WoW Blog (Woman of the Week) Blog

WoW Blog (Woman of the Week)

Each week this blog will feature a prominent woman who made significant contributions to engineering or science. If you have any women you'd like us to feature please let us know and we'll do our best to include them.

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Woman of the Week - Grace Murray Hopper (December 9, 1906 – January 1, 1992)

Posted May 08, 2007 12:12 PM by t-rex

Grace Brewster Murray Hopper created the first compiler for a computer programming language and was the first woman to serve as an admiral in the U.S. Navy. She graduated from Vassar College with a B.A. in mathematics and physics in 1928, and later returned to her alma mater as a professor of mathematics. Grace Murray Hopper also studied at Yale University, earning both an M.A. and PhD in 1934. Hopper's educational accomplishments were a great feat for a woman of this era.

Military service was also one of Grace Hopper's proudest achievements. She received special permission to enlist in the Navy in 1943 and trained at the Midshipman's School for Women. She also worked with Howard Aiken, a computer pioneer, on the Mark I Calculator. After World War II, Grace Murray Hopper left active duty and continued her work on both the Mark II and III Calculators as a naval reservist. For her efforts, Hopper earned the U.S. Navy's Ordnance Development Award in 1946.

During her career, Grace Murray Hopper also worked in industry. In 1949, she took a job with the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation and joined the team that developed the UNIVAC I commercial computer. When the company was taken over by the Remington Rand Corporation, Grace Hopper developed the first computer compiler. The A-compiler translated symbolic math into machine code and provided the basis for a later commercial compiler, the FLOW-MATIC. Using her work as a foundation, members of Hopper's team began to develop the first computer programming language - COBOL.

Grace Brewster Murray Hopper was recalled to active duty in the Navy in 1966. The oldest women to return to service, she worked tirelessly to standardize the testing of computer systems and components. Hopper also developed translator programs to convert non-standard computer languages into standardized COBOL. By special Presidential appointment, Grace Murray Hopper was eventually promoted to commodore. In 1985, she became the first women to be named Rear Admiral. She retired from the Navy a year later.

Rear Admiral Hopper spent the remainder of her career as a consultant with the Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC). She often lectured about early computers, sometimes speaking 200 times a year. Hopper lectured in her full Navy dress uniform, and often received standing ovations from her audiences.

Grace Murray Hopper received numerous awards during her distinguished careers in the military, industry and academia. She was the first woman to be named a Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society, and was awarded the National Medal of Technology in 1991. In that same year, the USS Hopper was named after her. For Grace Brewster Murray Hopper, one of her most important and rewarding accomplishments was working as a teacher. Truly, she was an inspirational figure who paved the way for women in computer engineering.

Resources:

http://www.agnesscott.edu/LRIDDLE/WOMEN/hopper.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grace_Hopper

http://cs-www.cs.yale.edu/homes/tap/Files/hopper-story.html

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#1

Re: Woman of the Week - Grace Murray Hopper (December 9, 1906 – January 1, 1992)

05/08/2007 2:29 PM

Thanks for posting this, t-rex. Hopper certainly deserves a place on CR4.

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#2
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Re: Woman of the Week - Grace Murray Hopper (December 9, 1906 – January 1, 1992)

05/09/2007 8:05 AM

Great History ...

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Re: Woman of the Week - Grace Murray Hopper (December 9, 1906 – January 1, 1992)

09/20/2007 1:16 PM

your welcome kind sir

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#3

Re: Woman of the Week - Grace Murray Hopper (December 9, 1906 – January 1, 1992)

05/11/2007 3:03 PM

Very interesting and informative, particularly as I worked for Univac in the '70s.....her name was mentioned a lot in those day.....

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#4
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Re: Woman of the Week - Grace Murray Hopper (December 9, 1906 – January 1, 1992)

05/15/2007 10:06 AM

Grace Hopper was one of the commencement speakers at my graduation from Clarkson University in 1983, along with W. Edwards Deming and a few others. Although I had never heard of her at the time, she definitely made a lasting impression. Actually, she is the only speaker who I really remember at all. Deming was very dry and I really don't remember him at all, but Grace Hopper was funny, energetic and very inspiring. She was tiny in stature, but had a very large presence. I only wish that I could have heard her (and Deming as well) now that I am familiar with their work.

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#5

Re: Woman of the Week - Grace Murray Hopper (December 9, 1906 – January 1, 1992)

09/20/2007 1:14 PM

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well g2g ttyl Loves ya bey !!!!!♥♥♥

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