Tag Archive : Scientist

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Security Pro File: Award-winning computer scientist and electronic voting expert Barbara Simons chats up her pioneering days in computer programming, paper-ballot backups, Internet voting, math, and sushi.

Barbara Simons has been fighting for secure elections for two decades. But the award-winning computer scientist, who’s also well-versed in voting technology and its security vulnerabilities, doesn’t consider herself a security expert. Everything she’s learned about election security, she says, came from hanging out with security experts.

“My job had nothing to do with security. My training is in computer science,” she says. “I’ve never hacked [a] machine … [but] I think I could learn [how to],” she says.

Simons, 79, has been a major and influential player in the movement to institute paper-ballot backups for electronic voting systems and in warning about the security risks of Internet voting. She and many other computer scientists argue that computers and software alone can’t properly

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Janice Lourie and patent attorney Charles Boberg at IBM in 1970. Below them is a monitor displaying a pattern she created with her software.
Janice Lourie and patent attorney Charles Boberg at IBM in 1970. Below them is a monitor displaying a pattern she created with her software.Courtesy of IBM

Back in 1954, Lourie was a technical editor, playing clarinet in a Boston-area ensemble, when the pianist, an MIT chemist, hired her to process data on punch paper tape.

“It was a pretty rote job,” said Lourie, now 90, over Zoom from her home in Arlington, Vt. The chemist published a paper on the project, and in a footnote mentioned Lourie as a contributor.

“It felt wonderful,” she said. She was off and running.

She speaks humbly about her work in computers, as if her path unfolded purely by luck and circumstance. In 1957, IBM hired her, and she moved to New York, where she devised a program implementing a new computer language, LISP, developed by John McCarthy at MIT. The research helped

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Sunita Solao. (Convoy Photo)

—Digital freight startup Convoy announced Sunita Solao, previously an HR leader at Airbnb, as vice president of people and a new member of the company’s executive team.

“Finding the right leader for our People function has been my top focus,” said Convoy CEO Dan Lewis in a statement. “The world is changing and a new normal is emerging for how we do our best work. I look forward to partnering with a creative force like Sunita to take the best of what we know, and build for the future during this unprecedented time.”

Solao was previously head of people and talent for Airbnb’s Homes Business team. She held prior HR leadership roles at eBay, Magento and GE Healthcare.

“I recognized in my first conversation with Dan that the Convoy team was as passionate about shaping a high-performing culture based on values as I am, which was

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