Using well established mathematical rules of music composition, they developed an automated music composition program for the Datatron. Burroughs took one of the resulting compositions, hired popular composer Jack Owens to write lyrics for it and created Push Button Bertha.
(Click to enlarge)The result was a program and song cited to this day in PhD dissertations, foot-noted in books on electronic music and preserved for posterity.
I realized the significance of this composition when I was contacted in January by Dr. Lutz Neitzert who was preparing a short radio broadcast incorporating the history of "Push Button Bertha."
And did I say "preserved for posterity?" Well, yes!. The Charles Babbage Institute at the University of Minnesota contains a copy of the Datatron program that was written by Bolitho and Klein. I am currently building a Datatron emulator in Java. (I've had a previously completed version of the emulator running in Visual Basic but want to make it easier to distribute.) I had thought that the ultimate proof of emulation was to run the Algol 58 compiler. I now realize that I will have to add the music composition program to my test bed.
For readers with sharp eyes and a good imagination, there is a barely visible copy of the Push Button Bertha score at this site.