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Now Available: Innovators Under 35 2013 See The 2013 List »

Mandy Chessell, 34

IBM UK Development Laboratory

God toppled the Tower of Babel, and prevented the human tribes from speaking a single language. Something similar might have happened to the equally presumptuous computer revolution if it weren’t for middleware software that enables disparate programs to talk to one another. Middleware is big business for companies such as IBM; hundreds of programmers labor at the UK Development Laboratory in Hursley Park to create Big Blue’s latest offerings for the enterprise market. One rising star is Mandy Chessell, a software developer who says she was first captivated at 17 by computing’s strange combination of "logic and creativity." Those are terms that IBM Distinguished Engineer Tony Storey says apply to Chessell herself: "She’s a constant source of innovative ideas." Chessell’s name appears on 14 filed or issued patents.

Chessell’s most important project is the code behind Component Broker, a new middleware system that has been bought by companies such as Charles Schwab. Chessell’s work is crucial as companies move to launch new services, often on the Internet, and need to connect their "legacy" systems to new software.

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