Ida Rhodes

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Filming of Ida Rhodes (left) at IBM. National Bureau of Standards (NBS) mathematician and computer expert Ida Rhodes demonstrates her pioneering work in computer translation of languages. Rhodes was among the first to realize the importance of parsing sentences and separating the roots of words from their prefixes and suffixes as initial steps in the process of computer translation. Ida Rhodes filming at IBM 002.jpg
Filming of Ida Rhodes (left) at IBM. National Bureau of Standards (NBS) mathematician and computer expert Ida Rhodes demonstrates her pioneering work in computer translation of languages. Rhodes was among the first to realize the importance of parsing sentences and separating the roots of words from their prefixes and suffixes as initial steps in the process of computer translation.

Ida Rhodes (born Hadassah Itzkowitz; May 15, 1900 – February 1, 1986 [1] ) was an American mathematician who became a member of the clique of influential women at the heart of early computer development in the United States.

Mathematician person with an extensive knowledge of mathematics

A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics in his or her work, typically to solve mathematical problems.

A clique, in the social sciences, is a group of individuals who interact with one another and share similar interests. Interacting with cliques is part of normative social development regardless of gender, ethnicity or popularity. Although cliques are most commonly studied during adolescence and middle childhood development, they exist in all age groups. They are often bound together by shared social characteristics such as ethnicity and socioeconomic status. Examples of common or stereotypical adolescent cliques include athletes, nerds, and "outsiders".

A computer is a machine that can be instructed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically via computer programming. Modern computers have the ability to follow generalized sets of operations, called programs. These programs enable computers to perform an extremely wide range of tasks. A "complete" computer including the hardware, the operating system, and peripheral equipment required and used for "full" operation can be referred to as a computer system. This term may as well be used for a group of computers that are connected and work together, in particular a computer network or computer cluster.



Hadassah Itzkowitz was born in a Jewish village between Nemyriv and Tulchyn in Ukraine. She was 13 years old in 1913 when her parents, David and Bessie Sinkler Itzkowitz, brought her to the United States (her name was changed upon entering the U.S.) [1]

Nemyriv Place

Nemyriv is a historic town in Vinnytsia Oblast (province) in Ukraine, located in the historical region of Podolia. It is the administrative center of Nemyriv Raion (district). Population: 11,829 (2015 est.)

Tulchyn City in Vinnytsia Oblast, Ukraine

Tulchyn is a town in Vinnytsia Oblast (province) of western Ukraine, former Podolia. It is the administrative center of Tulchyn Raion (district), and was the chief centre of the Southern Society of the Decembrists, Pavel Pestel was located there during planning of the rebellion. The city is also known for being the home to Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych who produced several of this choral masterpieces when he lived here. An important landmark of the city is the palace of the Potocki family, built according to the principles of Palladian architecture according to the plans drafted by Joseph Lacroix during the 1780s. Polish patriot Józef Wysocki (general) was born in Tulchin in 1809, author of Pamietnik Jenerala Wysockiego, Dowodcy Legionu Polskiego Na Wegrzech Z Czasu Kampanii Wegierskiej W Roku 1848 i 1849. Population: 15,763 (2015 est.)

Ukraine Sovereign state in Eastern Europe

Ukraine, sometimes called the Ukraine, is a country in Eastern Europe. Excluding Crimea, Ukraine has a population of about 42.5 million, making it the 32nd most populous country in the world. Its capital and largest city is Kiev. Ukrainian is the official language and its alphabet is Cyrillic. The dominant religions in the country are Eastern Orthodoxy and Greek Catholicism. Ukraine is currently in a territorial dispute with Russia over the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014. Including Crimea, Ukraine has an area of 603,628 km2 (233,062 sq mi), making it the largest country entirely within Europe and the 46th largest country in the world.


Rhodes was awarded the New York State Cash Scholarship and a Cornell University Scholarship [1] and began studying mathematics at Cornell University only six years after coming to the United States, from 1919-1923. [1] During her time at Cornell University she worked as a nurse's aid at Ithaca City Hospital. She was elected to the honorary organizations Phi Beta Kappa (1922) and Phi Kappa Phi (1923). [1] She received her BA in mathematics in February, 1923 and her MA in September of the same year, graduating Phi Beta Kappa.

Cornell University Private Ivy League research university in Upstate New York

Cornell University is a private and statutory Ivy League research university in Ithaca, New York. Founded in 1865 by Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White, the university was intended to teach and make contributions in all fields of knowledge—from the classics to the sciences, and from the theoretical to the applied. These ideals, unconventional for the time, are captured in Cornell's founding principle, a popular 1868 Ezra Cornell quotation: "I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study."

Mathematics Field of study concerning quantity, patterns and change

Mathematics includes the study of such topics as quantity, structure, space, and change.

Phi Beta Kappa honor society for the liberal arts and sciences in the United States

The Phi Beta Kappa Society (ΦΒΚ) is the oldest academic honor society in the United States, and is often described as its most prestigious honor society, due to its long history and academic selectivity. Phi Beta Kappa aims to promote and advocate excellence in the liberal arts and sciences, and to induct the most outstanding students of arts and sciences at American colleges and universities. It was founded at the College of William and Mary on December 5, 1776 as the first collegiate Greek-letter fraternity and was among the earliest collegiate fraternal societies.

Rhodes had her first encounter with Albert Einstein in 1922 and encountered him again in 1936 at Princeton, where a group of mathematicians traveled to spend the weekend in informal seminars. She later studied at Columbia University in 1930-31. She held numerous positions involving mathematical computations before she joined the Mathematical Tables Project in 1940, where she worked under Gertrude Blanch, whom she would later credit as her mentor.

Columbia University Private Ivy League research university in New York City

Columbia University is a private Ivy League research university in Upper Manhattan, New York City. Established in 1754, Columbia is the oldest institution of higher education in New York and the fifth-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. It is one of nine colonial colleges founded prior to the Declaration of Independence, seven of which belong to the Ivy League. It has been ranked by numerous major education publications as among the top ten universities in the world.

The Mathematical Tables Project was one of the largest and most sophisticated computing organizations that operated prior to the invention of the digital electronic computer. Begun in the United States in 1938 as a project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), it employed 450 unemployed clerks to tabulate higher mathematical functions, such as exponential functions, logarithms, and trigonometric functions. These tables were eventually published in a 28 volume set by Columbia University Press.

Gertrude Blanch mathematician

Gertrude Blanch was an American mathematician who did pioneering work in numerical analysis and computation. She was a leader of the Mathematical Tables Project in New York from its beginning. She worked later as the assistant director and leader of the Numerical Analysis at UCLA computing division and was head of mathematical research for the Aerospace Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.

Ida Rhodes was a pioneer in the analysis of systems of programming, and with Betty Holberton designed the C-10 programming language in the early 1950s for the UNIVAC I [2] . She also designed the original computer used for the Social Security Administration. In 1949, the Department of Commerce awarded her a Gold Medal for "significant pioneering leadership and outstanding contributions to the scientific progress of the Nation in the functional design and the application of electronic digital computing equipment".

Computer programming Process that leads from an original formulation of a computing problem to executable computer programs

Computer programming is the process of designing and building an executable computer program for accomplishing a specific computing task. Programming involves tasks such as: analysis, generating algorithms, profiling algorithms' accuracy and resource consumption, and the implementation of algorithms in a chosen programming language. The source code of a program is written in one or more languages that are intelligible to programmers, rather than machine code, which is directly executed by the central processing unit. The purpose of programming is to find a sequence of instructions that will automate the performance of a task on a computer, often for solving a given problem. The process of programming thus often requires expertise in several different subjects, including knowledge of the application domain, specialized algorithms, and formal logic.

Betty Holberton American computer programmer

Frances Elizabeth "Betty" Holberton was one of the six original programmers of the first general-purpose electronic digital computer, ENIAC. Holberton invented breakpoints in computer debugging.

UNIVAC I vacuum tube commercial computer released in 1951

The UNIVAC I was the first commercial computer produced in the United States. It was designed principally by J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly, the inventors of the ENIAC. Design work was started by their company, Eckert–Mauchly Computer Corporation (EMCC), and was completed after the company had been acquired by Remington Rand. In the years before successor models of the UNIVAC I appeared, the machine was simply known as "the UNIVAC".

Though she retired in 1964, Rhodes continued to consult for the Applied Mathematics Division of the National Bureau of Standards until 1971. Her work became much more widely known after her retirement, as she took the occasion to travel around the globe, lecturing and maintaining international correspondence. In 1976, the Department of Commerce presented her with a further Certificate of Appreciation on the 25th Anniversary of UNIVAC I, and then at the 1981 Computer Conference cited her a third time as a "UNIVAC I pioneer." She died in 1986.

In an unusual case of an old specialized algorithm still in use, and still credited to the original developer, Rhodes was responsible for the "Jewish Holiday" algorithm used in calendar programs to this day. [2] [3] While at the National Bureau of Standards (now NIST), she also did original work in machine translation of natural languages. [4] [5]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Morrow, Charlene; Perl, Teri (1998-01-01). Notable Women in Mathematics: A Biographical Dictionary. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 180. ISBN   9780313291319.
  2. 1 2 Rapp, Katie. "Ida Rhodes and the Problem with 'Water Goats'". Taking Measure. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  3. Rhodes, Ida (1977). "Computation of the dates of the Hebrew New Year and Passover". Computers and Mathematics with Applications. 3 (3): 183–190. doi:10.1016/0898-1221(77)90093-1 . Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  4. Rhodes, Ida; Alt, Franz L. (1962). "Hindsight technique in machine translation of natural languages" (PDF). Journal of Research of the National Bureau of Standards. 66B (2): 47–51. doi:10.6028/jres.066B.005 . Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  5. Rhodes, Ida (1963). "Syntactic integration carried out mechanically". Information Storage and Retrieval. 1 (4): 215–219. doi:10.1016/0020-0271(63)90018-4 . Retrieved 3 March 2018.


Further reading