Kay McNulty, the Irish ‘mother of computer programming’

While raising seven children, she continued, uncredited, to programme computers her husband developed

Pioneering computer programmer Kathleen ‘Kay’ McNulty Mauchly Antonelli

Pioneering computer programmer Kathleen ‘Kay’ McNulty Mauchly Antonelli

In 2004, the pioneering computer programmer Kathleen ‘Kay’ McNulty Mauchly Antonelli reflected on her career: “All the years I gave talks about the ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer), I always talked about it as John (Mauchly)’s story, not my story.” She was invited to give those talks as the widow of the co-inventor of the world’s first electronic general-purpose computer - not as an expert in her own right.

Kay’s passion for mathematics pre-dated her marriage to an eminent scientist in 1948, but social norms obliged her to continue her pioneering programming work unpaid, in the confines of the family home.

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