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Thelma Estrin
Thelma Estrin

Thelma Estrin is a professor at University of California, Los Angeles. As a UCLA professor, Estrin was a pioneer in the field of biomedical engineering, using computer technology to solve problems in health care and medical research. Estrin designed and then implemented the first system for analog-digital conversion of electrical activity from the nervous system, a precursor to the use of computers in medicine. She also published papers on how to map the brain with the help of computers, and in 1975--long before the Internet became popular and easy to use--she designed a computer network between UCLA and UC Davis.

Estrin also helped to design Israel's first computer, the WEIZAC, in 1954. She was the director of the Data Processing Laboratory at the Brain Research Institute at UCLA. She served as president of the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers' (IEEE) Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society in 1977 and later became the first woman elected to national office in IEEE, serving as the organization's vice president. She was also the first woman to join the board of trustees of the Aerospace Corporation, where her leadership encouraged many women to pursue careers in aerospace engineering.

Her three daughters are Margo, a medical doctor; Judith,CEO/president, Packet Design and former CTO and senior vice president of Cisco Systems; and Deborah, a computer science professor at USC.


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