Grace Hopper

HOPPER, Grace Brewster, née Murray, American mathematician and US naval officer, 1906-1992. A computer programming pioneer. While at Vassar she joined the WAVES as a lieutenant. Grace was assigned to develop operating programmes for the MARK 1 Computer, a large-scale digital machine designed to aid ordnance calculations. Later she worked in the UNIVAC division of Sperry Rand, on the first computer there. She developed the concept of auto-programming from which the language COBOL finally evolved. Tried to retire in 1966 but was recalled for Navy technology training duties. A Captain in the Naval Reserve List (which was unprecedented at the time). At one time Grace was one of only two women in the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and the only woman with fellowship status. One of the first 5 women in the National Academy of Engineers. In 1994 she was elected into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, USA. Also she was the first computer programmer to isolate a bug or virus and then to successfully debug the computer. On her final retirement Grace was made a Rear Admiral in the US Navy.  The second woman elected to membership of the US National Academy of Engineering (1973).

Computer Programming Pioneer

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