Margaret Hamilton Accepts 2019 Washington Award Nomination

Margaret H. Hamilton is CEO of Hamilton Technologies. She graduated in 1958 from Earlham in mathematics and philosophy. Preparing for graduate school, she joined MIT, developing software for predicting weather on the LGP-30; and for SAGE's air defense system on the AN/FSQ-7. Upon hearing MIT needed people to "send man to the moon", she joined NASA/MIT's project to build Apollo on-board flight software, starting with unmanned missions. For the manned missions, she led the team that developed the on-board flight software for the command and lunar modules. She was the Director of the Software Engineering Division at MIT's Instrumentation Laboratory.

Hamilton developed software to detect and recover from errors in realtime; including the priority displays interface routines based on her man-in-the-loop-concepts that gave the software the ability to communicate asynchronously in realtime with the astronauts─the software and astronauts running in parallel─within a distributed system-of-systems environment. With this as a backdrop, the priority displays warned the astronauts in an emergency by interrupting the astronauts' normal mission displays and replacing them with priority alarm displays─as was the case during the Apollo 11 landing.

Hamilton is the person who came up with the idea of naming the discipline, “software engineering”, as a way of giving it legitimacy. She led an empirical study of Apollo and later efforts, resulting in her systems theory of control. From its axioms, the universal systems language was derived together with its automation and preventative paradigm. Hamilton received the NASA Exceptional Space Act Award (2003) and the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama (2016).


About theWashington Award

The prestigious Washington Award is conferred upon an engineer(s) whose professional attainments have preeminently advanced the welfare of human kind. Each year, during Engineers Week, presentation of the award is made at a joint banquet of the members and guests of the Western Society of Engineers; the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers; American Society of Civil Engineers; American Society of Mechanical Engineers; Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers; National Society of Professional Engineers; and the American Nuclear Society.
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Banquet Info

2019 Chicagoland Engineering Awards Benefit


February 22, 2019


South Ballroom of Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, Rosemont

5555 N River Rd, Rosemont, IL 60018

Featuring the 101st presentation of the Washington Award.



Future Engineers

In addition to the presentation of the Washington Award, nearly 100 pre-college students will be recognized for their success in regional STEM competitions.


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