Jean E Sammet

Jean E Sammet (1928 - ) is a computer scientist who developed the FORMAC programming language. Having attended the Julia Richman High School after being turned away from the Bronx High School of Science because she was a girl, she received her BA in mathematics and political science from Mount Holyoke College in 1948, her MA in mathematics from University of Illinios in 1949, and later received an honorary D.Sc. from Mount Holyoke College in 1978. She taught one of the first programming courses in the country at Adelphi College from 1956-1958. After supervising the first scientific programming group at Sperry Gyroscope from 1955-1958, she worked for Sylvania as a staff consultant for programming research and as a member of the original COBOL group. She then joined IBM in 1961 where she developed FORMAC, the first widely used computer language for symbolic manipulation of mathematical formulas. She was promoted from Programming Technology Planning Manager for the Federal Systems Division, to Software Technology Manager in 1979. She founded the ACM Special Interest Committee on Symbolic and Algebraic Manipulation in 1965. She published “Programming Languages: History and Fundamentals”, a standard book on its topic, and called an “instant computer classic” in 1969.  She received a Computer Pioneer Award in 2009. She was the first female president of the Association of Computing Machinery from 1974 to 1976. She is currently 88 years old and is retired, but still a member of the National Academy of Engineering.