Women's Activism NYC

Sophie Wilson

1975 - Today

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When people talk about Sophie Wilson, the first thing that comes to mind is her long lists of achievements. Born in Leeds, England, in 1957, she began studying computer science at the University of Cambridge in 1975. Wilson was known to be shy but curious during her time at Cambridge University. In 1977, she developed an automated cow-feeder during her first summer vacation. She joined Acorn Computers later where she was instrumental in designing the BBC Micro, including the BBC BASIC programming language whose development she led for 15 years. During her time at Acorn, she designed the Acorn System 1, an early 8-bit microcomputer for hobbyists, which was produced commercially by the British company Acorn Computers beginning in 1979. She designed the first ARM processor at Acorn, a little chip that now runs almost all mobile phones and tablets and allowed a few of the first-ever computers to have a “brain!” The ARM processor core is now used in thousands of different products, from mobile phones and tablets to digital televisions and video games. The number of ARM processor cores now shipped exceeds 30 billion or more than four ARM microprocessors for every person on earth. To this day, Wilson remains highly engaged in the technology field and is now the director at the technology conglomerate Broadcom, Inc. Nevertheless, she is one of the most important women figures in the technology industry.

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