Astronomy

The first women programmers

The first women programmers

The United States Navy called women "computers" to solve the equations by hand to calculate projectile trajectories.

The first computer or computer was built in 1946, occupied 167 square meters and was called ENIAC. Various photographs appear in the photographs that are preserved. They were not there by chance; it was they who programmed that great technological advance.

ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer) was projected during World War II to calculate the ballistic trajectories of the new firearms. Engineers John Presper Eckert and John William Mauchly went down in history for having built one of the great advances in the world, while a group of six women remained in the shade.

Mathematics Ruth Lichterman Teitelbaum, Frances Bilas Spence, Betty Jean Jennings Bartik, Marlyn Wescoff Meltzer, Betty Snyder Holberton and Kathleen McNulty Mauchly Antonelli were hired by the United States government to design and write ENIAC programs. That is, the men built the machine and they had to invent the programs in binary system and proceed to the programming, which consisted of connecting and disconnecting the cables to the 6000 plugs of the device.

Special mention should be made of Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, better known as Ada Lovelace, who is credited with being the first person to program computers.

Before ENIAC, ballistic table calculations were done by hand. 80 mathematical women worked at the University of Pennsylvania. Between these computers Six were chosen to perform the same calculation, but using the ENIAC. They had to program in the language of ones and zeros without help or manuals, only with the documentation of the wiring of the machine.

Despite successfully completing this amazing task and the great responsibility involved, they were ignored for many years. When in 1946 the Navy presented the ENIAC, in an event where its software worked perfectly, they were not named.

In 1997 their merits were finally recognized and they were included in the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame. And in 2014 a documentary was made about the history of these women entitled "The Computers".

These women laid the groundwork for programming to be simple and accessible to all. They created the first group of routines, the first classes in programming and the first software applications. His work dramatically influenced the evolution of computer science during the 40s and 50s of the 20th century.

His story is worthy of admiration. But there is still a long way to go for women to occupy their rightful place in the area of ​​technology, especially in important positions. For example, only 11 percent of women working in Silicon Valley hold executive positions.

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