US-RSE Pride Month Spotlight - Sophie Wilson
Published: Jun 5, 2023 by Miranda Mundt
US-RSE’s DEI working group (DEI-WG) is proud to help US-RSE celebrate and participate in Pride Month. Each week during Pride Month, the US-RSE will spotlight a member of the LGBTQIA+ community who has been involved in computing, science, engineering, and/or math, and have inspired our members through their accomplishments in their careers and their personal stories.
This week’s Pride Month spotlight features Sophie Wilson
Many of us are aware of the different companies that develop CPUs such as Intel and AMD. But did you know that one of the creators for the first ever ARM Processor was a member of the LGBTQIA+ community?
Sophie Wilson, born in 1957 in Leeds, England, has been involved in computing applications since her young years. According to an article from the Computer History Museum1, Sophie studied computer science at Cambridge in the mid-1970s, after which she created the Acorn System 1, a commercial 8-bit system geared towards computing hobbyists sold by Acorn Computers. While working at Acorn in 1985, she also co-developed the ARM processor, which is still in use in most of today’s smartphones and which powered the world’s fastest supercomputer in 2020-2022: Fujitsu.
Sophie Wilson is also a transgender woman. She transitioned from male to female in 1994 and is a beacon for transgender members of the computing community. So while you read this blog post on your smartphone or playing a classic video game on your Raspberry Pi, send thanks to Sophie for her transcendental work in processor architecture!
Sophie Wilson - CHM Fellow. Computer History Museum, 2012, computerhistory.org/profile/sophie-wilson/. ↩