Who is Grace Hopper?
Ivy league PhD graduate. Mathematician. High ranking, decorated Naval officer. Software Developer. Computer Programmer.
Admiral Grace Murray Hopper earned all these titles and more throughout her career. Spanning over the course of 60 years, Hopper became not only a trailblazer for women in tech, but an innovator in the many fields in which she practiced.
Without Grace Hopper much of the work we do at Storagepipe wouldn’t be possible. Services like our, offsite backup and server backup, white label backup reseller program and data protection simply wouldn’t exist with the work Admiral Hopper did when she created the first compiler.
In 1943, Hopper enlisted in the U.S. Navy – a career that would earn her the titles of Commander, Captain, Commodore and Rear Admiral – Lower Half, not to mention a total of eight military awards. Hopper retired from the navy at age 60, but was called to return twice. She retired for the last time at the age of 79.
Hopper was born in New York City and earned her PhD in mathematics from Yale in 1934 at the age of 28.
In 1944, Hopper helped to build Mark I, the first computer in America. In the same year, she lead a team that would solve an equation to make the atomic bomb function in three months for the Manhattan Project.
Five years later, Hopper’s role in the development of UNIVAC I – the first commercially produced computer – would lead her to develop the first ever compiler, a computer program which transforms complex source code into binary code. In 1959, Hopper assisted in the development of COBOL, an easily understandable computer language for business computer software.
Following her final retirement from the Navy, Hopper appeared on David Letterman in 1986. She was received with a standing ovation from the audience for her famous demonstration of a nanosecond in which she asks Letterman to hold an 11.8 inch piece of cable to show the length electricity can travel in a nanosecond. Letterman referred to her as “the Queen of Software.”
Following her passing in 1992, the Grace Hopper Celebration conference was born. The annual conference is a three-day event which takes place every October. The conference celebrates women in computing and the contributions women have made to this field throughout history.
Hopper Hall, set to be completed in 2019, will be the first military academy building named after a woman. The building will be a cyber facility, in honour of Hopper’s career as a computer scientist.
It’s clear that Admiral Hopper’s role in computer science and the American military make her one of the most important historical figures of her generation and a shining example of the role women have played in history’s most important technological advancements.