Happy Birthday Grace Hopper!

By James S. Davis [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By James S. Davis [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Today (December 9th) is Grace Hopper’s birthday. You may be wondering who the heck Grace Hopper is. Well, she was a trailblazer in the arena of computer science. And I don’t just mean a trailblazer for women but for the whole field!

She held degrees in mathematics and physics along with a PhD in Mathematics. She took a leave of absence in WWII in order to sign up with the Navy and served on the Mark I computer staff, and that was an arithmetical computer. She went on to help develop the operational compiler on the UNIVAC which showed that computers could do more than just arithmetic analysis.

Grace Hopper believed that programming should look more like English and helped pave the way for Fortran and COBOL. Hopper helped advise the development of COBOL, which I heard referred to as the language of money businesses when I was in college. She also helped develop testing standards and may have originated the term “bug”.

Grace Hopper rose to the rank of Rear Admiral. She also has a destroyer named after her (USS Hopper) and the Cray XE6!! She also was a goodwill ambassador who gave lectures on computer science and she always wore a full dress uniform even though she was retired.

Happy Birthday to an inspiration and a great mind. Grace Hopper has left an indelible mark on the world, computers and education!!!

Where I first saw her on the David Letterman show.

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