CBI Spotlight

Gender Bias in Computing

CBI Director emeritus and SHOT President Tom Misa's article entitled "Dynamics of Gender Bias in Computing" is now available in the June 2021 issue of Communications of the ACM. His article presents a new dataset that significantly revises scholarly assessment and popular understanding about Gender Bias in computing and includes a video presentation by the author. 

Tripling Women's Participation in Computing (1965-1985)

With funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, CBI investigated a two-decade period when computing was singularly hospitable to women. The proportion of women gaining computer science undergraduate degrees tripled from 1967 to mid-1980s, from 12 to 37 percent, while the proportion of women in the white-collar professional IT workforce climbed impressively as well, topping out in the mid-1980s at 38 percent.

CBI researched archival records to better understand industry attitudes and perspectives, conducted over thirty oral histories with women active in industry during the 1965-85 period, and HST Ph.D. student William Vogel published on the findings in IEEE Annals of the History of Computing.

Director emeritus and SHOT President Misa is currently writing a major monograph on computing and gender and has published a core article from this research in ACM’s flagship journal, Communications of the ACM.


Zachary Loeb, ABD, from the University of Pennsylvania named 2021 - 22 Tomash Fellow

CBI wishes to congratulate just named 2021 - 2022 Tomash Fellow Zachary Loeb, ABD, from the Department of History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania! Zachary will be utilizing our two Y2K collections for a dissertation on technocracy and the political and cultural history of Y2K entitled "Back to Zero: How Y2K Shaped our Computerized Society." Zachary's research on Y2K has also been featured in multiple peer reviewed publications, appeared in a CNN Y2K documentary, and has published on the topic in The Washington Post.

New approach to Norberg Travel Grant allows for five recipients for 2021 

Due to COVID-19, the Norberg selection committee, composed of Director Jeffrey Yost and Archivist/Curator Amanda Wick, decided to award five grants for 2021. The grants, now scanning grants, rather than travel, are for $400 and will allow for remote use of the CBI Archives. Congratulations the newest Norberg Grant recipients: 

Marc Aidinoff, PhD Candidate in the HASTS program at MIT

Topic: A More Updated Union: The Computerization of Welfare and the Reinvention of Liberalism


David Nofre, Independent Scholar

Topic: A Compelling Image: The Tower of Babel in the Historiography of Programming Languages


Ulysses Pascal, Ph.D. Candidate, Information Studies, UCLA

Topic: Automated Futures: NASDAQ and the Global Circuits of Finance


Jamie SteeleDoctoral Candidate, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Department of Science & Technology Studies

Topic: Enacting the Fantasy Woman: A Social History of Natural Language Processing


Máté Szabó, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford

Topic: Edmund C. Berkeley and the Kalin-Burkhart Calculator

Catching up with other CBI Scholars

Our current, 2020-2021 Tomash Fellow, Columbia University, History Dept., ABD, Aaron Mendon-Plasek just published "Mechanized Significance and Machine Learning: Why It Became Thinkable and Preferable to Teach Machines to Judge the World"  in J. Roberge and M. Castelle, eds. The Cultural Life of Machine Learning, Palgrave-MacMillan, 2020. Aaron, who studies under Matt Jones and Richard John at Columbia, does very thoughtful, historiographically-rich (in both sci. and tech.), and provocative work.

We also want to congratulate our 2019 - 2020 Tomash Fellow Colette Perold who received her Ph.D from NYU with a dissertation on business and social history of IBM in Brazil. Colette was hired right out of grad school as an Assistant Professor in Media Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder. 

John Kendall, ABD, Geography, Environment and Society, UMN was awarded one of the highly competitive $25,000 IDFs for the coming academic year to work at CBI with Affiliated Historian Honghong Tinn, Interim Archivist Amanda Wick, and CBI Director, Jeffrey Yost. John is researching environment and culture with computer modeling, AI, ML applications in hydraulic fracturing in the Permian Basin. His dissertation will include research on political economy, user innovation, Cloud, and IT services dimensions.

UMN Carlson School PhD. Paul Nary is now an Asst. Prof. at Penn's Wharton School and Devika Narayan, ABD, was just offered a tremendously prestigious postdoc, along with winning the best student paper award at a major section of the American Sociological Association.