ENIAC Programmers: Kay McNulty, Betty Jennings, Betty Snyder, Marlyn Meltzer, Fran Bilas, and Ruth Lichterman
Kay McNulty, Betty Jennings, Betty Snyder, Marlyn Meltzer, Fran Bilas, and Ruth Lichterman were the first programmers of the ENIAC. They were not, as computer scientist and historian Kathryn Kleiman was once told, "refrigerator ladies", i.e., models posing in front of the machine for press photography. Nevertheless, some of the women did not receive recognition for their work on the ENIAC in their lifetimes [wikipedia].
About the ENIAC:
ENIAC, short for Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, was the first electronic general-purpose computer. It was originally designed to calculate artillery firing tables for U.S. Army research. Completed in 1945, it was made kown to the public in 1946.
These early programmers were drawn from a group of about two hundred women employed as computers at the Moore School of Electrical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. The job of computers was to produce the numeric result of mathematical formulas needed for a scientific study, or an engineering project. They usually did so with a mechanical calculator. This was one of the few technical job categories available to women at that time. Betty Holberton (née Snyder) continued on to help write the first generative programming system (SORT/MERGE) and help design the first commercial electronic computers, the UNIVAC and the BINAC, alongside Jean Jennings. McNulty developed the use of subroutines in order to help increase ENIAC's computational capability. Herman Goldstine selected the programmers, whom he called operators, from the computers who had been calculating ballistics tables with mechanical desk calculators, and a differential analyzer prior to and during the development of ENIAC. The "programmer" and "operator" job titles were not originally considered professions suitable for women. The labor shortage created by World War II helped enable the entry of women into the field. However, the field was not viewed as prestigious, and bringing in women was viewed as a way to free men up for more skilled labor [wikipedia].
Carol Shaw (born 1955) is a former video game designer, notable for being one of the first female designers in the video game industry. While working at Atari, Inc. in 1978, Shaw designed the unreleased Polo game and designed 3-D Tic-Tac-Toe the same year, both for the Atari 2600.
Her father was a mechanical engineer and worked at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. She did not enjoy the stereotypical girl activities as a child like playing with dolls. Instead, she would mess with her brother's model railroad set. Shaw first became interested in computers in high school when she used a computer for the first time and discovered she could play text-based games on the system. Shaw attended the University of California, Berkeley and graduated with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 1977. She went on to complete a master's degree in Computer Science at Berkeley.
While working at Atari, Inc. in 1978, Shaw designed the unreleased Polo game and designed 3-D Tic-Tac-Toe the same year, both for the Atari 2600. She left Atari in 1980 to work for Tandem Computers. Shaw joined Activision in 1982. Her first game was River Raid (1982) for the Atari 2600, which was inspired by the 1981 arcade game Scramble. She took early retirement in 1990 and subsequently did some voluntary work including a position at the Foresight Institute. She has credited the success of River Rai as being a significant factor in enabling her to retire early. In 2017, Shaw won the Industry Icon Award at The Game Awards.