the first supercomputer was powered by women

I stumbled across an article on ENIAC, the world’s first supercomputer that was built by the Army and unveiled in 1946.  It summarizes twelve factoids about ENIAC. I found these two the most interesting:

5. The original programmers of ENIAC computer were women. The most famous of the group was Jean Jennings Bartik (originally Betty Jennings). The other five women were Kay McNulty, Betty Snyder, Marlyn Wescoff, Fran Bilas, and Ruth Lichterman. All six have been inducted into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame. When the U.S. Army introduced the ENIAC to the public, it introduced the inventors (Dr. John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert), but it never introduced the female programmers.

6. Jean Bartik went on to become an editor for Auerback Publishers, and eventually worked for Data Decisions, which was funded by Ziff-Davis Publishing. She has a museum in her name at Northwest Missouri State university in Maryville, Missouri.

Kudos to the women of ENIAC and other women of supercomputing fame!

The women of ENIAC

11 responses to “the first supercomputer was powered by women

  • the first supercomputer was powered by women « Punk Rock … |

    […] rest is here: the first supercomputer was powered by women « Punk Rock … openenergymonitor: Limor Fried:one of the most influential Women …The 15 Most Important Women […]

  • Larry (IEOR Tools)

    Not to forget, as I’m sure you mentioned before, that the “mother” of the computer Countess Ada Lovelace. Truly the present computational world has a lot to thank for these leading ladies.

  • Laura McLay

    Thanks Larry! There are many amazing women of computing. I named my cat after Grace Hopper.

  • Florian

    More precisely, the first “supercomputers” _were_ women: “Computer, at that point, was a job title, not a machine.” –

  • Florian

    …on second thought, it might be more appropriate to say “women were the first supercomputers”.

  • Laura McLay

    Two excellent points, Florian!

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  • Matthew Saltzman

    I suppose if we are name-dropping women computer scientists, we ought to mention Adm. Grace Murray Hopper, developer of the concept of programming languages. We revere her despite the fact that one of her language efforts was COBOL.

    Somewhere in my possession, I once had a Grace Hopper nanosecond. Not sure what became of it in the ensuing 30+ years, unfortunately…

  • Bo Jensen

    Just a slightly reIated remark. I love old stories and anecdotes especially about OR of course and found it very interesting that Bjarni in the social media session asked for old INFORMS pictures/videos, it will be fun to see what comes out of it.

  • Bo Jensen

    Ohh forgot, nice meeting you in Charlotte Laura, I must say you got the (properly two more) most amazing daughter, she just keept smiling and tried to talk, didn’t even get scared by a giant like Tim, definitely excellent networking tools from the get go 🙂

  • Bo Jensen

    Now I am just spamming your blog.. But looking at the picture I came to think about this great article I read once, where they talked about how they implemented the simplex algorithm in the beginning. For every iteration thay had to use punching cards which were feed manually, so for each pivot a person had to pull out some cards and shift in a set of new ones, they went to lunch and came back, started a new iteration… Don’t remember the titel of the paper, but it’s an excellent read.

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