March 2023 - Women in tech - Grace Hopper

From War To Innovation  :

The history of Women in tech


Affectionately known as the “Grandmother of COBOL,” Grace Hopper is an iconic figure in the history of computer science.

This mathematician and U.S. Navy Vice Admiral played a crucial role in the development of modern computer programming.

With her groundbreaking work and commitment to diversity and inclusion, she has become a remarkable figure in the tech world, paving the way for numerous pioneers and innovators in this constantly evolving field.


Early Life
& Education

Grace Hopper was born on December 9, 1906, in New York.

She earned her bachelor’s degree from Vassar College in 1928, then attended Yale University, where she obtained her master’s degree in 1930 and a Ph.D. in 1934.

Hopper then taught mathematics before joining the U.S. Navy in 1943.

As a Lieutenant, she was quickly assigned to the “computation” project of the Bureau of Ordnance Computation Project at Harvard.

Harvard Mark I

Grace Hopper was part of the team that developed the Harvard Mark I, the first large-scale, fully automatic digital computer.

This machine was designed to assist with complex calculations during World War II, and Hopper began working on its development in 1943. In 1949, Grace Hopper joined the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation to work on the UNIVAC I, the first large-scale commercial computer. In 1950, the company was acquired by Remington Rand.

The development of the Harvard Mark I and the UNIVAC I paved the way for incredible technological advancements in the years to come.


& Compilers

Grace Hopper’s most significant contribution to technology was her work on compilers.

These programs revolutionized the way programmers write software. Hopper worked on the development of the first high-level language compiler for the UNIVAC, called A-0, followed by the B-0 compiler, which was the first data processing language.

In 1957, Grace Hopper began working for IBM, and in 1959, she gave birth to COBOL, a programming language designed for commercial applications.

COBOL was widely used in the 1960s and 1970s and is still used in some computer systems today.

Hopper retired in 1986 with the rank of Rear Admiral.

An Inspiring

As a committed feminist who knew that women had the same capabilities as men, Grace Hopper established herself in the male-dominated world of technology “with sarcasm, humor, and charm,” in her own words.

In 1969, she received the Computer Sciences Man of the Year award. In 1971, the ACM established the Grace Murray Hopper Award, which recognizes young computer scientists.

In 1973, she became the first American and first woman in the world to receive the distinction of Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society.

In 1983, she was awarded the Ada Lovelace Prize, and in 1986, she was decorated with the Defense Distinguished Service Medal.

In 1991, she received the National Medal of Technology.

In November 2016, Barack Obama posthumously awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Her legacy continues to inspire current and future generations of programmers, and her unparalleled contribution to the history of computing continues to influence the way we use technology today.

March 2023 - Women in tech - Grace Hopper

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