<ul><li>Ada Byron Lovelace, generally regarded as the first programmer, was one of the most picturesque characters in computer history. Augusta Ada Byron was born December 10, 1815 the daughter of the illustrious poet, Lord Byron. Five weeks after Ada was born her mother asked for a separation from Lord Byron, and was awarded sole custody of Ada who she brought up to be a mathematician and scientist. Lady Byron was terrified that Ada might end up being a poet like her father. </li></ul>Ada Byron Lovelace 1815 - 1852
In 1842, Charles Babbage asked Ada to document a seminar he had given in Turin, Italy on the development of his newest proposed machine, the Analytical Engine. With the article, she appended a set of Notes. In her notes Ada describes an algorithm for the analytical engine to compute Bernoulli numbers. It was published in The Ladies Diary and the prestigious Taylor's Scientific Memoirs. This is generally considered the first algorithm ever specifically tailored for implementation on a computer, and for this reason she is considered by many to be the first computer programmer. the Analytical Engine She could possibly also be said to be the first to use the expression "Garbage In, Garbage Out". Lovelace writes: The Analytical Engine has no pretensions whatever to originate anything. It can do whatever we know how to order it to perform. It can follow analysis; but it has no power of anticipating any analytical relations or truths. " In December 10, 1980, the U.S. Defense Department approved the reference manual for their new computer programming language, called "Ada".
<ul><li>During the early 1940's, Kay McNulty, a recent math graduate from Chestnut Hill College, was employed along with about 75 other young female mathematicians as a "computer" by the University of Pennsylvania's Moore School of Engineering. These "computers" were responsible for making calculations for tables of firing and bombing trajectories, as part of the war effort. The need to perform the calculations more quickly prompted the development of the ENIAC, the world's first electronic digital computer, in 1946. </li></ul>Kay McNulty 1921 - 1985 In 1948 Kay McNulty married John Mauchly. John Mauchly and Presper Eckert went on to devise the UNIVAC, the first commercially available computer
“ We did have desk calculators at that time, mechanical and driven with electric motors, that could do simple arithmetic. You'd do a multiplication and when the answer appeared, you had to write it down to reenter it into the machine to do the next calculation. We were preparing a firing table for each gun, with maybe 1,800 simple trajectories. To hand-compute just one of these trajectories took 30 or 40 hours of sitting at a desk with paper and a calculator. As you can imagine, they were soon running out of young women to do the calculations. Actually, my title working for the ballistics project was `computer.' The idea was that I not only did arithmetic but also made the decision on what to do next. ENIAC made me, one of the first `computers,' obsolete.” In the autumn of 1945, Kay McNulty was one of six women computers chosen to program ENIAC. Initially they were not allowed into the ENIAC room because of the secrecy of the project and instead they had to program the computer from blueprints in an adjacent room.
Grace Murray Hopper 1906 - 1992 <ul><li>As a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Vassar, Grace Hopper went on to receive a M.A. and Ph.D. degree at Yale. Her return to Vassar as an assistant in mathematics progressed to an associate professorship and further studies at New York University. She brought her mathematical abilities to the nation when, in 1943, she entered the U.S. Naval Reserve commissioned as lieutenant. </li></ul>As a senior mathematician with Sperry Rand, she worked on the first commercial computer. As Director of Automatic Programming, she published the first paper on compilers in 1952. She was appointed to the Harvard faculty as a research fellow, and in 1949 she joined the newly formed Eckert-Mauchly Corporation, founded by the builders of ENIAC, one of the first electronic digital computers. Her best-known contribution to computing during this period was the invention, in 1953, of the compiler, the intermediate program that translates English language instructions into the language of the target computer. She did this, she said, because she was "lazy" and hoped that "the programmer may return to being a mathematician.” Lt. Hopper has published over fifty papers on software and on programming languages
Origin of the term “Computer Bug” Grace Hopper and associates, while working on a Mark II computer at Harvard University, discovered a moth stuck in a relay and thereby impeding operation, whereupon she remarked that they were "debugging" the system. The remains of the moth can be found in the group's log book at the Naval Surface Weapons Center.
Evelyn Boyd Granville 1924 - <ul><li>Evelyn Boyd Granville, who earned her doctorate in Mathematics in 1949 from Yale University, was one of the first African American women to earn a Ph.D. in Mathematics. During her career, she developed computer programs that were used for trajectory analysis in the Mercury Project (the first U.S. manned mission in space) and in the Apollo Project (which sent U.S. astronauts to the moon). </li></ul>With President Bush in 2001 as an honorary degree recipient at Yale University
<ul><li>Erna Schneider earned a B.A. with honors in medieval history from Wellesley College, and later a Ph.D. in the philosophy and foundations of mathematics from Yale University. In 1954, after teaching for a number of years at Swarthmore College, she began a research career at Bell Laboratories. While there, she invented a computerized switching system for telephone traffic, to replace existing hard-wired, mechanical switching equipment. For this ground-breaking achievement -- the principles of which are still used today -- she was awarded one of the first software patents ever issued. At Bell Labs, she became the first female supervisor of a technical department. </li></ul>Erna Schneider Hoover 1926 -