheritance. Her work was recognized with the 2008 Turing Award, the highest distinction in computer science.
  6. #6

    Timnit Gebru

    1983 - Present (41 years)
    Timnit Gebru is an Eritrean Ethiopian-born political activist and computer scientist who works on algorithmic bias and data mining. She is an advocate for diversity in technology and co-founder of Black in AI, a community of Black researchers working in artificial intelligence . She is the founder of the Distributed Artificial Intelligence Research Institute .
  7. #7

    Nancy Lynch

    1948 - Present (76 years)
  8. #8

    Daniela L. Rus

    1963 - Present (61 years)
    Daniela L. Rus is a roboticist and computer scientist, Director of the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory , and the Andrew and Erna Viterbi Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  9. #9

    Jennifer Widom

    Jennifer Widom is an American computer scientist known for her work in database systems and data management. She is notable for foundational contributions to semi-structured data management and data stream management systems. Since 2017, Widom is the dean of the School of Engineering and professor of computer science at Stanford University. Her honors include the Fletcher Jones Professor of Computer Science and multiple lifetime achievement awards from the Association for Computing Machinery.
  10. #10

    Stephanie Seneff

    1948 - Present (76 years)
    Stephanie Seneff is a senior research scientist at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology . Working primarily in the Spoken Language Systems group, her research at CSAIL relates to human-computer interaction, and algorithms for language understanding and speech recognition. In 2011, she began publishing controversial papers in low-impact, open access journals on biology and medical topics; the articles have received “heated objections from experts in almost every field she’s delved into,” according to the food columnist Ari Le...
  11. #11

    Diane Greene

    1955 - Present (69 years)
    Diane B. Greene is an American technology entrepreneur and executive. Greene started her career as a naval architect before transitioning to the tech industry, where she was a founder and CEO of VMware from 1998 until 2008. She was a board director of Google and CEO of Google Cloud from 2015 until 2019. She was also the co-founder and CEO of two startups, Bebop and VXtreme, which were acquired by Google and Microsoft, for $380 million and $75 million.
  12. #12

    Tracy Chou

    1987 - Present (37 years)
    Tracy Chou is a software engineer and advocate for diversity in technology related fields. She previously worked at Pinterest and Quora with internship experience at Rocket Fuel, Google, and Facebook.
  13. #13

    Radia Perlman

    1951 - Present (73 years)
    Radia Joy Perlman is an American computer programmer and network engineer. She is a major figure in assembling the networks and technology to enable what we now know as the internet. She is most famous for her invention of the Spanning Tree Protocol , which is fundamental to the operation of network bridges, while working for Digital Equipment Corporation, thus earning her nickname “Mother of the Internet”. Her innovations have made a huge impact on how networks self-organize and move data. She also made large contributions to many other areas of network design and standardization: for exampl...
  14. #14

    Anne-Marie Eklund Löwinder

    1957 - Present (67 years)
    Monika Ann-Mari Eklund Löwinder , born 26 September 1957 in Stockholm, is a Swedish Internet expert. Biography She is the Chief Information Security Officer at IIS, The Internet Foundation in Sweden. She also serves on the boards of internet-related organisations including the Council of European National Top Level Domain Registries and the Swedish Law and Informatics Research Institute.
  15. #15

    Lila Tretikov

    1978 - Present (46 years)
    Lila Tretikov is a Russian–American engineer and manager. Early life and education Tretikov was born in Moscow, Soviet Union. Her father is a mathematician, and her mother was a filmmaker. After moving to New York City at age 15, she learned English while waitressing and attended the University of California, Berkeley, but left before completing her degree. Her majors were computer science and art, and she researched machine learning.
  16. #16

    Jeannette Wing

    1956 - Present (68 years)
    Jeannette Marie Wing is Avanessians Director of the Data Science Institute at Columbia University, where she is also a professor of computer science. Until June 30, 2017, she was Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Research with oversight of its core research laboratories around the world and Microsoft Research Connections. Prior to 2013, she was the President’s Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States. She also served as assistant director for Computer and Information Science and Engineering at the NSF from 2007 to 2010. She was a...
  17. #17

    Wendy Hall

    1952 - Present (72 years)
    Dame Wendy Hall is a British computer scientist. She is Regius Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton. Early life and education Wendy Hall was born in west London and educated at Ealing Grammar School for Girls. She studied for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in mathematics at the University of Southampton. She completed her Bachelor of Science degree in 1974, and her Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1977. Her doctoral thesis was titled Automorphisms and coverings of Klein surfaces. She later completed a Master of Science degree in Computing at City University ...
  18. #18

    Jessica McKellar

    1987 - Present (37 years)
    Jessica Tess McKellar is an American software developer, engineering manager, and author. Education McKellar attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and studied computer science and chemistry.
  19. #19

    Carol E. Reiley

    1982 - Present (42 years)
    Carol Elizabeth Reiley is an American business executive, computer scientist, and model. She is a pioneer in teleoperated and autonomous robot systems in surgery, space exploration, disaster rescue, and self-driving cars. Reiley has worked at Intuitive Surgical, Lockheed Martin, and General Electric. She co-founded, invested in, and was president of, and is now CEO of a healthcare startup, a creative advisor for the San Francisco Symphony, and a brand ambassador for Guerlain Cosmetics. She is a published children’s book author, the first female engineer on the cover of MAKE magazine,...
  20. #20

    Cynthia Dwork

    1958 - Present (66 years)
    Cynthia Dwork is an American computer scientist best known for her contributions to cryptography, distributed computing, and algorithmic fairness. She is one of the inventors of differential privacy and proof-of-work.
  21. #21

    Lea Verou

    1986 - Present (38 years)
    Lea Verou is a computer scientist, front end web developer, speaker and author, originally from Lesbos, Greece. Verou is currently a research assistant at Massachusetts Institute of Technology Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory , an elected participant in the World Wide Web Consortium Technical Architecture Group , and an Invited Expert in the W3C CSS Working Group. She is the author of CSS Secrets: Better Solutions to Everyday Web Design Problems .
  22. #22

    Éva Tardos

    1957 - Present (67 years)
    Éva Tardos is a Hungarian mathematician and the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Computer Science at Cornell University. Tardos’s research interest is algorithms. Her work focuses on the design and analysis of efficient methods for combinatorial optimization problems on graphs or networks. She has done some work on network flow algorithms like approximation algorithms for network flows, cut, and clustering problems. Her recent work focuses on algorithmic game theory and simple auctions.
  23. #23

    Manuela M. Veloso

    1957 - Present (67 years)
  24. #24

    Regina Barzilay

    1970 - Present (54 years)
    Regina Barzilay is an Israeli-American computer scientist. She is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a faculty lead for artificial intelligence at the MIT Jameel Clinic. Her research interests are in natural language processing and applications of deep learning to chemistry and oncology.
  25. #25

    Lydia Kavraki

    1967 - Present (57 years)
    Lydia E. Kavraki is a Greek-American computer scientist, the Noah Harding Professor of Computer Science, a professor of bioengineering, electrical and computer engineering, and mechanical engineering at Rice University. She is also the director of the Ken Kennedy Institute at Rice University. She is known for her work on robotics/AI and bioinformatics/computational biology and in particular for the probabilistic roadmap method for robot motion planning and biomolecular configuration analysis.
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Image Credits:

Top row, left to right: Patricia Hill Collins, Emmanuelle Charpentier, Malala Yousafzai, Shafi Goldwasser, Jennifer Doudna, Fabiola Gianotti, Michiko Kakutani, Lauren Underwood.

Bottom row, left to right: Fei-Fei Li, Esther Duflo, Kathy Reichs, Nancy Fraser, Brené Brown, Judith Curry, Jill Lepore, Zaha Hadid.

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