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March 29, 2011, Volume 57, No. 27

Ms. Bartik, ENIAC Programmer

Jean Bartik

Jean Jennings Bartik, the last of the six original women who programmed ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer), passed away March 23 at age 86.

Born and raised in Missouri, Ms. Bartik was the only female math major at Northwest Missouri State Teacher’s College (now Northwest Missouri State University). After graduating in 1945, she worked for the US Army as a human “computer,” where she calculated ballistic trajectories by hand. She was then hired to program ENIAC, the first general-purpose electronic computer at Penn’s Moore School of Electrical Engineering (now part of the School of Engineering and Applied Science). She did so without a manual or any programming classes.

According to the website of the ENIAC Programmer’s Project, Ms. Bartik “then led the team that converted ENIAC into a stored-program machine, and went on to be part of the early team at Eckert Mauchly Computer Corporation. There she helped created UNIVAC, the world’s first commercial computer.”

For her pioneering work, Ms. Bartik and her fellow ENIAC programmers were inducted into the Women in Technology Hall of Fame in 1997. She was also the recipient of the IEEE Computer Society Computer Pioneer Award and was named a fellow to the Computer History Museum in 2008. Northwest Missouri State University named the Jean Jennings Bartik Computing Museum in her honor and gave her an honorary doctorate in 2002. In 1986, she was one of 30 computer pioneers awarded a medal by Penn for their work on ENIAC (Almanac October 14, 1986).

Ms. Bartik was recently featured in the 2010 documentary Top Secret Rosies: The Female Computers of World War II, which was profiled by CNN last month. Another documentary, Refrigerator Ladies: The Untold Story of the ENIAC Programmers is in progress. Ms. Bartik wrote an autobiography that is expected to be published this year.

Ms. Bartik is survived by her son, Tim Bartik; daughters, Jane Bartik and Mary Williams; a granddaughter; and a great grandson.

Two women operating the ENIAC's main control panel while the machine was still located at the Moore School. Left: Betty Jennings (Mrs. Bartik) Right: Frances Bilas (Mrs. Spence).

Ms. Bentaouit, GSE

Zohra Bentaouit, a retired staff member in the Graduate School of Education, passed away March 9; she was 73.

Ms. Bentaouit began working at GSE in 1986 as a secretary and then worked as a record’s assistant. She had also worked as an annotator for the Arabic Treebank project in the linguistics department before retiring in 2008.

Born in Morocco, Ms. Bentaouit previously held positions at the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the American Language Center and the US Embassy in Morocco.

She earned her master’s degree from GSE in 1994.

Ms. Bentaouit is survived by her husband, Ali Subhan; children, Mariam and Taib; grandchildren, El Hadi, Ikram, El Bachir, Nadir and Kenza; and siblings, Inass and Abdelwahid.


To Report A Death

Almanac appreciates being informed of the deaths of current and former faculty and staff members, students, and other members of the University community.

However, notices of alumni deaths should be directed to the Alumni Records Office at Room 545, Franklin Building, (215) 898-8136 or e-mail record@ben.dev.upenn.edu.

Almanac - March 29, 2011, Volume 57, No. 27