Grace Hopper

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Grace Murray Hopper (December 9 1906January 1 1992) was an American computer scientist and United States Navy officer.

Commodore Grace M. Hopper

Early Life[change | change source]

Hopper was born in New York, USA. Hopper graduated from Vassar College in 1928 and Yale University in 1934 with a Ph.D degree in mathematics. She joined the US Navy during World War II in 1943. She worked on computers in the Navy for 43 years. She then worked in other private industry companies after 1949. She retired from the Navy in 1986 and died on January 1, 1992.[1]

She was one of the first people to work with modern digital computers and the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I calculator. She developed the first compiler for a computer programming language.

She had the idea that programs could be written in a language that was close to English rather than in machine code or languages (such as assembly language) close to machine code, which is how it was normally done at that time. She led the work of COBOL language, which was based very much on her philosophy. It was successful since it was not copyrighted, so many programmers could use it. The spread of COBOL led to it becoming the universal language for business coding. It became used in government, industry, and commerce.

Hopper, a mathematician, was on the faculty at Vassar College when World War II began. She joined the Navy.  Hopper was assigned to the Bureau of Ordnance Computation Project to work on missile problems in 1943. The Navy began using one of the first electronic computers in 1944.

After the War[change | change source]

Hopper retired from the Navy in 1986. After the war, she was still interested in computers. Hopper worked at Remington Rand. She worked at Sperry Corporation later. She did not return to her teaching career after the war. She continued working on software for the other computers. She also served as an officer in the Naval Reserve. She worked on the UNIVAC, the first large-scale commercial computer. Hopper's work led to the development of the FLOW-MATIC. The  FLOW-MATIC was the first English-language data compiler. Hopper's work on FLOW-MATIC helped her later work with Common Business Oriented Language (COBOL). Hopper’s work translated the computer language into words we use that the computer will also understand.[2]

Grace Murray Hopper died on January 1, 1992. She had retired from the navy six years before.

A park in Arlington, Virginia is named in her honor.[3] The U.S. Navy destroyer USS Hopper (DDG-70) was named for her.

On December 9, 2013, Google had an animation of Hopper for their Google Doodle.[4]

References[change | change source]

  1. Spicer, Dag. "Hopper, Grace Murray." World Book Student, World Book, 2017, Accessed 29 Mar. 2017.
  2. "Hopper Invents COBOL Computer Language, 1959." DISCovering U.S. History, Gale, 1997. Student Resources in Context, Accessed 29 Mar. 2017.
  3. "ARLINGTON COUNTY NAMES NEW PARK FOR NAVY ADMIRAL". Arlington County. Retrieved 2011-12-08.
  4. Wynick, Alex (9 December 2013). "Grace Hopper: Top 10 facts about computer scientist honoured by Google Doodle". mirror.