[SIGCIS-Members] Talk, Santa Clara, Mon, 3/20: "The Other Women of ENIAC"

Thomas Haigh thomas.haigh at gmail.com
Sat Mar 18 13:11:19 PDT 2017



Those of you in the Bay Area might be interested in my event on Monday night, “The Other Women of ENIAC: Rethinking IT Innovation” with the history group of the local IEEE Computer Society chapter.  It’s a fun talk, and this time there’ll be a short conversation before as well as a QA afterwards.  Details below and at http://sites.ieee.org/sv-techhist/?p=621. More about the project (and previously recorded talks) at www.eniacinaction.com <http://www.eniacinaction.com> . 


Best wishes,




From: sv-history at ieee.org [mailto:sv-history at ieee.org] On Behalf Of Brian Berg
Sent: Saturday, March 18, 2017 2:13 AM
To: Silicon Valley History Listserver <sv-history at LISTSERV.IEEE.ORG>
Subject: Mon, 3/20: "The Other Women of ENIAC"


I hope to see you on Monday evening at this event.  Brian Berg



The Other Women of <http://www.siliconvalleyhistory.com>  ENIAC: Rethinking IT Innovation (Mon, March 20)
The second event was organized by Alan J. Weissberger from our committee, in the wake of a talk given by Thomas Haigh at the Computer History Museum.  We have invited the local IEEE Women in Engineering (WIE) chapter <http://sites.ieee.org/scv-wie/>  to co-sponsor this event.

What makes a computing historian tick?  What motivates their research into arcane topics and to lead a group of information technology historians (SIGCIS)?  We’ll learn that and more in an enlightening conversation with Thomas Haigh which will precede his presentation on the very popular book  <http://www.eniacinaction.com/> ENIAC in Action, published in 2016 by MIT Press.

Haigh explains that the six women now celebrated as the “first computer programmers” were actually hired as computer operators and worked hands-on with the machine around the clock. Other women, who actually built ENIAC, the first general purpose electronic computer, have been forgotten entirely. So has most of the work that made the project so successful, from procuring the right kind of wire to saving ENIAC from flood water.

Popular stories about the history of information technology have usually focused on great inventors and technical breakthroughs, from Charles Babbage and Alan Turing to Steve Jobs and the World Wide Web. Operations work and the labor of non-geniuses has been mostly written out of the history of innovation, but without it no computer would be useful. Information historian Thomas Haigh has written it back in!

The conversation will be moderated by Alan J. Weissberger, past chair and founder of the IEEE SV Tech History committee.

Thomas Haigh, PhD, is an Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Comenius Visiting Professor of the History of Computing at Siegen University. He has published on many aspects of the history of computing including the evolution of data base management systems, word processing, the software package, corporate computer departments, Internet software, computing in science fiction, the “software crisis” of the 1960s, IBM in Europe, and the Colossus code breaking machines.

​Besides being the author of ENIAC in Action (MIT, 2016) Haigh is the editor of Histories of Computing (Harvard, 2011), a collection of the work of Michael Mahoney, and the lead editor of a 2015 special issue of Information and Culture on the theme “Histories of the Internet.” From 2005 to 2015 he was chair of SIGCIS, the group for historians of information technology. Learn more at www.tomandmaria.com/tom <http://www.tomandmaria.com/tom> 

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