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).