Back in college, I needed to write a game in Java for a programming class. While I was visiting the computer lab to meet with a TA, I noticed an enormous black box covered in dials and buttons. Surrounded by glass, it sat in the very center of the lab.
I walked over to look at the mysterious machine. A small plaque on the glass read:
Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer: ENIAC
She is an enormous milestone in the history of computing, built to run ballistics trajectories for the U.S. Army.
Six brilliant technologists programmed the ENIAC. Their names were Betty Snyder Holberton, Jean Jennings Barik, Kay McNulty Mauchly Antonelli, Marlyn Wescoff Meltzer, Ruth Lichterman Teitelbaum, and Frances Bilas Spence. Here are two of them at work:
And here are all of them, later in life:
There’s a documentary about them: