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IEEE WIE Conference to Focus on Ways to Boost the Number of Women in Senior Positions

Leaders from Momentus and McAfee to speak at the annual event

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Collage of photos from various WIE events.
Photo: IEEE WIE

THE INSTITUTEAlthough female engineers have made great strides in the past few decades, the number of them in high-level positions is still low compared with male engineers. Increasing the retention rates of middle- to senior-level women in technology is the goal of this year’s IEEE Women in Engineering International Leadership Conference (WIE ILC), to be held on 23 and 24 May in Austin, Texas.

“The IEEE WIE ILC continues to grow in importance as a unique event with an agenda specifically tailored to help support and sustain women in technology fields around the world,” says IEEE Senior Member Kathy Herring Hayashi, the conference chair.

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Atari Breakout: The Best Videogame of All Time?

Breakout—as designed by Steve Wozniak—was a manufacturing nightmare

2 min read
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atari breakout game screen showing a paddle at bottom and rows of colored bricks and two score fields at top
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Breakout was the best video game ever invented, many designers say, because it was the first true video game. Before Breakout, all were games like Pong—imitations of real life. With Breakout, a single paddle was used to direct a ball at a wall of colored bricks. Contact made a brick vanish and the ball change speed. The game could never exist in any medium other than video.

Like Pong, the specifications for Breakout—its look and game rules—were defined by Nolan Bushnell at Atari Inc., Sunnyvale, Calif. But along with the specs came an engineering challenge in 1975: design the game with less than 50 chips, and the designer would receive $700; design the game with less than 40 chips, and the designer would receive $1000. Most games at that time contained over 100 chips. Steven Jobs, now president of Apple Computer, Santa Clara, Calif., was hanging around Atari at that time. “He was dirt poor,” recalled Allan Alcorn, who joined Atari at its formation. Atari’s design offer was “good cash”—to Mr. Jobs. Mr. Alcorn remembered that Mr. Jobs quickly designed the game with fewer than 50 chips. He had help. He called on his friend, Steven Wozniak, who later designed the Apple computer.

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