Jean Bartik (1924 – 2011)
Jean Bartik is credited with developing the technology known as “software”. She was a mathematics major who worked at the Aberdeen Proving Ground after graduation and was tasked with manually calculating ballistics trajectories. While working there, she was one of the first groups of women programmers (a total of six were selected) selected for ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer). This group developed a program for calculating the firing of trajectories for artillery shells. She and Betty Holberton (https://siguccs.org/wp/celebrating-women-in-computing-frances-elizabeth-holberton-sheiswhyicode/) are credited with providing the first hugely successful demonstration of the ENIAC to the public and larger scientific community in 1946. Her major accomplishment however was converting the ENIAC into a stored computer program – software.
During Women’s History Month this March, ACM is encouraging computing professionals and students to use the hashtag #SheIsWhyICode to share stories of women in computing who have inspired them at any point in their career or education. The stories might range in topic from one’s earliest introduction to computer science to overcoming a recent professional obstacle, and the subjects could vary from luminaries of the computing field to someone’s high school computer science teacher or current boss.