Karen Spärck Jones Lecture 2014

Karen Spärck Jones Lecture 2014

by Academy Admin

Professor Dame Wendy Hall FRS FREng presented the 4th annual Karen Spärck Jones Lecture, honouring women in computing research. The event was sponsored by IBM and BCS and was held at the BCS London office.

Dame Wendy Hall - How to enjoy a career in computing: the power of networks

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3


How to enjoy a career in computing: the power of networks

In 1987, I co-authored a paper on the lack of women in computer science called "Where have all the girls gone?". Twenty-seven years later things have changed depressingly little despite much effort across many different projects and initiatives. During that time however, I have (mostly) enjoyed a wonderful career in computing. In this talk I will reflect on how the power of networks has affected my career both in terms of the work I do and in terms of surviving, indeed thriving, in what is still very much a man’s world. I will also reflect on the current state of affairs with regards to women in computer science and in the wider STEM community. What lessons have we learnt and what hope is there for the future? As Karen Spärck Jones famously said – computing is too important to be left to men. But it is only by working together that we will change the gender balance in our industry. It's time for men to make sacrifices as well.

About the speaker

Dame Wendy Hall, DBE, FRS, FREng is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton, UK, and is Dean of the Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering. She was Head of the School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) from 2002 to 2007.

One of the first computer scientists to undertake serious research in multimedia and hypermedia, she has been at its forefront ever since. The influence of her work has been significant in many areas including digital libraries, the development of the Semantic Web, and the emerging research discipline of Web Science. She has published over 400 papers and is frequently invited to speak at high profile conferences and events around the world.

With Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Sir Nigel Shadbolt she co-founded the Web Science Research Initiative in 2006 and she is currently a Director of the Web Science Trust, which has a global mission to support the development of research, education and thought leadership in Web Science.

In addition to playing a prominent role in the development of her subject, she also helps shape science and engineering policy and education. 

She became a Dame Commander of the British Empire in the 2009 UK New Year's Honours list, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in June 2009.

She was President of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) from 2008-2010; the first person from outside North America to hold this position. Other significant posts she has held include Senior Vice President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, member of the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology, founding member of the European Research Council, member of the EPSRC Council, President of the British Computer Society and EPSRC Senior Research Fellow. She was Chair of the European Commission’s ISTAG 2010-2012.  She is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Council on Robotics and Smart Devices.