Documentary on the women who hacked ENIAC

Danny sez,

The Invisible Computers: The Untold Story of the ENIAC Programmers is a documentary on one of the first programming teams: Betty Snyder Holberton, Jean Jennings Bartik, Kathleen McNulty Mauchly Antonelli, Marlyn Wescoff Meltzer, Ruth Lichterman Teitelbaum and Frances Bilas Spence.

The six-woman team hardwired code for ballistics trajectory calculations, but were overlooked in the previous accounts of the first US large-scale, electronic, digital computer in 1946.

The documentary is being previewed at Google next Thursday -- they production team are looking for donations to finish it off and show it elsewhere.

Link (Thanks, Danny!)


  1. I’m disappointed to see that an article that is about the overlooking of women’s contributions to technology has two of its first three comments about their appearance.

    Thanks for illustrating the point.

  2. An interesting story. I never would have guessed that any women worked on this project, much less that it was done almost entirely by women. According to this,

    The first programmers started out as “Computers.” This was the name given by the Army to a group of over 80 women working at the University of Pennsylvania during World War II calculating ballistics trajectories – complex differential equations – by hand. When the Army agreed to fund an experimental project, the first all-electronic digital computer, six “Computers” were selected in 1945 to be its first programmers. They were Kathleen McNulty Mauchly Antonelli, Jean Jennings Bartik, Frances Snyder Holberton, Marlyn Wescoff Meltzer, Frances Bilas Spence and Ruth Lichterman Teitelbaum.

    I’m sure it was partly due to the dearth of men stateside during WWII, but still a remarkable story.

  3. Other famous women in computing history include Ada Lovelace (wrote the first computer program – it calculated Bernoulli numbers) and Admiral Grace Hopper (created the first compiler).

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