Karen Spärk Jones: Natural language processing expert
If you have ever Googled something, you at least partially have Karen Spärk Jones to thank for the relative ease with which your search is completed. Her work in natural language processing and information retrieval made it possible for people to interact with computers using ordinary words rather than codes. She also invented term weighting, or the method used to determine the importance of a word in a document. It is part of the way that search engines score and rank a document’s importance in a search query.
Not long before she died in 2007, Spärk Jones received the Lovelace Medal from the British Computer Society. It was only one among many public recognitions of her work.