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Jean Bartik - The First ENIAC Computer Programer

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Jean Bartik

Jean Bartik

Early ENIAC Programmers:

Other early computer programmers on the ENIAC were: Frances Bilas Spence, Elizabeth Jennings, Ruth Lichterman Teitelbaum, Kathleen McNulty, Elizabeth Snyder Holberton, and Marlyn Wescoff Meltzer.

Jean Bartik (née Betty Jean Jennings, Elizabeth Jennings):

Born December 27, 1924 in Northwest Missouri in Gentry County, Jean Bartik grew up on a farm, the 6th of 7 children. Pearl Harbor was bombed during Jean's first year of college at the Northwest Missouri State Teachers College. Jean Bartik graduated in December 1944, and went to work as a programmer for Army Ordnance at Aberdeen Proving Ground. The workers were nicknamed the "computers".

Jean Bartik - ENIAC:

An announcement came around that openings were going to be available for programmers for a new machine called the ENIAC. The programmers were given a block diagram of the ENIAC and told to learn how to program it. However, there were no manuals, no teachers, and no ENIAC. The computer was in the building however, they were not allowed to see it until their security clearance came through.

Challenges of the ENIAC:

The ENIAC was 80 by 10 feet high. Originally programmed by setting switches on the unit named the: accumulators, multiplier, divider/square rooter, three function tables and master programmer. The ENIAC proved difficult to program. In fact, Jean Bartik and team were the only people who were able to program the ENIAC in its original state. Jean Bartik was responisble for changing the ENIAC into a stored program computer. In total, the ENIAC solved 100 scientific problems during its lifetime.

Jean Bartik - Later Years:

Jean Bartik went on to work on the BINAC and UNIVAC 1. She took 16 years off to have children and came back to work in 1967. At that point, she worked in publishing, marketed minicomputers, provided market support, ran users' groups, and performed competitive analysis.

Quote From Jean Bartik:

I was just at the right place at the right time. It was divine providence or fate that selected me to be an ENIAC programmer. Betty Holberton quoted something interesting recently, 'Look like a girl, Act like a lady, Think like a man, and Work like a dog.' I was told I'd never make it to VP rank because I was too outspoken. Maybe so, but I think men will always find an excuse for keeping women in their 'place.' So, let's make that place the executive suite and start more of our own companies.

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