Los Altos Hills resident Dr. Anita Borg, founder and president of the Institute for Women and Technology (IWT) and member of the President's Commission on the Advancement of Women and Minorities in Science, Engineering and Technology, recently received the Melitta Bentz Woman of Innovation and Invention Award. The Melitta award honors one outstanding woman annually for her leadership, ambition and courage.
"This award represents the world's long history of inventive women," Borg said. "To begin speeches I always say that the coffee filter and other important products were designed by women. I am proud to be part of that history." Despite women's abilities and accomplishments in technology, she said, there was a greater percentage of women graduating with technical degrees 15 years ago than today.
Noted by Fast Company as "a living legend among computer scientists," Borg is leading the movement to advance women in technological positions. The Xerox Palo Alto researcher is known for pioneering fault-tolerant operating systems, for developing tools to predict the performance of microprocessor memory systems and for designing MECCA, a web-based e-mail system used by thousands. Borg gained national media attention for founding the "systers" electronic community for women in computing and the prestigious Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing technical conference.
Melitta, in the spirit of its German founder Melitta Bentz, who invented and patented the filter drip system of coffee making in 1908, created the Award in 1989. The winner receives a replica of the original brass coffee pot Melitta invented, a $5,000 check and $1,000 for a charity of her choice. Borg designated IWT.