Grace Hopper was a teacher, mathematician, computer scientist, inventor, systems designer, software programmer, marketing whiz, and a military leader. She was a pioneer in computer programming. She had a hard work ethic, and a great sense of humor. She has been called the Grand Lady of Software, Amazing Grace and Grandma Cobol.
Grace Hopper was born Grace Brewster Murray on December 9, 1906 in New York City. She died January 1, 1992 in Arlington, Virginia. She married educator, Vincent Foster Hopper in 1930. He died in 1945 during World War II.
She graduated in 1928 from Vassar College with a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics. She immediately went to work at Vassar College as an associate professor teaching mathematics. She continued with her studies and received a Master’s in mathematics and physics in 1930. In 1934, she received her PhD in mathematics from Yale University. Grace receiving a doctorate in mathematics was a unique achievement in this time era.
Two years before her husband’s death, Grace took a leave of absence from Vassar College, and joined The United States Naval Reserve at the age of 37. She was assigned to the Bureau of Ordnance Computation Project at Harvard University. She began her work at Harvard's Cruft Laboratories on the Mark series of computers. (the first large scale digital computer) The Mark I was 51 feet long, eight feet high, and eight feet wide. In 1946, she resigned from her leave of absence from Vassar to become a research fellow in engineering and applied physics at Harvard's Computation Laboratory. In 1949, she joined the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation as a Senior Mathematician. EMCC was purchased by Remington Rand in 1950, and later merged into the Sperry Corporation in 1955. In 1967, she became leader in the Naval Data Automation Command. In 1986, she involuntarily retired from the Navy, and was appointed the rank Rear Admiral by President Ronald Reagan. She immediately became a senior consultant to Digital Equipment Corporation, and continued working until she died in her sleep in 1992.
Grace’s biggest contribution to computing was the invention of the compiler. A compiler is a program that translates another program written in a high-level language into machine language so that it can be executed. In 1952 the A-0 Compiler was completed.
In 1951, Grace discovered the first computer "bug.“ It was a real moth found inside the computer. She removed the bug, and taped it into the UNIVAC I logbook. This is where the term “bug” came from.
Admiral Hopper received many significant honors and awards throughout her lifetime. Military Medals in which she received are the Distinguished Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal, and the Naval Reserve Medal. The Defense Distinguished Service Medal is the highest award given by the Department of Defense.
Quote from Rear Admiral Retirement Speech: "Our young people are the future. We must provide for them. We must give them the positive leadership they're looking for...You manage things; you lead people."
Rear Admiral Grace Hopper and David Letterman (interview in 1986) The interview is 10 minutes long, but very informative. It shows her personality.
Five years after her death, the USS Hopper was built in honor of Admiral Grace Hopper. It is the 20th Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer.
The Grace Hopper Conference was founded in 1994 by Dr. Anita Borg and Dr. Telle Whitney. The Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) Of Women In Computing Conference is designed to bring attention to the research and career interests of women in computing. It is the largest its kind, and it is held every year. Top researchers are able to present their work at the conference.
By: Joyce Blasingame
Grace Hopper Teacher Mathematician Computer Scientist Inventor Systems Designer Software Programmer Marketing Whiz Military Leader
Grace Brewster MurrayHopper December 9, 1906 – January 1, 1992 Married in 1930 Husband died in 1945
Education • 1928 BA from Vassar College • 1930 MA from Yale University • 1934 PhD from Yale University
Admiral Hopper 1943 United States Naval Reserve 1946 Harvard’s Computation Laboratory 1949 Senior Mathematician at Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation 1955 Sperry Corporation 1967 Leader in the NDAC 1986 Retired from Navy with rank Rear Admiral, Senior Consultant to DEC
Military Medals Defense Distinguished Service Medal Meritorious Service Medal American Campaign Medal World War II Victory Medal National Defense Service Medal Armed Forces Reserve Medal with two Hourglass Devices Naval Reserve Medal
Quote from Retirement Speech "Our young people are the future. We must provide for them. We must give them thepositive leadership theyre looking for...You manage things; you lead people."