Inventors are inspirational. Lynn Conway is an inventor, computer scientist, electrical engineer, author, educator, and transgender activist. She is known for the Mead & Conway revolution in VLSI design. She invented generalized dynamic instruction handling. Many computer processors use this in out-of-order execution.
Lynn Conway was born on January 2, 1938 in White Plains, New York. Conway did well in math and science in school. Conway went to MIT in 1955, but left after an attempted gender transition to her female self was unsuccessful in the late 1950s. Conway worked as an electronics technician before continuing schooling at Columbia University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. She earned a B.S. and M.S.E.E. in 1962 and 1963. Conway began working for IBM Research in 1964. Conway worked on the architecture team on the Advanced Computing Systems project. They worked on inventing multiple-issue out-of-order dynamic instruction scheduling.
Conway became Harry Benjamin’s patient. Benjamin treated transsexuals. While under his care, Conway began preparing for transition. Before this, Conway had been married to a woman and had two children. Conway divorced, lost custody of the children, and IBM fired her in 1968 when she revealed her plans to transition to a female gender role.
After transitioning, Conway worked as a contract programmer at Computer Applications, Inc. From 1969 until 1972 she worked as a digital system designer and computer architect at Memorex. In 1973, Conway was part of the “LSI Systems” group at Xerox PARC. She co-authored Introduction to VLSI Systems. This became a staple textbook used by many universities by 1983. In 1978, Conway began teaching as associate professor of EECS at MIT. Conway invented dimensionless, scalable design rules and a new form of internet-based infrastructure for rapid-prototyping and short-run fabrication of large numbers of chip designs. In the early 1980s, Conway began working at DARPA as a key architect of the Defense Department’s Strategic Computing Initiative. In 1985, Conway became a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan. She retired from teaching and research in 1998.
She came out as a trans woman in 1999. She began transgender activism and to protect and expand the rights of transgender people. She has received awards and honors for her activism and previous work accomplishments.
In 1987, Conway met her future husband. They bought a home together in Michigan in 1994. In 2002, the couple were married. Be inspired! Have a bright day!