Yesterday, two brave women — one just 16, the other a former battle-scarred Navy SEAL — both speaking out, in different ways, for individual dignity and the freedom to pursue one’s own happiness.
Today, Lynn Conway’s story. No Navy SEAL she — all she did, before being fired by IBM in 1968 for being transgender (she was born Robert), was invent “dynamic instruction scheduling,” an underpinning of supercomputing. That story is updated briefly here, as she and her husband walked into the White House last month to celebrate LGBT Pride with the President of the United States.
Is this a great country, or what?
*Very Large Scale Integrated Circuits. Lynn was “the hidden-hand behind the VLSI microelectronics revolution in Silicon Valley — a revolution that’s changed the world forever.” Read her whole story here.
Meanwhile, eQualityGiving founder Juan Jover — formerly of Bell Labs — writes: “As a former participant in the computer chip industry, I can tell you that all of us who built computer chips for the last 30-plus years did it using the new methods created in Lynn Conway’s1980 textbook (I am holding a copy signed by her as I write this). The revolution of packing so much computer power in smaller devices (like smartphones) is all due to computer chips that use Lynn’s methods. Frankly, it is difficult to overemphasize Lynn’s contribution. But this is not all, after MIT, Robert Lynn worked for IBM, where he made contributions so ahead of its time they could not be implemented for decades. After being fired for her gender identity, and transitioning to Lynn, she had to re-start her career from scratch for fear of being found out. Linking this to ENDA: How much did Lynn’s firing, and her not creating her computer chips design revolution there, cost IBM’s shareholders? Had VLSI design revolution been proprietary to them, they would have killed Intel, among others. [By the way], Lynn has perhaps the most influential website on transgender issues, lynnconway.com. It is translated into 20 languages, providing role models about successful transitions across the world.”