"Look like a girl, act like a lady, think like a man, work like a dog !"
Betty Snyder Holberton, ENIAC programmer 1945
Seventy years ago, computers were as big as swimming pools and were programmed
by country girls. ENIAC, the world’s first fully electronic, vacuum-tube-based
universal computing machine, sported a weight of 27 tonnes and used 18,000
vacuum tubes for calculating. And, each day, at least two of those vacuum
tubes gave out. When this machine was presented to the world public in 1946,
six young women, most of them maths students from the rural Midwest of the USA,
had spent three years inventing a method of programming computers. At that
point, the women programmers were never introduced; they remained invisible.
After 1948, their pioneering work was forgotten for decades.
The composer Udo Moll was accompanied by the story of the ENIAC girls more or
less constantly since 2015: different versions of this piece emerged, ranging
from solo electronica to ensemble and even a radiophonic soundart version.
This cycle of compositions gets finalized with the release of the double CD
"ENIAC girls". Contained are the ensemble version from 2017 und the
radiophonic piece from 2018. The Radio Version (produced by Deutschlandfunk
Kultur) won the special achievement award of the jury at the Prix Marulic -
International Radio Festival run by Croatian Radiotelevision HRT. Field
recordings of historic computers, oral-history interviews, experimental voice
techniques, percussion, modular synthesizers, Hammond organ - Udo Molls
remarkable work amalgamates all that into an electro-acoustic oratorio about
the dawn of the thinking machines.