In celebration of ENIAC

As men went off to WWII, women began to play an integral part in programming. Here are a few programmers working diligently with the ENIAC. Courtesy of

On February 15, the global computing community celebrated the 75th anniversary of the launch of “Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer,” or ENIAC for short. The machine, unveiled here at Penn in 1946, was the world’s first all-electronic, programmable computer.

This year, computer museum Compuseum hosted a site that allowed orgs to collaborate for a week’s worth of events, including Penn Engineering’s “ENIAC Day: 75th Anniversary of ENIAC Mini-Symposium.”

CIS RCA Professor of Artificial Intelligence Emeritus Mitch Marcus fittingly opened his “History of ENIAC” webinar with a classic lecture ritual.

“I thought that, because I was a professor, I would give you guys a pop quiz,” said Prof. Marcus. “The nice thing is that it doesn’t get graded.”

“On February 15, 1946, the ENIAC was unveiled at the University of Pennsylvania. As part of that unveiling, the machine was demonstrated to those present. Watch a reenactment of that demonstration based on a press demonstration given and oral history collected by the ENIAC Programmers Project.” Courtesy of

He asked of attendees via multiple choice: 1. How long was the ENIAC, 2. What was ENIAC’s total memory, and 3. What was the first program to run on ENIAC? Prof. Marcus not only provided the audience with the answers (1. About the size of a blue whale, 2. 20, 10-bit numbers, and 3. atomic bomb simulation), but went on to give a concise background of the legendary machine, from inspiration to execution.

Several other CIS faculty presented compelling topics including ENIAC President’s Distinguished Prof. Stephanie Weirich (“Programming Language Design: From Grace Hopper to Today”), Prof. CJ Taylor (“Vision for Autonomous Vehicles”), and CIS Department Chair Prof. Zach Ives (“General Impact of ENIAC”).

For more information and to view the all the talks from the ENIAC Day: 75th Anniversary of ENIAC Mini-Symposium, click here.