Gloria Gordon Bolotsky, 87, a programmer in the 1940s for the first general-purpose electronic computer, the ENIAC, died June 30 of cancer at her daughter's home in Gaithersburg. She was a Rockville resident.
Mrs. Bolotsky, then known as Gloria Ruth Gordon, was one of the 100 or so programmers who joined the project after six women did the original programming. The work required stamina, creativity and patience: The ENIAC, or Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, was 150 feet wide, filling a 30-by-50-foot room, with about 18,000 vacuum tubes, 3,000 switches and 20 banks of flashing lights.
The ENIAC was designed to calculate artillery firing tables for the U.S. Army's Ballistic Research Laboratory, but its first actual use was to make calculations for the hydrogen bomb.
She was a gifted mathematician who, after working for the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York, moved to the University of Pennsylvania for a position at its engineering school. She was chosen for a secret project that would use her skills and moved with the group in 1947 to the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland.