Friday, April 27, 2007

Karen Sparck Jones (Mrs. Roger Needham)


“I think women bring a different perspective to computing, they are more thoughtful and less inclined to go straight for technical fixes. My belief is that, intellectually, computer science is fascinating - you're trying to make things that don't exist.” --Karen Sparck
Welcome Karen Sparck Jones, widow of Roger Needham, PhD.
Karen died April 4, 2007. She was 71 years old.
Karen's husband, Dr. Roger Needham, in 1997, started up the Microsoft Research Laboratory in Cambridge, which brings talent from all over the world to the city, and which is now housed in The Roger Needham Building at West Cambridge.
Karen married Roger in 1958 when both were studying for PhD's. Roger, died in 2003. In 1962, Roger joined the Mathematical Laboratory, now known as the Computer Laboratory and eventually became its Head in 1980 for 15 years.
Among Karen's numerous credits, were her outstanding theoretical contributions to information retrieval and natural language processing. She built upon this theoretical framework through numerous experiments and her work is among the most highly cited in the field. Karen's work has influenced a whole generation of researchers and practitioners.
Mourning Joy:
Q: What did Baby Corn say to Mama Corn?
A: Where's Pop Corn?
Mourning Quote:
"Beware the fury of a patient man." - John Dryden
After we remember Him, fingerhug your pen. Write something. Go ahead. I dare you.

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