Named after important and influential men and women from the IT community - voted for by the public - the seven meeting rooms at Copthall Ave. were dedicated to the following heroes of computing history:
Thomas Harold “Tommy” Flowers BSc DSc MBE
22 December 1905 - 28 October 1998
Whilst working at Bletchley Park during WWII, Flowers devised Colossus (the world’s first programmable electronic computer) to assist in the codebreaking efforts of the war. Ten Colossi were built during the war, two of which were later moved to GCHQ in Cheltenham, where they are alleged to have been used during the Cold War.
Professor Stanley Gill
26 March 1926 - 5 April 1975
Along with Maurice Wilkes and David Wheeler, British computer scientist Prof. Stanley Gill invented the first computer subroutine and worked with the Electronic delay storage automatic calculator (EDSAC) designed by Wilkes.
He was BCS President from 1967-1968.
Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (née Byron)
10 December 1815 - 27 November 1852
Recognised as one of the first computer programmers, in the 19th century, Ada Lovelace had the foresight and imagination to picture computer capability as going far beyond just number crunching. She wrote what is considered by many to be the first published computer program in the 1840s.
BCS awards the Lovelace Medal annually in her honour, with the recipient hosting the Lovelace Lecture.
Dame Vera Stephanie "Steve" Shirley CH DBE FREng FBCS (née Buchthal), 16 September 1933
A pioneer for British information technology, Dame Shirley has been instrumental in advancing women in tech.
In 1962, she established the outsourcing company Freelance Programmers, hiring an almost entirely female staff of programmers - almost 300 of them. The company’s successes include programming the black box for Concorde.
Since retiring, Dame Shirley has donated most of her wealth from selling or floating her companies to charity and continues to be an advocate in the tech community.
She was BCS President from 1989-1990.
Image credit: Robert Taylor
Karen Spärck-Jones FBA FBCS
26 August 1935 - 4 April 2007
To quote The New York Times, Spärck-Jones was ‘a pioneer of computer science for work combining statistics and linguistics, and an advocate for women in the field’. Amongst her many achievements, Spärck-Jones invented the tech behind most modern-day search engines.
The Karen Spärck Jones Lecture is held in her honour each year.
Alan Mathison Turing OBE FRS
23 June 1912 - 7 June 1954
A codebreaker and computer science pioneer, Turing helped to develop theoretical computer science and created the Turing machine. During WWII, Turing’s techniques were used to break German ciphers; his work at Bletchley Park was pivotal in helping win the war.
His Turing Test, developed in the 1950s, is still used today to determine the ability of AI features such as natural language processing.
The Turing Talk, a BCS roadshow lecture, is held annually in his honour.
Sir Maurice Vincent Wilkes FRS FREng
26 June 1913 - 29 November 2010
Founder of BCS, Wilkes, along with his laboratory at Cambridge University, was instrumental in the design and execution of several notable computer technologies, including the concept of microprogramming and the Electronic delay storage automatic calculator (EDSAC), one of the earliest digital stored-program computers to be commissioned.