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Legends Grace Hopper

Grace Hopper

Rear Admiral Grace Hopper was a mathematician, computer scientist, social scientist, corporate politician, marketing whiz, systems designer, and programmer, and, always, a visionary.

Hopper graduated from Vassar with a degree in mathematics in 1928. She married Vincent Foster Hopper, an educator, in 1930, and began teaching mathematics at Vassar in 1931.

She resigned her Vassar post to join the Navy WAVES (Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service) in 1943. Commissioned as a lieutenant, she reported in 1944 to the Bureau of Ordnance Computation Project at Harvard University.

She worked on the Mark I electromechanical computing machine and on her first day was asked to “compute the coefficients of the arc tangent series by next Thursday." Hopper plunged in and learned what the machine could do with a clever mathematician at the helm. By the end of World War II in 1945, she was working on the Mark II. Her husband died during the war and although her marriage was dissolved at this point, and though she had no children, she did not resume her maiden name.

Hopper was appointed to the Harvard faculty as a research fellow, and in 1 949 she joined the newly formed Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation, founded by the builders of ENIAC, one of the first electronic digital computers. She went back and forth among institutions in the military, private industry, business, and academe, and in all these places she was regarded as one of the most incisive strategic "futurists" in the world of computing

Her best-known contribution to computing during this period was the invention, in 1953, of the compiler, the intermediate program that translates English language instructions into the language of the target computer.


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