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Women in Technology: "Betty" Snyder Holberton

By lvogel in Technology
Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 03:03:32 AM EST
Tags: Technology (all tags)

One of the original ENIAC programmers, founders of COBOL and FORTRAN, and contributor of the beige color and numeric keypad on today's computers, Betty Snyder Holberton passed away on December 8. This article takes a look at some of her accomplishments and contributions to today's computing environment.

Mrs. Holberton was born in Philadelphia,the daughter and granddaughter of astronomers, who encouraged her ability in mathematics. During WWII Holberton was recruited with 80 other female mathemeticians by the Army to compute ballistic trajectories by hand, work which could take up to 30 hours to solve. In 1937 Holberton was recruited with 6 other women to program the top-secret ENIAC project, where she took responsibility in he central unit that directed program sequences.

After the war, when women were going back home to start families, Mrs. Holberton stayed to program the ENIAC for the company that eventually became Unisys, writing payroll, inventory and other business applications. She developed the first sorting route and wrote a sort-generator application that allowed for customized programs.

While working at David Taylor and the National Bureau of Standards, she served with committees that created COBOL (Common Business Oriented Language), wrote standards for FORTRAN (Formula Translation) and set other national and international computer standards. She retired from the bureau, now the National Institute of Standards and Technology, in the 1983.


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Related Links
o Washington Post
o Betty Holberton: Woman of ENIAC
o AWC Lovelace Award
o Also by lvogel

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Women in Technology: "Betty" Snyder Holberton | 10 comments (1 topical, 9 editorial, 0 hidden)
beige? (3.00 / 1) (#6)
by delmoi on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 10:38:17 PM EST

IIRC, IBM did a sciantific study to see what color contributed the most to a productive workplace. Did ms Snyder contribute to that?
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
Women in Technology: "Betty" Snyder Holberton | 10 comments (1 topical, 9 editorial, 0 hidden)
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