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Cover image for Nevertheless, she coded: Karen Spärck Jones

Nevertheless, she coded: Karen Spärck Jones

helenanders26 profile image Helen Anderson ・2 min read

From early computers, to wartime inventions, the beginnings of the internet and beyond. Women have always been innovators in technology and science breaking down barriers in the process.

In honour of International Women's Day, I've chosen to highlight the women who inspire and influence me. Over the next couple of weeks, I'll be showcasing ten women who #ChooseToChallenge, open doors for others, and have changed the world.


The next woman in my series is computer scientist Karen Spärck Jones. Karen specialised in natural language processing and inverse document frequency since the 1960s. This research formed the technology that powers the search engines we use today.


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Her work extended to teaching and elevating women in computer science. She mentored PhD students, spoke at the first Grace Hopper Conference, and set standards for work in the natural language processing field.

Her research was recognised by the American Society for Information Science and Technology, the Association for Computational Linguistics, the American Association for Artificial Intelligence among many others.


“I think women bring a different perspective to computing, they are more thoughtful and less inclined to go straight for technical fixes. My belief is that, intellectually, computer science is fascinating - you're trying to make things that don't exist.”



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Image: University of Cambridge

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