The ENIAC girls

Six mathematicians dealt with ENIAC programming.


The contributions of women to the history of the technology industry nThey are neither as few nor as unknown as some would have us believe. For example, we have the case of the ENIAC girls.

International Women's Day is commemorated in March, and for some reason they chose a date that has to do with failure and not with their great achievements. That is why it is important that we remember it.

The ENIAC girls

ENIAC was one of the first computers in history. Its name is made up of the initials in English of Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer.  Built in 1946, it was capable of performing up to 5000 calculations per second, much more than the other models of the time.

Built with more than 17.000 vacuum tubes and 70.000 resistances It was designed to solve the complex equations necessary for the development of nuclear weapons, However, its usefulness for other uses soon became evident.

When construction began in 1943, it was necessary to know how to program it. For this, six women were hired: Betty Holberton, Jean Jennings Bartik, Kay McNulty, Marlyn Wescoff Meltzer, Ruth Lichterman, and Frances Bilas Spence. They all worked as "Computers"

The computers They were in charge of solving the equations used to build the calculation tables trajectory of the guns.

At that time there was no Stack Overflow (Or should I say ChatGPT) and no programming languages, so the six programmers they had to make do as best they could with their background in mathematics and logic and wiring diagrams of the as-yet-unbuilt machine.

When built, ENIAC was 2,5 meters high, 2,5 meters long and 30 tons in weight. That included 40 U-lined panels with 18000 vacuum tubes each.

the task of the group It not only implied the programming itself (Translating the calculation process into comprehensible steps for the computer) they also dealt with the wiring. This is to unite the data and the processing instructions by means of cables and once the result is obtained, store it by means of a cable to another panel for storage.

Despite all this preparation, ENIAC performed a calculation in minutes that previously took 40 hours.

The content of the article adheres to our principles of editorial ethics. To report an error click here.

A comment, leave yours

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *



  1. Responsible for the data: AB Internet Networks 2008 SL
  2. Purpose of the data: Control SPAM, comment management.
  3. Legitimation: Your consent
  4. Communication of the data: The data will not be communicated to third parties except by legal obligation.
  5. Data storage: Database hosted by Occentus Networks (EU)
  6. Rights: At any time you can limit, recover and delete your information.

  1.   Leonardo said

    Very good, thank you