Today marks the 107th Birthday of Grace Hopper, a pioneer of computer programming.
A Bit of History:
Grace Hopper worked on a device called the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator, which worked out flight trajectories for rockets and was later used by the Manhattan Project scientists to build the atomic bomb.
in the 50s, Hopper was able to convince government agencies to agree that programs should be written close to the English language (instead of machine codes – the 0’s and 1’s) thus Common Business Programming Language or COBOL was born. this later paved way for modern day computer languages. she was also the one who coined “debugging” for they found a moth in a relay which affected their operation (this can be found in the Smithsonian Museum).
known also as “Amazing Grace,” Hopper served as director of the US Navy Programming Languages Group in the Navy’s Office of Information Systems Planning and ultimately rose to the rank of rear admiral.
“The most important thing I’ve accomplished, other than building the compiler, is training young people. They come to me, you know, and say, ‘Do you think we can do this?’ I say, ‘Try it.’ And I back ’em up. They need that. I keep track of them as they get older and I stir ’em up at intervals so they don’t forget to take chances.”
she died in January 1992 and was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery. her work however lives up to today.. every time you withdraw cash from an ATM, it’s her COBOL program you’re using.
Google today recognizes Grace Hopper via one of their famous google-doodles.