The Women Who Programmed The First All-Electronic Digital Computer


Odds are you haven’t heard of Jean Jennings Bartik, who died recently at age 86.

She was the last surviving member of the team that programmed the Eniac, “the first all-electronic digital computer,” in 1946. But only the men who built it were ever recognized. Later, Bartik found herself the victim of age discrimination as well, and became a real estate agent.

A documentary is in the works to help address how Bartik and her colleagues were cut out of the history of computing. “Their story inspired me and helped me to stay involved in computing at a time when few women were in my computer science classes,” says the leader of the project, Kathy Kleiman.

And here’s an extended interview with her from 2008. Asked, “If you were working today, where would you want to work?” Bartik responded, “Google!”

Jean Bartik, Software Pioneer, Dies at 86 [NYT]

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