WoW Blog (Woman of the Week) Blog

WoW Blog (Woman of the Week)

Each week this blog will feature a prominent woman who made significant contributions to engineering or science. If you have any women you'd like us to feature please let us know and we'll do our best to include them.

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Woman of the Week - Jean Bartik ( December 27, 1924 - )

Posted March 31, 2008 6:00 AM by julie
Pathfinder Tags: December 27 ENIAC jean bartik UNIVAC

Jean Bartik ( December 27, 1924 - ) was featured previously as a member of the ENIAC Team. Not only was Jean one of the original programmers for the ENIAC computer, but also the BINAC and UNIVAC I computers, which were successors to the ENIAC.

Jean Bartik was born the sixth of seven children on a farm in Gentry County, Missouri in 1924. She attended Northwest Missouri State Teachers College, where she majored in mathematics. She graduated in 1944, and a year later was hired by the University of Pennsylvania to work as a programmer for Army Ordnance at Aberdeen Proving Ground. These early programmers were named "computers."

When the ENIAC computer was developed for the purpose of calculating ballistics trajectories, she was selected to be one of its first programmers. Bartik later became part of a group charged with converting the ENIAC into a stored program computer. In the original implementation, ENIAC was programmed by setting dials and changing cable connections.

The UNIVAC I (UNIVersal Automatic Computer I) was the first commercial computer made in the United States. It was delivered to the United States Census Bureau on March 31, 1951. It was designed principally by J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly, the inventors of the ENIAC. Jean Bartik played an integral role in the design team. She worked on the logical design, put in the check circuits, and desiged a backup for UNIVAC using cathode ray tube memory. Eckert wanted a backup machine if the mercury delay line memory didn't work. The backup was never built and electrostatic storage was abandoned early on for core memory.

Jean Bartik left the workplace for 16 years to have children. She returned to become an editor for Auerbach Publishers, an early publisher of information on high technology. She also held jobs as a marketer for minicomputers, provided market support, ran users' groups, and performed competitive analysis.

Jean Bartik has a museum in her name at Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Missouri. The museum boasts rare one-of-a-kind ENIAC, BINAC, and UNIVAC exhibits, including an original salesman pot-metal model of the UNIVAC I. In 1997, along with the other original ENIAC programmers, she was inducted into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame.

Resources:

http://inventors.about.com/od/bstartinventors/p/Jean_Bartik.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Bartik

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UNIVAC_I

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Re: Woman of the Week - Jean Bartik ( December 27, 1924 - )

04/01/2008 8:36 PM

Being an ex Sperry Rand employee in Europe from 1973 to 1980, this brought back some great memories (pun intended!).

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