Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Women and the Birth of Computing

Great story about the role of these tremedous women at the dawn of the computing age. If you have daughters - this should be required reading! ENIAC Programmers Project
Sixty years ago, six young women programmed the world's first all-electronic computer, the ENIAC. Their ballistics program used hundreds of wires and 3000 switches. Never introduced, they never became a part of history. Forty years later, Kathy Kleiman was told that the women in pictures with ENIAC (1946) were "Refrigerator Ladies," models posed in front of the machine.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The ENIAC Programmers worked tirelessly to make programming easier for all. They created the first sort routine, software application and instruction set, and classes in programming. Their work dramatically altered computing in the 1940s and 1950s. They paved the path to the modern software industry.
And read about Google honoring one of these pioneering women and watch a video of the event. Official Google Blog: Jean Bartik: the untold story of a remarkable ENIAC programmer
For more than 50 years, the women of Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer (ENIAC) were forgotten, and their role in programming the first all-electronic programmable computer and creating the software industry lost. But this fall, old met young, and a great computer pioneer met today's Internet pioneers. It happened in Silicon Valley and it happened at Google.

A little over a month ago, the Computer History Museum (CHM) in Mountain View honored Jean Bartik with its Fellows Award. This lifetime achievement award recognized her work as a programmer of the ENIAC and leader of the team to convert ENIAC to a stored program machine.

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