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Pioneer Programmer: Jean Jennings Bartik and the Computer That Changed the World

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In early 1945, the United States military was recruiting female mathematicians for a top-secret project to help win World War II. Betty Jean Jennings (Bartik), a twenty-year-old college graduate from rural northwest Missouri, wanted an adventure, so she applied for the job. She was hired as a "computer" to calculate artillery shell trajectories for Aberdeen Proving Ground, In early 1945, the United States military was recruiting female mathematicians for a top-secret project to help win World War II. Betty Jean Jennings (Bartik), a twenty-year-old college graduate from rural northwest Missouri, wanted an adventure, so she applied for the job. She was hired as a "computer" to calculate artillery shell trajectories for Aberdeen Proving Ground, and later joined a team of women who programmed the Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer (ENIAC), the first successful general-purpose programmable electronic computer. In 1947, Bartik headed up a team that modified the ENIAC into the first stored-program electronic computer. Even with her talents, Bartik met obstacles in her career due to attitudes about women's roles in the workplace. Her perseverance paid off and she worked with the earliest computer pioneers and helped launch the commercial computer industry. Despite their contributions, Bartik and the other female ENIAC programmers have been largely ignored. In the only autobiography by any of the six original ENIAC programmers, Bartik tells her story, exposing myths about the computer's origin and properly crediting those behind the computing innovations that shape our daily lives.


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In early 1945, the United States military was recruiting female mathematicians for a top-secret project to help win World War II. Betty Jean Jennings (Bartik), a twenty-year-old college graduate from rural northwest Missouri, wanted an adventure, so she applied for the job. She was hired as a "computer" to calculate artillery shell trajectories for Aberdeen Proving Ground, In early 1945, the United States military was recruiting female mathematicians for a top-secret project to help win World War II. Betty Jean Jennings (Bartik), a twenty-year-old college graduate from rural northwest Missouri, wanted an adventure, so she applied for the job. She was hired as a "computer" to calculate artillery shell trajectories for Aberdeen Proving Ground, and later joined a team of women who programmed the Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer (ENIAC), the first successful general-purpose programmable electronic computer. In 1947, Bartik headed up a team that modified the ENIAC into the first stored-program electronic computer. Even with her talents, Bartik met obstacles in her career due to attitudes about women's roles in the workplace. Her perseverance paid off and she worked with the earliest computer pioneers and helped launch the commercial computer industry. Despite their contributions, Bartik and the other female ENIAC programmers have been largely ignored. In the only autobiography by any of the six original ENIAC programmers, Bartik tells her story, exposing myths about the computer's origin and properly crediting those behind the computing innovations that shape our daily lives.

30 review for Pioneer Programmer: Jean Jennings Bartik and the Computer That Changed the World

  1. 4 out of 5

    DMS

    http://dms.booklikes.com/post/1080032... http://dms.booklikes.com/post/1080032...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Renee Carlucci

    Interesting history. More women that were hidden figures and the true history of the stored program computer. Also interestingly, I worked on the successor to the ENIAC, the UNIVAC, years ago. I noted that the 3rd UNIVAC I was sold to the Army Map Service in Bethesda, MD in 1952.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Roger Asbury

    You know you've probably done something right with your life if you have a museum named after you. Unfortunately, Jean Jennings is one of those incredible personalities that even many who work in the same field as she, a field she helped pioneer, have never heard about. Jean was a programmer. She created programs for the ENIAC, the first stored program computer, along with an amazing talented group of women, during and after the second World War. She helped design and program the next generation You know you've probably done something right with your life if you have a museum named after you. Unfortunately, Jean Jennings is one of those incredible personalities that even many who work in the same field as she, a field she helped pioneer, have never heard about. Jean was a programmer. She created programs for the ENIAC, the first stored program computer, along with an amazing talented group of women, during and after the second World War. She helped design and program the next generation of computers, EDVAC and UNIVAC, as well. So why haven't many people heard of her and the other women of the ENIAC? Because, for the most part, they have been written out of history. Many popular books on computing, including those written by those who worked closely with Jean and her female coworkers, either never mention them, mention them in passing without naming them, or flat out claim credit for the work they performed. In this book, Jean Jennings Bartik attempts to set the record straight and to give credit to the women who helped pioneer the emerging field of computer programming. Beside setting this record straight, this book provides an enlightening view of the post-war evolution of computing. Jean worked for several companies that played a big part in that development, including Remington Rand and a number of publishing houses specializing in the documentation of computing systems. After the publication of an article on the ENIAC women in the mid-90s, Jean and her compatriots finally got the accolades they deserved, and she went on to earn many honors. Despite working in what continues to be a chauvinistic and male-dominated industry, she encouraged women to work in and bring their perspective to emerging technologies. The tech industry needs more women like Jean Jennings Bartik. I would have rated this book all five stars, except there are some editing errors. There are whole phrases that seem to be replicated word-for-word, often separated by many pages. Not a big deal, just a little weird, and while reading on my Nook had me wondering if I'd accidentally gone back pages.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Julian Perry

  5. 4 out of 5

    Gerald E. Nelson

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    Corey Haines

  12. 5 out of 5

    Liam

  13. 5 out of 5

    InJokeTaken

  14. 4 out of 5

    Christoffer Strömblad

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kat White

  16. 5 out of 5

    Laura

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    Vesna Kovach

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    Bekah

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    Joerg Rings

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    Birgitta

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    Imogen Elliot Moore

  22. 5 out of 5

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    Ronaldo Ferraz

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    Stacie

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    Jt Gleason

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tomas Petricek

  28. 4 out of 5

    Alex Miller

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    Athena

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ross Thompson

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