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Faces of HPC: Kathleen Booth

Kathleen Booth was one of the first computer programmers to develop an assembly language, helping computer programming move from inputting 0s and 1s for the machine to interpret. Booth helped design and was the principle programmer on three early computers: ARC, SEC and APE(X)C, which were constructed by Andrew Booth at Birkbeck College.


Kathleen Booth designed three different machines, ARC, SEC and APE(X)C. In collaboration with her husband, Andrew Booth, Kathleen became an essential member of one of the most successful British computer teams in Britain while they were working at Birkbeck College. 


Kathleen Booth, born in Stourbridge, Worcestershire, England, worked at Birkbeck College from 1946 to 1962, as part of the team that developed the first assembly language. 

Kathleen as part of the Andrew Booth research group travelled to Princeton, USA, to collaborate with John Von Neumann in 1947. Kathleen co-authored the book  "General Considerations in the Design of an All Purpose Electronic Digital Computer" describing the changes from ARC machines to ARC2 , using von Neumann architecture and was sole author on a book on programming APEC machines.

Kathleen and Andrew Booth returned to Birkbeck College where they successfully constructed three machines, ARC, SEC and APE(X)C; with Kathleen providing all the programming expertise. The first computers were programmed by writing a series of 0s and 1s that computers would interpret and act upon. Booth was one of the first authors of an assembly language which provided simpler and more reliable programming. 

Kathleen Booth later work included developing a program to simulate a neural networks to
investigate animal behaviour. During her career Booth published many papers on programming techniques, languages and contributed to the design and programming used in todays modern computers.



Last updated: 07 Oct 2016 at 13:41